A late equaliser from Hawke's Bay United denied Hamilton Wanderers their first win in over a year with both teams settling for a point a piece.

The ISPS Handa Premiership kicked off again on the opening weekend of January. The Hamilton Wanderers had a dreadful start to the campaign last year picking up only one point and are out of contention for a top four spot, sitting at the bottom of the table.

The side had shown signs of improvement in their last couple of games before the break and those signs showed again against Hawke's Bay United.

Several changes to the side were made as Michael Built departed for Auckland side Eastern Suburbs. Dave Samson, Waikato FC second most capped player, signed on as his replacement. Samson made his return to national league football with a yellow card in the eighth minute as he made a reckless challenge on a Hawke's Bay defender.


Hawke's Bay then moved on the offensive with Samuel Adjei putting in a dangerous cross, but the ball was cleared before it could reach the foot of Alexander Palezevic.

Adjei and Gavin Hoy then combined on the right wing to put in a cross for Bjorn Christensen whose header went wide of the goal.

The persistent pressure paid off for Hawke's Bay as Christensen scored the first goal of the match in the 39th minute. Hoy intercepted a loose ball in the midfield before playing in Palezevic who in turn played in Christensen who made no mistake with his second chance of the game.

Wanderers goal keeper Matt Oliver made the last big play of the half as he denied Palezevic in the dying minutes to keep the deficit at one. Disaster then came for Hawke's Bay in the opening minutes of the second half after a poor clearance from a Wanderer's attack led to an own goal by Daniel Mchenery.

Wanderers doubled their tally when Asmir Pasagic was played in by Tommy Semmy putting Wanderers 2-1 up with 25 minutes to go.

A large number of substitutions and fouls slowed the game down until the last 10 minutes where Hawke's Bay were able to find an equaliser. Palezevic received the ball after the ball rebounded around the Hamilton Wanderers penalty area. The Hawke's Bay striker took his time as he scored his first goal of the year and condemned Wanderers to another winless game.