Words: Nick Brown
Sunday 23 February 2020
NELSON, New Zealand - The Navy Blues long ISPS Premiership 49 match regular season unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end falling to a stoppage time strike from Jean-Phillipe Saiko to go down 2-1 to Tasman United at Trafalgar Park in Nelson on Sunday afternoon.
First half goals from Fox Slotemaker and Tom Doyle saw the two sides locked at the half time break.
Going into the second half it was a cagey affair with both teams trying to find their opportunities with many opportunities falling for Saiko and chances for Bevan and Lewis for the Navy Blues but it was the New Caledonian international who lashed home deep into second half stoppage time to hand the hosts their first on field win over the Navy Blues with an administrative error handing Tasman 3 points in December 2017 after the Navy Blues fielded Micah Lea’alafa as an ineligible player.
For coach Jose Figueira it was a bitter pill to swallow “Really tough pill to swallow it always is when you concede a late late goal especially when you come away from a game where what we did with and without the ball was one of our best performances of the season”
“We knew Tasman would defend resolutely and defend deep and look to gain some advantages at set plays so it was really disappointing we switched off for their first goal the quick response showed the character of the boys from the start of the game all the way through to the finish”
“Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say it just wasn’t quite your day tactically we were fantastic and ticked most of the boxes we dealt with all of their dangerous counter attacks baring the one in the 90th minute, their goalkeeper has kept them in the game today”
“For us we hold high standards the undefeated run has now come to an end but there is nothing wrong with a little cold water poured over you to remind us of what we want to achieve and we can never rest on our laurels we just need to keep working harder at those final actions and be precise so a bitter pill to swallow today one we have to take on the chin but one I know the players will bounce back quickly from with the O-League on the horizon”
The Navy Blues ISPS Handa Premiership campaign takes a pause for the next couple of weeks as they head to Tahiti for their OFC Champions League Group D fixtures with their opening match against Ricki Herbert’s Ba F.C. kicking off on Sunday March 1 at 5:00pm local time (4:00pm Monday NZT).
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 16 February, 2020
Tasman United 2 (Fox Slotemaker 39’ Jean Phillipe-Saiko 90+4’)
Auckland City FC 1 (Tom Doyle 42’)
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL (10. Dylan MANICKUM 80’), 4. Mario BILEN (C), 6. Brian KALTAK (17. Andrew BLAKE 87’) 8. Albert RIERA (20. Logan ROGERSON 75’) 9. Myer BEVAN, 11. Tom DOYLE, 13. Emiliano TADE 14. Jordan VALE, 22. Clayton LEWIS.
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cameron BROWN (RGK), 19. Maro BONSU-MARO,
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium