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Richards goal ends Dragons 12-year wait for home win

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 13 December 2020

Picture: Phototek

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand - A Jacob Richards goal gave Canterbury United their first home win over Auckland City FC in the ISPS Handa Premiership since 2008.

Richards last gasp winner mirrored the drama of the Dragons last victory over the Navy Blues when a late goal by Ken Yamamoto handed Keith Braithwaite's side a 1-0 win at Kiwitea Street a decade ago. 

Canterbury United enjoyed dominance in the first half with the wind to their backs but wayward shooting and good defending kept the scores level at the break.

From that point onwards Auckland City FC turned the tables creating 16 chances but failed to capitalise on any of them.

Yousif Al-Kalisy saw one shot fly centimetres over the crossbar with Danny Knight stranded while Tom Schwarz also cleared another effort off the line.

The Navy Blues had a great shout for a penalty turned down midway through the second half but also then missed a gilt-edged chance right in front of Danny Knight's goal following a dangerous cross by Logan Rogerson.

AUDIO INTERVIEW - Jose Figueira

Auckland City FC · Figueira demands show of character

Coach Jose Figueira threw on Abdulbaset Khalifa and Deandre Vollenhoven as he searched for a winner with South African Vollenhoven making a big impression.

But the game took a turn for the worst in the closing stages when Canterbury United broke down the left and whipped in a cross that beat the Navy Blues defence and allowed Richards to sweep home the winner.

The defeat means Auckland City FC have now lost more games in the league stage of the competition this season than they have in the previous two combined.

They now face a difficult final match of 2020 when Wellington Phoenix come to Kiwitea Street on Saturday 19 December looking to open up a gap between themselves and fifth the Navy Blues.

Figueira was frustrated by the result and called for his team to show their character as they weighed up their final game of the calendar year.

"It's obviously a really really disappointing day and it hurts even more when its a last minute goal on the break to concede.

"In terms of the performance, in spite of the heat and conditions, I thought our players were fantastic and controlled the game start to finish.

"In the first half we were getting used to how they were pressing us and sitting in a medium and deep block and we made a few little adjustments at halftime which showed.

"We played the majority of the game in their half and progressed the ball on the outside and the inside. We arrived in their box a number of times and carved out three real, good, clear-cut chances and if you don't take them you're always at the risk of being picked off at the end.

"Things at the moment aren't quite falling for us. The true test of one's character is when things aren't going your way how you react and stay true to the way that you do things.

"We'll be back at it tomorrow after reviewing the game. All eyes and minds will be focused on the Wellington Phoenix game to make sure we finish this side of the year with a win."

Next week's game is at Kiwitea Street and is set to kick off at 2pm NZDT.

Ends

Match Result
ISPS Handa Men's Premiership
Sunday 13 December 2020
Canterbury United 1 (Jacob RICHARDS 89')
Auckland City FC 0
HT: 0-0.

AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH (12. Abdulbaset KHALIFA 90+1'), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Albert RIERA (13. Deandre VOLLENHOVEN 81'), 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Yousif AL-KALISY, 19. Logan ROGERSON, 22. Mohamed AWAD, 23. Alfie ROGERS.

SUBS NOT USED: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 17. Andrew BLAKE.

COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.

OTHER RESULTS

Saturday 12 December 2020
Waitakere United 1-1 Hamilton Wanderers
Wellington Phoenix 3-0 Hawke's Bay United

Sunday 13 December 2020
Eastern Suburbs AFC 1-1 Team Wellington

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