Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 2 February 2020
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC's rush towards a seventh consecutive ISPS Handa Premiership league title continues after a 3-1 win over Hamilton Wanderers.
Hamilton Wanderers had been winless in seven previous encounters with the Navy Blues but began this match in determined mood eager to register their first competitive points against Jose Figueira's side.
While they gave an honest account of themselves they were in the end no match for the Kiwitea Street side who are now unbeaten in the regular season since October 2017.
In a scrappy first half, it was the visitors who created the most chances with Tommy Semmy a constant menace and forcing saves from Conor Tracey.
The Navy Blues nearly went ahead just before the half hour mark when Tom Doyle's header from a Mario Bilen cross to the far post was clawed away spectacularly by goalkeeper Matt Oliver.
Tracey was then called into action to deny Joe Harris' right volley was flicked away low to left.
GOAL!!! Myer Bevan caps off the scoring in today's victory
Auckland City FC finally took the lead on 34 minutes when Myer Bevan stabbed a through ball towards Emiliano Tade who guided the ball past Oliver for his first goal since his return to Kiwitea Street from the Mamelodi Sundowns.
Cam Howieson then got in on the act smashing a long range shot just centimetres over Oliver's crossbar after a lovely Cryuff turn and layoff by Tade.
The lead was doubled when Tade whipped in a near post corner zipped past Oliver with Logan Rogerson running interference just prior to half time - it appeared the corner had flown straight in off Tade's corner but the goal was later deemed an own goal by the Wanderers goalkeeper.
Wanderers started the second half with a spring in their step when Semmy raced through one-on-one with Tracey who saved bravely at the Papua New Guinea international's feet.
The Navy Blues were soon back in their groove when Clayton Lewis was sent clear by a Tade free-kick only for Oliver to turn away his powerful shot at his near post.
Play was halted on the hour mark when Joe Nottage, Bilen and Tracey collided in an aerial challenge that left both Navy Blues players bleeding from head wounds.
Bilen was unable to continue and replaced by Jordan Vale while Tracey's head was bandaged heavily as he played on.
The game exploded ten minutes later when Wanderers new signing Jama Boss slid into Tracey leaving the Navy Blues keeper writhing in pain.
Defender Adam Mitchell then became embroiled in a confrontation with Boss which resulted in a yellow card for each from referee Luke Gardner with the embattled Tracey once again bravely continuing.
FULL TIME - The #NavyBlues take a 3-1 win over @HamWanderersNZ at Kiwitea Street a brace to Emiliano Tade and a goal to Myer Bevan with George Ott scoring in reply for the visitors. #ACvHW #ISPSHandaPrem #NavyBlues pic.twitter.com/iSFWHSHQ38— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) February 2, 2020
The game was put beyond all doubt when Tade dispossessed Nottage before threading a pass through to Bevan who slid the ball beyond Oliver to make it 3-0 with 13 minutes left.
Rogerson nearly added fourth when Oliver tipped his right foot shot onto the top of the crossbar just seconds later.
The visitors pulled one back with five minutes left when George Ott ghosted in at the far post to head past Tracey.
Next week, Auckland City FC are at home to the Wellington Phoenix.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 2 February, 2020
Auckland City FC 3 (Emiliano TADE 34', Own Goal 44'', Myer BEVAN 77')
Hamilton Wanderers 1 (George OTT 85')
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN (14. Jordan VALE 65'), 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Myer BEVAN (21. Maro BONSU-MARO 80'), 11. Tom DOYLE, 13. Emiliano TADE (2. Mario ILICH 78'), 17. Andrew BLAKE, 20. Logan ROGERSON, 22. Clayton LEWIS.
SUBS NOT USED: 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (GK), 10. Dylan MANICKUM.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Saturday 1 February, 2020
Wellington Phoenix 0-1 Team Wellington
Sunday 2 February, 2020
Tasman United 3-1 Hawke's Bay United
Canterbury United 1-2 Waitakere United
Eastern Suburbs AFC 6-0 Southern United
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium