Petone FC seal promotion with second leg heroics

  17 September 2019   Comms team   Club News
Petone FC seal promotion with second leg heroics

Petone FC have stormed into the 2020 Ultra Football Men’s Central League with a 4-1 win over Central Football challengers, Havelock North Wanderers, in the second leg of the Central League Playoffs. Having gone down with a 4-2 defeat in the first leg, Petone FC were left with a mountain to climb for the return leg if they wanted any chance of lifting the Graeme Sole Cup and sealing a place in next years Men’s Central League.


But that’s just what they did. A huge second half effort saw the home team go from 1-0 down in the first 15 minutes of play and 1-1 at the break, to netting 3 in the final 45 to finish 4-1 at the final whistle. Petone FC’s captain Michael Pickering, a standout figure for the entire season, was ecstatic with the team’s final ditch efforts.


“Pretty emotional. That was a big battle but really deserved for the whole season we put in. Bit of relief at first but just absolute pride. I’m just proud of the boys. We put in a big shift all year and then to battle back, because we had dug a hole in the first leg, to battle back and to come back from that two-goal deficit was just huge. Just a testament to the strength of our squad and our togetherness and just so proud of them. Proud is the main thing.”


Paying tribute to the teams work ethic throughout the year, Pickering acknowledged the importance of scoring two goals in the first leg to give the team a chance to hold on in the contest.


“I think the late goals were the big thing for us, I think that changed the momentum of the tie, if we came back 4 nil I don’t know if we would have been able to pull that back. But yeah, the boys came in and locked in and were just ready to make amends for not doing ourselves justice in the first leg.”


After conceding the first goal in the second leg, Bjorn Christensen slotting one home in the 11th minute for the Wanderers, Petone clawed their way back into the contest and scored three unanswered goals, (Jaga Scott-Greenfield 23’, Ethan Findley 57’, Ta Eh Doe 76’), to set up a 3-1 lead heading into the final 10 minutes. The Wanderers threw everything at the Petone FC defence, but it was Zac Watson who had the final say, sending one home in the 90th to finish the game 4-1.


“We were just digging in, it was the last 10 minutes of the season, You just got to lay it all on the line, and they threw a lot at us and we held firm, and that was the main thing we worked hard with our defence all year trying to be as solid as we can and that really saw us right in the last 10 minutes. It was tough though.”


With no better way to lift a trophy than in front of a home crowd, Pickering was excited by the chance to develop the club’s top players and take on the challenge that is the Men’s Central League.


“It's huge, absolutely huge, we’ve got a lot of good young guys who deserve to be playing Central League and it would have been tough to try and to keep them if we didn’t get up there so that’s the main thing, that they will get to go out there and perform against the best in the region now. And that’s the main thing, we want to keep developing and that’s going to be the best leap forward for them.”


With high aspirations for the 2020 season, Pickering and Petone FC will be looking to the off season to strengthen and further develop their young squad.


“To do as best as we can, you got to try and win it don’t you? That’s the main thing with any league you have got to try and win it so that’s what we’ll aim for.”


Courtesy of Capital Football