Bay of Plenty football sides Tauranga City and McDonalds Ngongotahā men's both struggled to get on the score sheet in their respective Northern Region Football League games at the weekend. One side escaped with a draw while the other was not so fortunate. Tauranga City now look ahead to the Chatham Cup, which starts next week, while Ngongotahā will continue to search for a way to win. Both coaches were asked about the weekend's games and how they will go about putting their best foot forward in the coming weeks.
The McDonalds Ngongotahā Men's first team's hunt for a first Northern League Football second division win will continue for another week.
They have started the season with seven defeats including Saturday's 3-0 loss to Franklin United but it is not unfamiliar territory for Ngongotahā, who surged back in the second half of the 2018 season. After earning one point from the first 10 games, they picked up seven wins to finish eighth – just a couple of wins outside the top four.
Ngongotahā are not competing in the Chatham Cup this year and coach Andrew Gibbs will use the week off to have a big training session on Saturday. He says his side "played all the football" in the loss to Franklin.
"We conceded three soft goals and had opportunities but did not put them away. We dominated the game and created more opportunities."
After the week off, Ngongotahā will host unbeaten Claudelands – the same team that Ngongotahā beat last year in what Gibbs says was a turning point of the season.
"Our shape is working fine, our transferring of the football through midfield, our keeping the football is working fine, but we have to sure that backline up and find a solution to get that ball in the back of the net.
"We have shown we can compete with just about anybody in this league. It is hard on the boys, but we have to understand how close we are and we have to keep that confidence."
Meanwhile, Tauranga City had a goalless draw in the Northern League Football first division on Saturday as they prepare for cup football.
Tauranga and Waiheke United battled out a 0-0 stalemate at Links Avenue Reserve on Saturday. The Bay of Plenty's top football side had three wins and three losses prior to that fixture.
"A point is a point," Tauranga coach Nic Millichip says.
"We felt there was a good tactical battle going on out there. I want to see us score goals and we do play an attacking brand of football and we made opportunities. We are getting into the right positions."
The result leaves Tauranga in sixth place on the table, but just three points outside the top four.
"We are tracking pretty reasonably and we are starting to see a consistency. This is a time where we ask ourselves if we do something a bit different, and change things around a wee bit just to liven it up.
"Every week there are little changes we are making. We might sit a little deeper or change around what we are doing in the front third. There are tweaks in the game and during the week."
The first round of the Chatham Cup takes place this weekend, and Tauranga will head north to take on second division side Manurewa.
First contested in 1923, the Chatham Cup is a knockout competition which includes clubs from all around New Zealand and it is a pillar of New Zealand sporting lore. Tauranga's best finish was runners-up in 2002 when they were beaten in the final by Napier City Rovers.
Taupō will also play in the first round where they will take on second division side Unimount Bohemian Celtic from Auckland. Other Bay of Plenty clubs, Pāpāmoa and Ōtūmoetai, were beaten in the preliminary rounds.
Millichip says they know a little about Manurewa, having played them last season before they were relegated to division two.
"I remember as a kid watching games in Christchurch when Ricki Herbert was a kid. Cup games are always pretty neat, it is a one off and you have extra time. I think it is awesome, it is an opportunity to put ourselves out there against some of the premier sides. It breaks things up a bit, and it gives you an opportunity to do something you want to out. People are up for it."