MAGS EDGE CLOSER TO TITLE.
Mount Albert Grammar School fielded the same line up that did so well in the second half of last week's big clash versus Auckland Grammar. Captain for the day was Caleb Duncan and back on duty, but on the bench, was Dakota Lucas. MAGS were up against a full strength King's College team who themselves were fighting to keep out of the relegation zone.
It was captain Duncan who thwarted the first positive attack in the game when King's striker Nikolai Molijn intercepted a poor pass in midfield and sped towards the penalty area in the opening minute. Duncan's timely challenge enabled George to kick the ball up field, his kick glancing off the head of King's centre back Campbell Kerr for the first corner of the game.
The corner led to Boss shooting, but his effort was well blocked on the edge of the King's penalty area.
In the 11th minute, Thomas Spragg rounded Fitzpatrick, the MAGS right back on the edge of the area. His well executed cross ran across the six yard box but no-one was home to connect. One minute later, Te Anau rounded Esteves, but his shot did justice to a rugby game.
Slowly MAGS were starting to dominate possession on a pitch that looked smooth but had the ball bouncing along merrily and players needed to concentrate fully on their first touch. The cross-field wind also was not making a smooth passing game easy.
In the 20th minute Boxall went down in the MAGS midfield area and Fitzpatrick put the ball out of the ground. His throw went astray and eventually led to Moilijn once again shooting over the top from 12 yards. Eventually MAGS had the ball in the net from a Kochasira shot. Hamiton followed up to put the ball past Grant. However, referee Sean Morgan- Smith decided otherwise, giving an off-side decision.
A minute later there was a goal, but it was from Nikolai Molijn who cashed in on a indecisive action on the behalf of MAGS left back Hayden Porter who completely misjudged a high ball over the top which landed just inside the MAGS penalty area. Goalkeeper Patrick George came to narrow the angle, but only succeeded in presenting the narrowest of barriers. Molijn took advantage of this poor defensive play and King's were 1-0 ahead.
King's grew with confidence and had another free kick that was headed over the top with George looking indecisive a minute later.
Next it was the captain Caleb Duncan who came to the rescue, blocking a Spragg's shot on the edge of the area. King's were looking confident, with the MAGS defence surrendering ball possession too easily. The home team looked more at home on a surface that did not suit the visitors. In the 43rd minute Spraggs broke down the left crossed and George saved well at the near post.
MAGS looked happy to regroup at half time as the referee's whistle halted play.
Half time King's College 1 MAGS 0
was introduced into the fray at half time. replacing
Kochasira down the MAGS right flank. He took up a position
though on the left wing with Te Anau moving to the right-hand
side. It was Lucas who forced the first corner taking on
Esteves. From the resulting corner Duncan headed over the bar
with Grant stranded. MAGS were searching for that midfield
creativity that was missing at this stage of the game. Boss
and Poi were trying, but with little outcome and Boxall was
strangely quiet with very few attacking forays from full
backs Porter and Fitzpatrick. If MAGS were going to score it
looked like the lively Lucas could be the game breaker. With
an hour gone there was a team change with Karlo Pavic coming
on to replace Faitalia Hamilton up front. Two minutes later
MAGs were on equal terms. Te Anau's corner was won at the far
post by Duncan and Fitzpatrick volleyed home his first MAGS
inspired the boys in blue and Te Anau looked to be clear and
a push in the back looked to be a certain penalty. Although
the referee went for his whistle he decided against it. The
next substitute for MAGS saw Jordan Vale replace Conrad Poi
in midfield in the 67th minute. It was a move that brought a
little more energy into a midfield that on the day was
looking short of attacking ideas and energy. MAGS were now
dominating ball possession and territory. Lucas tore into the
box cutting in from the left flank. Esteves brought him down,
but a loud penalty appeal once more was turned down.
long though before the MAGS renaissance paid off when another
dangerous set play was powerfully headed home by skipper
Caleb Duncan in the 70th minute, MAGS were looking hungry.
Four minutes later Te Anau chested down a ball on the edge of the box, but shot weakly at Grant in the King's goal.
MAGS now were looking likely winners as the King's team looked to fade. The third goal was not long in coming and it came from Lucas following up a goalkeeping mistake. 3-1 to MAGS.
The ball was in the net again in the 83rd minute as Pavic cashed in on a Grant handling error, but once again the referee thought an offence had been committed. The fourth goal did come though in the 87th minute and what a beauty it was. Dakota Lucas out-sped his marker and, from an acute angle, rifled the ball into the roof of the net. MAGS had the points and were marching closer to their sixth successive League Championship title in as many years.
Final score King's College 1 MAGS 4
: George, Fitzpatrick, Duncan(c),
Rowlands, Porter, Poi, Boxall, Boss, Kochasira, Hamilton, Te
Substitutions: Lucas for Kochasira 46 minute, Pavic for Hamilton 60 and Vale for Poi 67.
Goalscorers : Fitzpatrick 62nd minute, Duncan 70th minute, Lucas 76th 87th minute
Cautions: Caleb Duncan
Referee: Mr Sean Morgan-Smith
Man of the Match Caleb Duncan