The match was played on a nice surface; green and flat. The weather had settled down leaving us a cool overcast day with a light cross-breeze. Within two minutes King’s had earned a corner through good attacking play by Andrew Fontein. The Otumoetai keeper did well to punch it clear of the jumping crowds’ heads, but only as far as Mitchell Nash who stood lurking at the edge of the box. He headed back towards goal, where Felix Komolong jumped again and tried to nudge it on into the net; to no avail as the keeper had recovered his bearings and claimed it comfortably.
King’s began to dominate the game and Otumoetai struggled to get out of their half and retain possession. In the ninth minute Felix lifted the ball delicately over the last line of defence for Kaisei Woodhams to run onto. He then faced the out-coming keeper with the ball still bouncing as he tried to gather it. He tried to lift over the keeper but it struck him square in the head! In the fifteenth minute King’s created another good chance from a corner kick earned by Jack Auton’s terrific run down the left flank. Kaisei headed it back to Mitchell Nash who volleyed it strongly at goal. Unfortunately it flew straight at the Otumoetai keeper.
King’s were playing good football, passing and moving well off the ball, spreading it around the park trying to find weaknesses in the Otumoetai defensive line. Despite dominating they couldn’t create any clear chances for the remaining time in the first half, which ended 0 0. Into the seventh minute of the second half Felix Komolong took the ball 30 metres out from goal slightly left of field, and struck an arcing shot. By the look of the trajectory everyone watching held their breath; sure enough it settled into the right side-netting of their goal! 1–0 advantage King’s.
We continued to hold and move the ball extremely well, frustrating the Otumoetai team who were now really struggling to keep their defensive shape intact. In the seventeenth minute Jack Rathbone was sent through on goal from a nice through ball by Todd Broadhurst. 1 v 1 he struck the ball but it rebounded off the out-coming keeper to the right edge of the box. Kaisei Woodhams ran to meet it first. He struck it beautifully and like an exocet missile it flew straight into the left top corner! Totally unstoppable! 2–0 to King’s.
In the 27th minute Otumoetai came close to scoring in a rare foray into our half. Great keeping by Mitchell Verry denied them as he came off his line quickly and blocked the shot at close range. Three minutes later we’d almost made it 3–0 when Jack Rathbone pulled the trigger with his left foot from distance.
With two minutes to play Jack Rathbone was set free down the right flank by another nice ball from Todd Broadhurst. He rounded his trailing defender and crossed it low and hard towards the far post. Jack Auton (up from left back!) had made a great run to meet it and threw himself at it, sliding into the goal with the ball! 3–0 to King’s and that was it, tournament over, we’d finished in style to secure 11th place out of the 24 teams assembled at McClennan Park in Papakura. Congratulations to Captain Mitchell Nash as this was his 100th match for the team; a very rare achievement indeed. The opposition management selected Kai Woodhams for player of the match.
- Daniel Simunic