Words: Nick Brown
Sunday 6 December 2020
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Ten man Auckland City FC survived a late Team Wellington onslaught to grab a crucial away point after a 2-2 draw away to Team Wellington at David Farrington Park today.
Logan Rogerson, back after a hamstring injury, opened the scoring in the 11th minute after a speculative effort deflected off Mario Barcia and looped over Team Wellington goalkeeper Keegan Smith to hand the Navy Blues an early lead.
Minutes later Brian Kaltak, who had already been booked for a foul on former Navy Blues striker Joao Moreira, went in with a rash challenge on Hamish Watson and referee John Rowbury handed the Vanuatu international his second caution in the space of 14 minutes and with it his marching orders to leave the Navy Blues with a tall task facing the final 70 minutes of the match with just 10 men.
Almost immediately Logan Rogerson stormed up field and fired past Smith for his brace and to double the Navy Blues lead. For the rest of the first half the Navy Blues defence dealt well with the Team Wellington attacks holding on to their two goal lead heading into the half time break.
AUDIO INTERVIEW - Jose Figueira
Team Wellington came back into the game early in the second half after Adam Mitchell was ajudged to have fouled Nathanael Halimariam in the penalty area Moreira slotted past Cam Brown and almost immediately Hamish Watson scored a screamer to draw the home side level.
Both teams thought they had found a third goal with Logan Rogerson and Hailemariam getting goals chalked off for offside followed by outstanding chances for Ben Mata who headed narrowly wide and Hailemariam who had a shot saved outstandingly by Cam Brown.
The final minutes were frantic as the hosts had the ball enter the Navy Blues six yard box a number of times but failing to find a finish.
Four minutes of additional time followed with chances at both ends for Manickum and Moreira but both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Coach Jose Figueira took a lot of positives from an entertaining game but lamented what might have been.
"We're happy to go away with the point. I thought the players showed incredible desire and attitude in the second half especially in the final 10-15 minutes when you're a man down they're always going to create opportunities.
"Outside of the two goals we defended with resilience and made life difficult for the real weapons Team Wellington have up front.
"We have to take the positives out of today that desire, attitude and work ethic will make us stronger going forward.
"We'll continue to polish the other bits and pieces. I feel we're really close to ignite our season because I feel we haven't really done that yet.
"I'm pleased for Logan after the injury setback he's had. He looked sharp and raring to go at the start of the season so its good to see him bounce back with two goals today.
"The first one took a big deflection but as a striker you need that instinct to be looking to shoot on goal. The second was a great finish and the third was disallowed for offside.
"I'm pleased for him and pleased to get some goals but we've had one or two other gilt-edged chances in the first half we should've finished and we've got to tidy up those areas.
"When you go down to ten men early on it always feels like a point gained is the initial feeling. But for us its frustrating the way we conceded the two goals.
"We've got to be better defensively and more focused especially after addressing those things and we've got to do better because everyone worked so hard when we're down to ten men so there's frustration after being 2-0 up and we could've even been 3-0 up at the break," Figueira said.
Next weekend the Navy Blues travel to Christchurch to take on the Canterbury United Dragons at English Park kick off live on Sky Sport 7 is 4:00pm;.
ISPS Handa Men's Premiership
Sunday 6 December 2020
Team Wellington 2
Auckland City FC 2 (Logan ROGERSON)
*Brian KALTACK (Auckland City FC) sent off on 21 minutes for second caution.
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 6. Brian KALTACK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Albert RIERA (16. Yousif AL-KALISY 66'), 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 14. Jordan VALE, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 19. Logan ROGERSON (Mohamed AWAD 72'), 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS NOT USED: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 12. Abdulbaset KHALIFA.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Sat 21 May 2022, Eastern Suburbs, 3pm kick-off, Madills Farm