Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 30 November 2019
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC thrashed a hapless Tasman United 11-0 to blast the National Youth League title race wide open with one round left to play.
With Waitakere United choking in an upset 5-4 defeat to Southern United, the Junior Navy Blues can wrap up an historic third consecutive National Youth League next Saturday providing they defeat Canterbury United at English Park.
The other key match features Hamilton Wanderers and Waitakere United.
In this game the tone was set early when New Zealand U-17 international Bradley Wilson sped clear of the Tasman United defence to open the scoring on six minutes. The advantage was doubled by Callum McNeill moments later and there was a sense of forboding that this would be a walkover.
That became a reality in brutal fashion with Nathan Lobo (pictured above), Thomas Drillien and Matt Ellis each chiming in with goals to have the home side 5-0 up with barely 25 minutes on the clock.
Wilson grabbed his second just before the break to stretch the lead to six.
Though Tasman United can have few complaints about the menacing way they were dispatched they were by no means a team devoid of talent or opportunity.
AUDIO - "I'm very proud of my players - Kris Bright
Two key chances fell to the southerners inside the first couple of minutes and some of their build-up play was attractive but once the goals started to flow their confidence ebbed rapidly and led to one defensive calamity after the next.
Substitute striker Finn McCracken took full advantage bagging four second half goals after he came on midway through the first half for Deandre Vollenhoven.
Wilson, who was outstanding, completed his own hat-trick with ten minutes left to play with the only blemish of the second half an injury to skipper Aidan Carey who was replaced by Louis Middelpdorp.
For the visitors, their miserable afternoon was summed up when they skied a last minute penalty high over the crossbar.
Coach Kris Bright was understandably proud of his team who, perhaps for the first time this season, put an opponent under severe pressure and never let up in a complete performance.
"I'm proud of the fact the boys did exactly what we've been talking to them about for the last few weeks.
"They were positive and brave and tried to go forward - there were no instructions, we just wanted them to go and have fun.
"There was no pressure on us, the pressure is on the other teams, so they had fun, they scored goals and worked hard," he said.
Tasman United cut a forlorn shape at the end of a traumatic 90 minutes but Bright correctly pointed out that today's opponents endured an unusually difficult game that wasn't typical of their season.
"Essentially, we beat a side that weren't that bad - Tasman have beaten some good teams in this league by four or five goals.
"We won because we worked harder and I think that's why we lost certain games this season because we didn't work hard.
"I am very proud of our team and the way they performed," he added.
Elsewhere, Southern United caused a major upset, downing Waitakere United 5-4 in a last minute boilover that sees the west Aucklanders title hopes take a massive dent.
Bright downplayed the events and preferred to focus on where the Junior Navy Blues performance.
"We weren't too concerned about what was happening in the Waitakere United game because we knew we had to win our last two games anyway.
"It's not something that was under our control so we focused on winning our game today and we'll focus on winning our game next week.
"We'll go to Canterbury and try to do the same thing again and see if we can have the same performance - if we win, we win.
"Waitakere United face Hamilton Wanderers in the final game which is over to them but we'll go to Canterbury United next and just try to enjoy ourselves," he said.
Auckland City FC's final National Youth League match at Canterbury United is scheduled for English Park in Christchurch on Sunday 8 December 2019 and kicks off at 11am NZST.
National Youth League
Saturday 30 November 2019
Auckland City FC 11 (Bradley WILSON 6', 39', 80', Callum McNEILL 9', Nathan LOBO 19', Finn McCRACKEN 50', 66', 72', 86', Thomas DRILLIEN 24', Matthew ELLIS 15')
Tasman United 0
AC: 18. Luca TAYLOR (GK) (1.Sam BOTTOMLEY (GK) 66'), 2. Nathan LOBO (20. Louis MIDDELDORP 57'), 4. Nick MILICICH, 6. Callum McNEILL, 7. Matthew HODGSON, 10. Matthew ELLIS (5. Dhanush CHANDRA 74'), 11. Deandre VOLLENHOVEN (21. Finn McCRACKEN 28'), 16. Corban PIPER, 17. Thomas DRILLIEN, 19. Bradley WILSON, 23. Aidan CAREY (c) (13. Malcolm YOUNG 57').
COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
Round 8 Results
Hamilton Wanderers 4-2 Wellington Phoenix
Team Wellington 3-1 Canterbury United
Auckland City FC 11-0 Tasman United
Hawke's Bay United 2-2 Eastern Suburbs AFC
Waitakere United 4-5 Southern United
Full league table here.
Saturday 7 December, 2019
Tasman United v Wellington Phoenix
Saxton Field, Nelson - kick-off: 12pm NZST
Southern United v Hawke's Bay United
Logan Park, Dunedin - kick-off: 1pm NZST
Eastern Suburbs AFC v Team Wellington
Ngahue Reserve, Auckland - kick-off: 2pm NZST
Sunday 8 December, 2019
Canterbury United v Auckland City FC
English Park, Christchurch - kick-off: 11am NZST
Hamilton Wanderers v Waitakere United
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton - kick-off: 11am NZST
NATIONAL YOUTH LEAGUE TITLE RUN-IN ANALYSIS
1. Auckland City FC: Played 8, Won 6, Drew 0, Lost 2, Points: 18
Goal Difference: +24
08.12.19 v Canterbury United (A)
How fortunes can change in the space of a week - the Junior Navy Blues are in top spot and can win their third consecutive National Youth League title if they can defeat Canterbury United at English Park next week. The tie-breaker is goal difference and after today's 11-0 mauling of Tasman United, Kris Bright's team hold the aces here. A draw or defeat would open the door for Waitakere United, Hamilton Wanderers or perhaps even Team Wellington, to snatch the trophy - to find out how, read on.
2. Hamilton Wanderers: Played 8, Won 6, Drew 0, Lost 2, Points: 18
Goal Difference: +11
08.12.19 v Waitakere United (H)
Hamilton Wanderers have performed well to stay in touch with the two Auckland sides and can turn their final match of the season into a winner take all affair only if Canterbury United do their bit and defeat Auckland City FC. A win for Hamilton Wanderers, on their own pitch, will destroy Waitakere United's title hopes and keep the Waikato side's firmly in the championship winning frame, as long as Auckland City FC lose in Christchurch. A draw, a defeat for Auckland City FC and a win for Team Wellington would see the capital kids win the title - this is the most unlikely scenario.
3. Waitakere United: Played 8, Won 6, Drew 0, Lost 2, Points: 18
Goal Difference: +8
08.12.19 v Hamilton Wanderers (A)
Two big defeats in two games has caused a crisis of confidence among Chris Zoricich's side who looked odds on favourites to win the title just a fortnight ago. They must defeat Hamilton Wanderers at Porritt Stadium next week and hope Canterbury United take a result off Auckland City FC to get their hands on a first National Youth League title since 2011, but they lack momentum. Waitakere United must win and hope Auckland City FC lose - but if they draw, then they'll be looking nervously over their shoulder at what happens between Eastern Suburbs AFC and Team Wellington.
4. Team Wellington Played 8, Won 5, Drew 1, Lost 2, Points: 16
Goal Difference: +7
07.12.19 v Eastern Suburbs (A)
But for two dropped points, Team Wellington would be right in the mix for the final day dramas, yet somehow they, too, remain in with a remote chance of glory. For the capital kids to leapfrog the three teams ahead of them, they'll need to run up a cricket score against Eastern Suburbs AFC in Auckland and then hope for Canterbury to beat Auckland City FC. A win for either Hamilton Wanderers or Waitakere United would kill the deal but if the two were to somehow produce a draw - and Team Wellington can win by four or more goals, then the last National Youth League title will find it's way to the capital in what would be the biggest shock in the 18 year history of the competition.
ROLL OF HONOUR - NATIONAL YOUTH LEAGUE
2019 - Auckland City FC
2018 - Auckland City FC
2017 - Hamilton Wanderers
2016 - Team Wellington
2015 - Nelson Marlborough Falcons
2014 - Auckland City FC
2013 - Auckland City FC
2012 - Canterbury United
2011 - Waitakere United
2010 - Canterbury United
2009 - Auckland City FC
2008 - Waitakere United
2007 - Auckland City FC
2006 - Capital Football
2005 - Capital Football
2004 - North Harbour
2003 - Capital Football
2002 - Auckland Football
Sat 21 Dec 2019, KO: 4.00pm, Logan Park, Dunedin