Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 29 November 2020
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A last gasp Dylan Manickum goal hands Auckland City FC a nail-biting come-from-behind 2-1 win over Hawke's Bay United at Kiwitea Street today.
The day began in sombre mood with Auckland City FC striker Emiliano Tade laying a shirt that bore the name of Diego Maradona on the centre circle with a minute's silence observed for one of the greatest players of all time.
Auckland City's Argentinian striker Emiliano Tade places a shirt on half way as a minutes silence is observed for the passing of Argentinian football great Diego Maradona #NavyBlues #DiegoMaradonaRIP pic.twitter.com/mFrhKBcOnE— Phototek (@PhototekNZ) November 29, 2020
The mood soon lifted for Hawke's Bay United when they went in front near the half hour mark courtesy of a Jesse Randall goal.
The visitors had not won at Kiwitea Street in 16 years of trying but they were on their towards but the Navy Blues couldn't find a way past goalkeeper Scott Morris.
Morris was a key figure throughout and made a top quality save from substitute Tom Doyle midway through the second half.
90' | 2-1— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) November 29, 2020
GOAL!!! The Navy Blues have snatched this at the death. Dylan Manickum I think with the goal but my view was obscured. #ACvHB #ISPSHandaPrem #NavyBlues #StrengthInUnity pic.twitter.com/PJ4pq8mRRA
Bay's stubborn resistance was broken with 14 minutes left when referee Ben o'Connell awarded the home side a penalty that was tucked away by skipper Cam Howieson.
The visitors tried to dig in and hold on for a draw but their hopes were ripped away when Dylan Manickum pounced deep into additional time to score the winner and drag Auckland City FC back into playoff contention.
Coach Jose Figueira was bullish at the end of the match after an exciting game but one that looked as if may slip from the Navy Blues grasp.
"It was an exciting end to the game, a nail biting end to the game. First and foremost, I'm delighted with the three points coming back from last week's setback.
"The performance today was a great turnaround from last week. All the areas we addressed from the Hamilton game, we improved on a lot today and that was backed up by a really strong week of training.
"We had to wait until the final moments to seal the game but overall it was a game where we created a whole host of opportunities on another day if we take sooner we can take control of a game much earlier on," he said.
Figueira's side was shorn of Logan Rogerson and Emiliano Tade and only recently parted company with All Whites striker Myer Bevan.
He felt his team showed great character in turning the game on its head.
"Its always tough when you've got key players in attacking positions missing, players who all have a very good goalscoring record or contribution record to matches via goals, assists, final actions - any team anywhere is going to miss them.
"We lost Emiliano yesterday at training to a calf injury. Logan could've been involved today but we chose to rest him with an eye on next week. It was great to see Mohammed make his debut and have an impact and show moments of real high quality.
70' | 1-1— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) November 29, 2020
GOAL!!! Referee points to the spot for a #NavyBlues penalty and the skipper @CameronHowieson steps up and equalises. #ACvHB #ISPSHandaPrem #NavyBlues #StrengthInUnity pic.twitter.com/xY9tLKLU4S
We've still got enough quality and personality in those areas and hopefully we'll be clicking in that area very soon," he said.
Hawke's Bay United's miserable run in this fixture in Sandringham continues for at least another season.
"We got the equaliser and the final 25 minutes was one-way traffic from us. We dominated the game and lived in the Bay's half.
"We created a whole host of opportunities but those things weren't quite going for us in their penalty box at the last moment and its easy to become frustrated.
"But I was delighted with the personality of our players, they way they stuck to the task, they trusted in the way we play, trusted in each other and, although it was a 92nd minute winner, I think on reflection the opportunities we created showed we deserved to win today," he said.
The biggest news in football may arrive next week when New Zealand Football is expected to announce fundamental changes to the National League set-up.
That announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday 1 December.
Auckland City FC's next match is away to Team Wellington on Sunday 6 December 2020.
The match kicks off at 4pm NZST.
ISPS Handa Men's Premiership
Sunday 29 November 2020
Auckland City FC 2 (Cam HOWIESON 76'-pen, Dylan MANICKUM 90+2')
Hawke's Bay United 1 (Jesse RANDALL 26')
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL (16. Yousif AL-KALISY 83'), 4. Mario BILEN, 6. Brian KALTACK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Albert RIERA (22. Mohamed AWAD 57'), 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 21. Maro BONSU-MARO, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS NOT USED: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 11. Tom DOYLE, 14. Jordan VALE.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Saturday 28 November, 2020
Waitakere United 2-2 Team Wellington
Wellington Phoenix 0-4 Eastern Suburbs AFC
Sunday 29 November, 2020
Auckland City FC 2-1 Hawke's Bay United
Canterbury United 2-3 Hamilton Wanderers
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium