The game was played on a cold, windy day at Auckland Grammar School. The pitch was in reasonable condition but the strong cross-wind made it difficult for both teams to control the ball. Within minutes, it became clear that our defence would have trouble against Grammar’s fast-paced attack. While we repelled several early attacking forays, on the 7 minute mark their well-struck long goal kick drifted in the wind over our last defenders and allowed them to score. 1-0.
Over the next 7 minutes our defence was kept very busy; tackling, jockeying and tracking their impressive attackers. Then in the 14th minute they managed to cross the ball deep into our area and we could only clear it out sideways to our left corner. Seconds later it was returned to our six-yard line where their #14 had taken up his position. He turned it in easily as we didn’t mark him tight enough. 2-0.
We managed to hold them out until the 32nd minute, after good scrambling defence and two excellent saves by Mitchell Verry. They earned a couple of corners in a row and we allowed a free header at the back post from which they scored. 3-0. To add insult to injury they scored a 4th goal in a carbon copy of their first one before the half-time whistle blew.
We started the second half with a determined attitude. We even formed a couple of promising looking attacks. However, it wasn’t long before their speedy #16 had cut through our defence and was brought down by a desperate tackle from Andy Bao, right in the middle of our penalty area. In a portent of what was to come, Mitchell Verry got a hand to the penalty shot but couldn’t keep it out and it was 5-0.
Despite desperate defence by King’s, they scored 2 more goals by the 24th minute and were awarded another penalty kick in the 28th minute. Mitchell Verry guessed right, got both hands to it and parried it away, eliciting a rare cheer from the King’s supporters. Over the next ten minutes he saved several more shots and was awarded a yellow card for a very committed challenge on their #14 striker. He was on fire and easily confirmed as our Man of the Match. King’s kept the Grammar supporters quiet for the last 20 minutes of the game and so it ended, 7-0.