Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 8 December 2019
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand - A second half goal glut handed Auckland City FC it's biggest away win over Canterbury United since 2008 as the Navy Blues romped to a 3-0 victory in Christchurch today.
Held goalless by a defensively committed and well-organised home side the Navy Blues turned on a superb second half performance to leave beaten Canterbury in eighth place.
Mario Bilen grabbed his sixth goal for the club - and his first in domestic football since November 10, 2013, when he netted in a 4-1 away win over Team Wellington - midway through the second half to break the Dragons resistance.
The second arrived within six minutes when Myer Bevan bagged his ninth goal of the campaign in just his sixth match to double the Navy Blues advantage.
With a two goal cushion, coach Jose Figueira handed Alfie Rogers his first appearance of the campaign when he replaced Andrew Blake, while Clayton Lewis and Maro Bonsu-Maro were also given cameos.
The icing on the cake arrived when Cam Howieson helped himself to his second goal in as many weeks three minutes into additional time.
The first team victory, combined with the Junior Navy Blues last gasp title win in the day's earlier National Youth League match, made it an historic day for Auckland City FC in Christchurch.
AUDIO- "A great day for the club" - Jose Figueira
Figueira described his thoughts about a two memorable victories linked by a new pathway through the club that enables young players to seize a chance at playing at the highest level.
"I'm delighted with the win today backed up by a really really strong performance at a ground and against a team that always makes it so tough to play against them.
"It was a dominant display that sees us build on past weeks and gather momentum but today was also a great example of our connections and partnerships beginning to flourish.
"We scored some really nice goals. Canterbury were well organised and threw something a bit different at us tactically and we managed to tweak a few elemnets at halftime which enabled us to dominate further but also helped us to create more scoring opportunities and it was nice to take those," He told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
While Figueira waxed lyrical about Auckland City FC's team performance, he reserved praise for striker Bevan, who has started the season in sensational form.
"Myer has had a fanfatsic start to the season, With any new signing you're always wondering how they'll settle in - will they understand how the team wants to play and Myer bought straight into our concepts from the first training sessions, not only with his scoring abilities, but also with the unbelievable amount of work he does without the ball.
"Myer and the other forwards become our first defenders and it gives us a great boost of energy to the team to see our forwards putting that amount of work in without the ball.
"It was another goal from Myer and a solid performance alongside a different partnership to the one he was part of last week, thats not only encouraging from a team perspective, but also for Myer to show his adaptability to play with new players or players paying in slightly different positions.
"I'm delighted for him and knowing the personality he is, I know he won't want that form to stop now," he said.
The final word was reserved for the Junior Navy Blues and their 2-1 victory over Canterbury United to seal the club's seventh National Youth League title in the competition's 19 year history.
"I'm delighted for Kris, his staff and the entire team for their win today.
"We arrived at the start of the second half so it was great to be the first people to cheer them on.
"What a way to win with a fantastic strike late on to seal victory.
"Three titles in a row is something very special and its a special way to end what is for now the chapter of the National Youth League and for Auckland City FC's name to be on the last three editions of the tournament - it's a testament to the work that goes on behind the scenes at the club.
"This is a group of players on the fringes of the first team squad many of whom train with us regularly and also put in the work when they go back and play with the youth team. It's a special day for the club."
Auckland City FC's next match is the Gridlock Derby with Eastern Suburbs AFC on Saturday 14 December 2019 at Kiwitea Street. The match kicks off at 4.30pm NZST.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 8 December 2019
Canterbury United 0
Auckland City FC 3 (Mario BILEN 65', Myer BEVAN 71', Cam HOWIESON 90+3')
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Myer BEVAN, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Yousif ALI (22. Clayton LEWIS 63'), 17. Andrew BLAKE (23. Alfie ROGERS 73'), 19. David BROWNE (21. Maro BONSU-MARO 80').
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 6. Brian KALTAK.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium