East Coast Bays Summer Sevens
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The Premiers and Development team have finished their season.
A seriously under strength East Coast Bays side concluded their season with a 2-1 loss to Onehunga Sports after being forced by Glynn Taylor of NZ Football to play their final catch up game less than 24 hours after having five players away at the Under 23 training camp in Taupo. Three of these players were unable to participate having picked up injuries during their week in Taupo.
With Joe Bresnahan and Dillon Barnett also unavailable, some of the younger players were blooded with Emmanuel Darkwa making his first start and Zane Olla coming off the bench.
Two previous attempts to play at Waikaraka Park had been foiled by the state of the pitch but now at season’s end it was in good condition.
Onehunga Sports were first to test with an attack in the fifth minute that saw a cross pass right across the front of the goal with no one able to take advantage. Bays were quick to respond with Jeff Campbell smacking a drive just over the crossbar and Chris Trent hitting straight at the keeper after being put through.
Play was back and forth with both sides creating but not threatening until the 32nd minute when Onehunga Sports took the lead. Aidan Gwilt pulled off a great save in blocking a drive, on another day the rebound would have bounced over the bar or been cleared, instead it fell to the foot of Ross Haviland who made no mistake from close range.
Both side continued to press to the half time whistle.
A goal down and with no recognized striker in the side, it was difficult for Bays to respond. A Campbell free kick was headed over the bar but then a Sports attack yielded a corner. Prince Quansah took the kick, sending it to the far post where Scott Foster was not picked up and headed in from an acute angle.
Jack Beguely, who with Ryan Zoghby had anchored the middle of the back for was pushed up front as Rod Grove made changes. His pace was troubling the Onehunga defence and in the 76th minute a long ball from Campbell found Beguely and he nodded past an onrushing keeper in Mark Fulcher to bring Bays back into the game.
Getting past Fulcher was the problem as he twice denied Campbell, first his drive and then a header as Bays went in search of an equalizer. Chances came but the lack of a striker showed as many of these were wasted.
The season ended with a loss and fourth place to Bays. Fine games from Campbell, Forrest, Zoghby and Beguely with special mention to Darkwa, making his first start. He drew New Zealand rep, Sean Lovemore to mark and after being skinned the first time, never gave him a look in for the rest of the game. Moved from left back to centre half he then had to deal with Scott Foster and was so effective the Onehunga were reduced to trying to kick him off the park.
Team: Gwilt, Forrest, Beguely, Zoghby, Darkwa, McKeown, Sheehan (Olla 67), Campbell, Kenyon, Pilkington, Trent (Halkyard 61).
Scorer: Beguely 76