In the first half of extra time, substitute Rian Hooper took Ken Yamamoto’s cut-back in stride and slotted the 102nd minute winner past Louie Coulter in the Waitakere goal for Canterbury’s only lead of the game.
Waitakere had gone ahead through Rousin Nkoy who picked out the far top corner when set through on Canterbury’s goal in the 16th minute.
The start could have been even better for the home side but Young All Whites fullback Bill Tuiloma, playing in midfield for Waitakere, forced a third minute shot wide when the impressive Rory Turner put him through one on one with Canterbury ‘ keeper Eddie Ashton.
A slow starting Canterbury eventually shook the travel out of their legs and when Anthony Cibilich drew his side level, it sparked a seesawing battle that would last for another 90 minutes.
“It was a typical youth game,” said Canterbury United coach Alan Walker, “at times it was you have a go then we’ll have a go. “
“It’s not going to be as structured as the senior level – the players are still learning – but both teams had chances and it could’ve gone either way.”
Waitakere threw caution to the win in the final stages, pushing centre back Luke Adams further and further forward and leaving at times just two defenders at the back.
Yamamoto, who worked smartly and tirelessly as a lone striker, had a good chance to take advantage of the extra space and make the game safe but was denied, as he had been three times earlier in the game, by Coulter.
Otherwise it was a nervous finish to extra time for Canterbury as Waitakere pressed hard for an equaliser to take the game to penalties.
“In the final ten minutes we don’t do what’s expected at senior level because they are youth players but I guess that makes it exciting,” said Walker.
In squaring the ledger with Waitakere at two titles apiece after four finals between the pair, Walker said his team had even exceeded his own expectations.
“I’m really proud of these lads. Having been in the final a couple of times the best I thought we could do this year was make the semi finals but these lads have worked hard and over-performed. I’m so chuffed with them. They deserve it.”
After the early slip-up, Canterbury’s defence was marshalled expertly by victorious skipper Erik Panzer, while Walker singled out Shawn O’Brien’s effort at left back as crucial to stifling an exciting Waitakere attack.
Waitakere’s Sam Burfoot and Canterbury’s James Pendrigh ran themselves to a standstill in midfield and their draining battle typified the evenness of the match.
ASB Youth League Final
December 17, 2011
At Bill McKinlay Park, Auckland
Waitakere United 1 (Roussin NKOY 16’)
Canterbury United 2 (Anthony CIBILICH 27’, Rian HOOPER 102’)
After extra time
Fulltime: 1-1, Halftime: 1-1
Golden Boot Winner: Stephen CARMICHAEL (Auckland City) – 8 goals