In the dying minutes of the second half, Koiatu netted a brilliant half-volley over the keeper to confirm the crucial win for the home side. This followed after Mana Unuia’s opener in the 23rd minute when a messy wall-pass in front of the goalmouth played to his advantage and saw the young striker loft the ball on to left post as everyone gazed across for it to curl into the goal.
Nikao savoured the moment as they knew maximum points were gained to advance their pursuit of finishing the season on second place. But it didn’t come as easy for the men in green as they struggled to capitalise on earlier opportunities from winger Julius David, who kept losing the ball outside the danger zone. The wet conditions of the pitch gave little assistance either, making it very difficult for good quality passes. It was an even affair in the opening stages of the first half with both teams looking to get forward but lacking in the final third – Unuia up one end, and Repoama Ponga down the other, finding space for strikes, but missing the target.
Matavera were in peak form with an aggressive back four led by Paul-Luiz Van Eijk, and skipper Maru Miro executing a number of outstanding offside traps to seize play from their quick-attacking opponents.
For Nikao, it was about upping their game in the final moments of the first spell to snatch the lead going into the break.
Allan Taylor, however, at the midway point came back with an improved 4-4-2 structure to see Matavera dominate possession in the second spell and continue attacking in Nikao’s defensive half.
As time ticked away it was the host team who made it happen, taking the victory to a 2-0 score.
In another exciting premier men’s clash, Titikaveka climbed off the bottom of the table after a jaw-dropping performance that saw them draw 3-3 against runners-up Takuvaine on Friday.
It was the home side who took the lead with their 2-0 score going into the break, and continued to thrill the audience by scoring again in the first 15 minutes of the second spell.
Takuvaine, however, made a breathtaking come-back in the 68th, 75th and 81st minutes to equalise the score.
In Puaikura, the hosts beat Avatiu 4-0 in another classic performance that saw them seal the deal for the Van’s Premier men’s championship title.
Here are the full results from Round 12 matches.
Titikaveka FC vs Takuvaine FC
Premier Men 3-3, Senior Women 2-0, Under 17 Men 0-3, Under 14 Boys 12-0, Under 14 Girls 3-0, Under 11 Mixed 0-3, Under 8 Mixed 2-1.
Nikao Sokattak FC vs Matavera FC
Premier Men 2-0, Under 17 Men 3-0, Under 14 Boys 1-1, Under 14 Girls 0-0, Under 11 Mixed 0-4, Under 8 Mixed 0-0.
Puaikura FC vs Avatiu FC
Premier Men 4-0, Senior Women 5-0, Under 17 Men 2-5, Under 14 Boys 10-0, Under 14 Girls 1-0, Under 11 Mixed 4-0, Under 8 Mixed 0-1.
- CIFA Media