Ngaruawahia United AFC
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|Full name||Ngaruawahia United Association Football Club|
|Ground||Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia|
|League||Northern Region Football League|
Ngaruawahia United AFC play their home matches at Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia.
The club was formed in 1968 as Ngaruawahia United, made up primarily of the teenagers attending Ngaruawahia High School. Following the amalgamation of Ngaruawahia United and Affco Rangers in 1977 the club became known as Ngaruawahia-Affco United. Several years later the name Affco was dropped from the title.
Ngaruawahia United honours board
- 1976 Cambridge Tournament runners-up
- 1998 Chatham Cup semi-finalists
- 2006 Northern League Division Two runners-up
- 2006 Cambridge Tournament runners-up
- 2007 Cambridge Tournament Plate winners
- 2008 Cambridge Tournament winners
- 2009 Promotion to Premier League
- 2011 Promoted to Division 1
- 2013 Promoted to Premier Division
1998 Chatham Cup run
In 1998 Ngaruawahia United went on a romantic Chatham Cup run that took the small club from the North Waikato all the way to the semi-finals. Ngaruawahia United occupied the sports headlines in New Zealand until they finally met their nemesis in the form of Dunedin Technical. Playing away from home, Ngaruawahia United had several chances to cause an upset but it was the South Islanders who would prevail 2–0.
2006 season to present day
In 2006 former National League players Richard Harris and Gordon Glen Watson took over the coaching reins at the club and led the team to promotion from Northern League Division Two. The team went 20 league matches without defeat and finished runners-up to Papatoetoe AFC despite losing just one match all season and defeating Papatoetoe 3–1 at home and drawing 1–1 away in the final league game of the season.
Ngaruawahia United defeated Northern League First Division champions Onehunga Sports 2–1 in the Chatham Cup and enjoyed similar success against Northern League Second Division champions Papatoetoe. Ngaruawahia United finished runners-up to Onehunga-Mangere after suffering a 3–0 defeat at the Cambridge Pre-season Tournament. Earlier, Ngaruawahia United had beaten Waikato-rivals, Melville United, on penalties in an exciting encounter that finished 3–3 after Ngaruawahia had taken a 3–0 lead.
2007 proved to be a disappointing season for the club. Victory in the Cambridge Tournament Plate competition was the highlight as Ngaruawahia finished well down the Northern League 1st Division table. A new coach was added with former Waikato FC coach Dave Edmondson joining the team with an eye to taking over the job full-time in 2008 with Richard Harris and Gordon Glen Watson both taking roles as squad players within the new set-up. Two derby defeats against local rivals Melville United (1–4 and 0–3) – including Melville clinching promotion on the last day of the season at Centennial Park.
Since then Dave Edmondson has taken Ngaruawahia United to the top of the restructured Northern League 1st Division winning thirteen matches and losing just three. Ngaruawahia United won the 2008 Cambridge Tournament but suffered a heavy defeat in the Chatham Cup losing 9–0 away at Glenfield Rovers. With just four matches remaining in the season the club is amongst the favourites to clinch a top two finish.
By the end of 2009 the Club had earned the right to play in the Premier League for 2010. However a major reshuffling of the competition with the re-entry of Northern Teams, and the loss of coach Dave Edmondson to the position of NZ U-19 Women's team (and later to be appointed Head Coach of the Bristol Women's Academy), saw Ngaruawahia drop down to Northern league Division 2 for the 2011 season. They have appointed Phiilip Ruggles as player/coach.
In the penultimate game of the 2011 season Ngaruawahia defeated fellow promotion contenders Fencibles 2–0 to gain promotion along with Mt Albert Ponsonby to Division 1.
Over the 2011–12 off-season the club prepared a professional surface on their No. 1 pitch. This pitch, known as Templeton Field after their founder Joe Templeton, is now in use in the 2012 season. Rodrigo Rojas was appointed Senior Coach for 2014 as the club moved into the Premier League, after coming second in the NRFL Division 1 in 2013.
Their foray into the Premier League was short-lived and the Club crashed out to finish last and being relegated back to Division 1. A new coach was appointed at the beginning of 2015 – Magi Mas Manresa, a Spanish national who accepted the position of player/coach for the season. Early in the season he received a serious elbow injury during training and returned to Spain. The season saw Ngaruawahia finish bottom of the League and headed down to Division 2.
With a complete rebuild of club structure for 2016 and having Ray Pooley appointed to the leading coaching position the club has aimed to climb back into Northern Region Football League Division 1. However the number of draws (7) through the season saw 14 points slip by and a mid-table finish resulted.
Ngaruawahia United played its first friendly international since the 1990s against the National League champions of the Solomon Islands. Marist FC – who were eliminated from the 2006 OFC Club Championship at the hands of Auckland City and AS Pirae – travelled to Ngaruawahia to play the friendly emphasising the Kiwi clubs strong South Pacific connections.
After a goalless first half, Marist FC scored two late second-half goals to take the game 2–0 despite a gritty performance from Ngaruawahia United. At the end of the match Ngaruawahia United President Maxine Williams presented Marist FC coach Patrick Miniti with a hamper of football gear to take back to the Melanesian country.
Shortly after this match, Ngaruawahia United signed Solomon Islands international player Stanley Waita. Waita won 30 caps for his country and appeared in the OFC Nations Cup Final and FIFA World Cup playoff against Australia. Waita was a significant factor in Ngaruawahia United's promotion charge scoring a raft of goals. His form was enough to earn him a contract with NZFC side Waikato FC.
In 2007 Ngaruawahia United played Solomon Islands U-20 at Centennial Park losing the match 5–1. Lance Louvie scored for Ngaruawahia United but Solomon Islands U-20 proved too strong with a strong performance. Solomon Islands U-20 later drew 1–1 with New Zealand U-20 at Trusts Stadium in the OFC U-20 Men's Championship won by the host nation.
Ngaruawahia United's second international fixture saw a match with Samoa U-20 at the Charles J. Dempsey Football Academy at the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) headquarters in Penrose, Auckland, the match finishing in an entertaining 3–3 draw. Star performers for Ngaruawahia included debutant and former Solomon Islands international midfielder David Firisua and young South African-born attacker Lance Louvie.
Ngaruawahia United has played international fixtures previously including a 2–1 win over Tonga back in the 1990s at Centennial Park.
International record since 2006
- vs. Marist FC (SOLOMON ISLANDS) lost 0–2
- vs. Samoa U-20 (SAMOA) drew 3–3
- vs. Solomon Islands U-20 (SOLOMON ISLANDS) lost 1–5