BACK ON TOP
victory at a windswept Murrays Bay saw Mount Albert Grammar
School return to the top of the Auckland Secondary Schools
The goal came courtesy of striker Mark Withers in the 66th minute. He received a throw in inside the penalty area from left back Skye Parmenter and spun off the Rangitoto defender's shoulder and beat goalkeeper Andrew Van Stipriaan from the narrowest of angles.
The solitary goal was enough to win the game in conditions that at times could only be described as testing. It puts MAGS two points ahead of their nearest rival Auckland Grammar School, half way through the competition.
The torrid conditions did not help either the football or the job of referee Mr Peter Stacey, who, under the circumstances did an extremely good job.
In the first half MAGS dominated territory and also ball possession. They also had their chances to go ahead. In the 33rd minute Andrew Milne cut in from the right flank, but his shot went wide from eight yards out. Three minutes later captain Jonathan Raj had a good opportunity from a Pomare Te Anau corner, but his header was easily gathered by Van Stipiaan.
Then a most unlikely looking free kick from the half way line from stopper Adam Cowen deceived both sets of players; his pass hit the foot of the post. It was to be the last major action of the half
Half time: MAGS 0 Rangitoto College 0
The MAGS domination of the ball continued throughout the second half, but no goals resulted from their domination. Mark Withers no doubt brought a sigh of relief to the MAGS bench when he converted in the 66th minute. Midfield player Zane Sole had the opportunity to put the result beyond doubt when a penalty was awarded in the 69th minute after flying winger Pomare Te Anau was crudely tripped inside the Rangitoto penalty area. Sole's kick was well saved by Van Stipiaan to keep his team well and truly in the game.
Both teams brought on their substitutes and when the referee blew for full time the MAGS team looked more relieved.
MAGS coach Kevin Fallon said, "There were obvious plusses out there today; a win, a clean sheet, three points and back on top of the table. We also have plenty to work on, particularly with our top third play."
Team: George, Elder, Cowen, Raj (c) Parmenter, Milne, Sole, Killip. Te Anau, Lucas and Withers.
Pavic for Withers 76th minute
Poi for Killip 78th minute
Porter for Parmenter 81st minute
Referee: Mr. Peter Stacey
Goalscorer Mark Wthers 66th minute
Final Score: Win to Mount Albert Grammar School 1 -
Man of the Match Pomare Te Anau