Champions ! ECB 3 Waitakere City 1 played 21/08/2010 at Bays City Park

East Coast Bays clinched the Northern Regional Football League Championship with three games left to play by downing second placed Waitakere City 3-1 at Bays City Park. Other results went their way with Melville losing at home to Central so no other team can equal the number of points that Bays currently have.
As usual Bays were quickly on attack applying the pressure to Waitakere and it took just seven minutes to get on the scoreboard. Jason McKeown, making his first start after shoulder surgery and also celebrating his 21st birthday, broke down the left flank and smashed the ball across the face of the Waitakere goal where the shot was too hard for keeper Sam Hanna to hold, deflecting off him into the net.
Four minutes later, Bays were two goals up when Cory Hitchen hit a drive from 22 metres into the top of the net giving Hanna no chance.
Hanna then pulled off a smart save to deny Dan Morgan-Howell and McKeown put a Morgan-Howell cross over the bar.
At the other end of the field, Martin Bullock was just wide after ghosting in from midfield.
Joe Bresnahan saw his shot cleared off the line and his follow up put wide just after the half hour.
The remainder of the half saw Waitakere under the hammer with Jack Beguely, Dan Peat, Leigh Kenyon (twice), Avi Estrin and McKeown (twice) all having chances either put wide or blocked by the Waitakere defence. In this respect Neil Emblem showed his experience in denying many of Bays opportunities.
Facing a 2-0 deficit at the start of the second half, Waitakere upped the tempo. Ryan Zoghby stopped a break, Damian Fonoti was just wide from a free kick and Zane Sole also came close.
At the Waitakere end, McKeown and Morgan-Howell had chances.
A 58th minute free kick to Waitakere found an unmarked Emblem on the far post and he nodded home to put Waitakere back in the game.
The next ten minutes were back and forth then  Kenyon made a break. He got into the Waitakere penalty area where he was tackled. In attempting to regain his feet he was pulled back by Ashton Pett, this was seen by the referee and a penalty was awarded which Peat despatched into the corner of the net to give Bays a two goal lead.
Ash Solly had words to the referee about the penalty earning himself a needless yellow card and when five minutes later he brought down a bays player with a clumsy challenge, he got a second one and was off.
A player down, this snuffed out Waitakere’s chances of a fight back although they continued  to play football and prevent Bays from adding to the score.
The final whistle saw Bays take another step closer to claiming the championship and they were later confirmed as champions when the results came through from other games.
Team: Fletcher, Beguely, Zoghby, Suri, Estrin, Kenyon, Bresnahan, Hitchin (Hyde 69), Peat, McKeown (Wasi 72), Morgan-Howell (Bola 84)
Scorers: McKeown 7, Hitchin 11, Peat pen 68


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