Navy Blues rally to seal 4-1 win

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 19 December 2020

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC seal come-from-behind 4-1 win over the Wellington Phoenix to end 2020 on high note.

The Navy Blues inconsistent form meant there was a lot riding on this game but a dour start made it a difficult afternoon for Jose Figueira's team.

Auckland City FC dominated possession but finding a cutting edge proved as difficult as at anytime in the recent past and the frustration for the home side was due to combination of superb goalkeeping and wastefulness in front of goal.

In one such moment, Cam Howieson launched a beautiful pass in behind the Wellington Phoenix defence for Logan Rogerson who slid in a slick near post ball that evaded Mohamed Awad when it looked easier to score.

Alex Paulsen also pulled off some outstanding saves in a busy first half with the Phoenix creating half chances on the counter attack after the Navy Blues turned over possession in midfield.

Paulsen's best save came when Jordan Vale whipped in a near post cross for Awad who caught a clean connection only for the WeeNix stopper to turn the ball wide in spectacular fashion.

Cam Brown was only truly tested once in the first half but it was warning enough that the Phoenix looked capable of catching the home side on the hop if they lost concentration.

That came to fruition when the Wee Nix tore the Navy Blues apart to release Riley Bidois who completed the easiest of finishes to hand Paul Temple's team a deserved lead.

Substitute Oskar Van Hattum nearly doubled the advantage when he forced Brown into a brilliant save early in the second half. Van Hattum was at it again five minutes later when his slaloming run saw the youngster drag his shot narrowly wide.

The signs were ominous for Auckland City FC but an improved tempo, intensity and desire saw the momentum of the game shift.

Their perserverance finally paid off when Awad clipped an inviting ball into the six yard box for Dylan Manickum to hook home from close range on the hour mark.

Manickum eased Navy Blues tension when he broke clear of the WeeNix defence to slot past Paulsen midway through the second half.

Van Hattum was a constant danger and kept Brown busy throughout but their resistance was broken when Auckland City FC youth product Dre Vollenhoven set up Logan Rogerson for the third with four minutes left.

Awad then made up for his earlier misses when he slammed home the fourth from close range deep into additional time.

Auckland City FC's next match is away to Waitakere United on January 10, 2021, at Seddon Field.

The match kicks off at 4pm NZDT.

Ends

Match Result
Saturday 19 December 2020
ISPS Handa Men's Premiership
Auckland City FC 4 (Dylan MANICKUM 58', 67', Logan ROGERSON 86', Mohamed AWAD 90+1')
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Riley BIDOIS 44')
HT: 0-1.

AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH (8. Albert RIERA 77'), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 6. Brian KALTACK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Yousif AL-KALISY (13. Dre VOLLENHOVEN 77'), 19. Logan ROGERSON, 22. Mohamed AWAD, 23. Alfie ROGERS.

SUBS NOT USED: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 12. Abdulbaset KHALIFA, 17. Andrew BLAKE.

COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.

OTHER RESULTS

Saturday 19 December 2020
Team Wellington 3-0 Canterbury United

Sunday 20 December 2020
Hawke's Bay United v Waitakere United
Bluewater Stadium, Napier - kick-off: 1pm NZDT

Hamilton Wanderers v Eastern Suburbs AFC
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton - kick-off: 4pm NZDT

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ISPS Handa Premiership

Sun 24 Jan, 2021, Madills Farm kick-off: 4pm NZDT

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