Football: Farewell to Links Ave

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WaiBOP's Stephen Hoyle in action against Hawke's Bay United last weekend.
WaiBOP's Stephen Hoyle in action against Hawke's Bay United last weekend.

Loaded WaiBOP United's ASB Premiership game at Mount Maunganui tomorrow is a homecoming for head coach Peter Smith.

In their last ever home game of the season, WaiBOP United will take on Wellington Phoenix at Tauranga City United's Links Avenue ground. Next season the ASB Premiership franchise will be turned over to Hamilton Wanderers for the 2016/17 season.

Smith is pleased to return having lived in Tauranga for many years.

"Links Ave holds a lot of special memories for me, not only with Loaded WaiBOP United but also through my time at Tauranga City United," Smith said. "I hope we can turn up and put on a special show in front of the many, many people I know so well here in Tauranga."

Smith, who is now based in Auckland as Mt Albert Grammar School director of football, is happy his team's final home game will be at Links Ave.

"It's an excellent ground and we usually get a good crowd in - a crowd that knows and enjoys the game - so I'm hoping for more of the same on Saturday.

I expect the conditions will be excellent so we'll want to reward our fans and sponsors with a good performance and an even better result."

Links Ave is a lucky ground for Loaded WaiBOP United, who are unbeaten at the venue in the three matches played there over the past two seasons. They beat Wanderers SC 3-1 in both the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, while drawing 1-all with Waitakere United in 2014/15.

The Phoenix, who are essentially the A-League franchise's reserve team, include some of the country's best young players.

The match kicks off at 1pm. Adults - $10, students & pensioners - $5, children - free.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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