The All Whites have continued their build-up for the FIFA Confederations Cup with a comfortable 5-2 win over club side Cabinteely FC tonight at Stradbrook in Dublin.
Anthony Hudson made three changes to his starting XI from the 1-0 loss against Northern Ireland on Friday night in Belfast with Deklan Wynne coming in at left wing-back for Thomas Doyle, Bill Tuiloma taking Clayton Lewis’ place in the midfield and Glen Moss starting in goal for the training match.
The All Whites were expecting a tough challenge and the Division Two league side were up for the occasion of taking on a national team for the first time. They presented a good test in front of around 1,000 parochial fans.
All Whites coach Hudson said he was pleased to come through the match without any injuries after what had been a physically demanding week for his players.
“I really wanted to see us play at a good intensity because we have had a couple of really strong days in training,” he said. “We were able to do that. I thought the attitude was very good. Overall the quality was very good. It wasn’t a terribly easy pitch to play on but there were a lot of positives. Tonight was a potential banana skin game for us but we did a professional job.”
The visitors got off to an ideal start when in the first minute Marco Rojas – one of the most influential players for the All Whites throughout the first half – delivered a corner which was well put away by experienced defender Tommy Smith with a powerful header.
But if the Oceania Champions thought it was going to be a walk in the park then they were brought down to earth by the locals who responded two minutes later. Marty Waters scored a goal of real quality with a volley from the edge of the box into the bottom corner which got the huge roar from the crowd.
The All Whites settled into the match and during a period in the middle of the first half they took control of the game. Kip Colvey caused problems down the right flank all afternoon and had a hand in both of the next two goals.
After 31 minutes, Colvey crossed to Ryan Thomas who picked out Rojas who laid off a simple tap-in for All Whites skipper Chris Wood. The Leeds United striker continued his rich goal scoring form with a quick-fire double when Colvey found him with a great cross and he did not hesitate with a superb finish.
Only moments before the break, Cabinteely FC got within one when Bill Tuiloma brought down Evan Galvin in the box and the home side were given a penalty. Galvin finished it well to the bottom right and the contest was on again. It was the last time Cabinteely looked like they could get something from the game.
Almost all of the All Whites squad were used in the contest with most of the starting XI replaced at half time with only Tuiloma and Smith remaining from the first half side. They continued their momentum seamlessly and Tuiloma and Clayton Lewis dominated the midfield while Shane Smeltz and Kosta Barbarouses were full of running up front.
In the 54th minute a great cross from Alex Rufer put Barbarouses in space in the box and the striker finished well to the bottom right corner.
Ten minutes later, Smeltz was in on the action when he and Barbarouses played a lovely one-two inside the box and one of the New Zealand’s talismanic strikers hammered home into the left corner.
It was the final goal of the night and one which capped a special afternoon at the Cabinteely FC where the locals offered plenty and the All Whites got in a valuable hit-out ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup.
New Zealand, who will open their campaign for the ‘Tournament of Champions’ in 11 days’ time against the tournament hosts Russia, face Belarus in Minsk on 12 June to complete their preparation.
Cabinteely FC 2 (Waters 3’, Galvin 45’ (pen)) New Zealand 5 (Smith 1’, Wood 31’, 33’, Barbarouses 54’, Smeltz 64’) HT 2-3
New Zealand: 1. Glen Moss (23. Tamati Williams 46’) 3. Deklan Wynne (17. Tom Doyle 46’), 5. Michael Boxall (21. Storm Roux 46’), 6. Bill Tuiloma, 8. Michael McGlinchey (15. Clayton Lewis 46’) 9. Chris Wood (c) (10. Shane Smeltz 46’), 11. Marco Rojas (7. Kosta Barbarouses 46’), 14. Ryan Thomas (19. Alex Rufer 46’), 18. Kip Colvey (16. Dane Ingham 46’) 20. Tommy Smith (2. Sam Brotherton 59’) 22. Andrew Durante (4. Themi Tzimopoulos 46’)