East Coast Bays Summer Sevens
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The Premiers and Development team have finished their season.
Had they taken even a few of the chances they created, East Coast Bays would be awaiting the announcement of the open draw for the last 16 on Tuesday. But they didn’t put away their chances and so exited the competition after just one game.
Credit to Onehunga Sports. They battled hard, got players behind the ball and took the game to Bays, who although almost back to full strength, had many players short of match practice.
Bays fired the opening shot when Dan Peat received a great cross from Ryan Zoghby but the final effort was wide. A minute later Aidan Gwilt was in acton, pushing away a Tim Hayhow drive.
Dillon Barnett had a drive tipped wide by Onehunga keeper Mark Fulcher and Gwilt had to be on his toes to tip a Prince Quansah free kick over the bar.
The remainder of the half settled down into a classic battle of attack and counter and it wasn’t until the last minutes of the half that a breakthrough occurred when Joe Bresnahan got his head to a Lance Eeson cross and steered the ball past Fulcher to give Bays the lead.
Quansah was replaced by Haider Jabir at the start of the second half and this change was going to have consequences for Bays later in the game.
Bresnahan was quickly in the action after the break with a diving header that just missed and Jason McKeown’s drive lacked enough power to trouble the Onehunga defence.
Jabir was starting to trouble the Bays defence with his dribbling skills and in the 57th minute his pass to Reece Day, slit the defence allowing Day to take the ball past Gwilt and slot in an angled equaliser.
A miskick by Peat from a Morgan cross just on the hour was followed by Alec Solomons putting his shot wide and Dillon Barnett being blocked on the line as Bays strove for the winner, while at the other end, Scott Foster missed a good chance.
With normal time running out, a Barnett drive after Fulcher dropped the ball, cannoned off the crossbar and bounced to safety, Fulcher then saved a Peat drive and a Jeff Campbell free kick went wide.
The 90 minutes were up and so it was to extra time.
Another attacking move and pass by Jabir forced Gwilt into a save at the feet of Iwa Shaker, Cody Ralph was blocked by Glen Forrest and Solomons blocked Jabir in a frenetic first spell of extra time.
The second spell saw the game open up as players became tired. Bresnahan’s header was tipped over the bar for a corner which was cleared. Onehunga mounted an attack, the ball was blocked, spun clear and fell to Jabir, unmarked by the far post and he turned the ball into the net to give Onehunga the lead with four minutes remaining.
Desperate to send the game to a penalty shootout, Bays bombarded the Onehunga goal in the last minutes. Barnett made a great run down the left flank, his shot beat the keeper but sailed agonizingly wide of the upright. Fulcher saved from Leigh Kenyon and the ball was cleared off the line twice before the final whistle sounded.
A word of praise to Australian referee Chris Young. He controlled the game well and was unobtrusive on the field.
Team: Gwirl, Forrest, Beguely, Zoghby (Campbell 79), Solomons, Kenyon, Bresnahan, McKeown, Peat (Young 115), Barnett, Eeson (Morgan 55)
Scorer: Bresnahan 42