MANY players tend to be preoccupied with securing a starting berth in a team.

Not Hawke's Bay United player Khair Jones, though.

For the midfielder/defender it's all about making the most of a window of opportunity when it opens, as he displayed with last Sunday's spectacular match-winning 1-0 goal against WaiBOP United in Taupo.

"For me it was a combination of coming off the bench and scoring [a goal] about five minutes from the end so it was pretty special," says Jones who found the net in the 83rd minute with a left-foot screamer as a substitute left winger after centre-mid Tom Biss deftly flicked the ball to him at Owen Delany Park.


"Bissy slipped the ball to me perfectly so I just smashed it towards the goal and got it right so it was a pretty good feeling."

For the record, it was the first ASB Premiership goal for the Palmerston North Marist footballer who now flats with teammates Finlay Milne, the captain, and goalkeeper Joshua Hill in Napier.

Tomorrow the undefeated Brett Angell-coached Bay United host Canterbury United at Bluewater Stadium, Park Island.

The Dragons are coming off a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the only other unblemished premiership team, Auckland City, last Sunday at Kiwitea St.

"Auckland City dominated for long periods but I'd imagine Canterbury would be more direct," says Jones who has only played against the Dragons once before when he made his premiership debut for the now defunct YoungHeart Manawatu in the summer of the franchise's relegation in the summer of 2012-13.

The 26-year-old realises former All Whites striker Aaron Clapham will be a handful tomorrow when they kick off at 1pm against the second-placed Bay United trying to keep table-topping Auckland City honest after a 1-1 draw in the season opener.

Having chalked up 50 minutes of game time this summer, Jones is content to simply slot into Angell's template.

"I obviously make an impact off the bench so it comes down to what Brett wants me to do."

Born in Malaysia, he arrived in New Zealand with his parents, Norzam and Geoff Jones, when he was 2.

His initial recollection of football is of kicking and lobbying the ball with his father and friends at neighbourhood parks in Palmerston North until he was 8.

"I just liked running around and tackling people," he says, ruling out playing the country's official sport because "dad wasn't a rugby guy".

The YoungHeart Manawatu [now Manawatu United] beckoned but he didn't think he was good enough to foot it at national league level.

"I kept improving after leaving school but it wasn't until my first season with the big boys in the [premiership] that I realised I could do something with it."

His parents, for the record, haven't made a dash across the Manawatu Gorge yet to watch him play this season.

When Angell approached him to play for Bay United this spring, the Massey University statistics student thought: "Why not, I'm not doing anything else?"

Last year he grappled with his injury demons, favouring a right ankle which is now back to 90 per cent fit although he's "not back to full speed".

His versatility on the left flank as defender/winger makes him an asset.

"That's the two positions I've played in eight years."

Asked which one he prefers most, he replies: "I don't mind either. I like to attack but I don't mind defending either."

That slots into the Angell philosophy quite well, considering the former EPL player employs a full-press attack and defend mindset.

"Ideally we want to play in a team that is passing the ball around in triangles to dominate but I don't think it's resulted for us," he said.

The system Angell has devised is their recipe for success.

"We sit deep and make sure they can't pass through lines so when we get the ball we [counterattack] pretty quickly."

The Dragons have Hawke's Bay-born Angus Kilkolly in their line up as well as Napier City Rovers goalkeeper Rueben Parker Hanks.

The visitors had not finalised their playing squad last by last night.


WHO: Hawke's Bay Utd v Canterbury Utd.

WHEN: Tomorrow, 1pm kick off.

WHERE: Bluewater Stadium, Park Island, Napier.

REFEREE: John Rowbury.

ASST REFS: Gareth Sheehan, Mark Rule.

4th OFFICIAL: Ashley Davenport.

Hawke's Bay Utd: 1. Joshua Hill (GK), 2. Sean Liddicoat, 3. Kohei Matsumoto, 4. Finlay Milne (c), 5. Harrison Nash, 7. Cory Chettleburgh, 8. Tom Biss, 10. Zane Sole, 11. Khair Jones, 12. Cheauxyan Maukau McPhee, 13. Godwin Addai, 14. Jade Mesias, 15. Samuel Mason-Smith, 16. Hamish Watson, 18. Martin Ramos Canales, 19. Birhanu Taye, 21 Fabien Kurimata, 22. Daniel Wilson, Jarrod Hastings (RGK).

Coach: Brett Angell.

Canterbury Utd (from): 1 Ruben Parker Hanks (GK), 2 Dan Terris, 3 Danny Boys, 4 Julyan Collett, 5 Tom Schwarz, 6 Dan Schwarz, 7 Atkin Kaua, 8 Aaron Clapham, 9 Michael White, 10 Gary Ogilvie, 11 Juan Chang, 12 Jesse Dingjan, 13 Daniel Ede, 14 Andre de Jong, 15 Jacob Allen, 16 Brock Messenger, 17 Aaron Spain, 18 Andreas Wilson, 19 Sam Maoate-Cox, 20 Angus Kilkolly, 21 Jackson Brady, 22 Coey Turipa (RGK), 23 Meysum Shafahi, 24 Boon Ozawa, Danny Knight (RGK).

Coach: Willy Gerdsen.

Ast coach: Joe Hall.