Words: ACFC Media
Friday 2 April 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC start life in Northern League with comfortable 3-1 victory over Manukau United at Kiwitea Street today.
Auckland City FC opened the scoring after Dylan Manickum slipped the ball home at Ernest Wong's near post after just 12 minutes.
United were reeling only a minute later when referee Luke Gardner awarded the Navy Blues penalty only for Mohammed Awad's weak spot kick to be saved by Wong.
The home side didn't have to wait long before doubling the lead with Matt Ellis bundling the ball home from close range with Wong left stranded.
Auckland City FC nearly stretched their lead further when a Manickum shot ricocheted off the inside of Wong's left hand upright and back into his arms.
United's best attack of the half came when former Navy Blues Club World Cup hero Sanni Issa set up another City alumni Maro Bonsu-Maro but his accurate shot lacked power and was easily saved by Conor Tracey.
Awad nearly made up for his penalty gaffe seconds later when he also hit the post from a tight angle.
The match was turned on its head midway through the second half when a wayward backpass was picked off by Issa who finished easily beyond a stranded Conor Tracey.
Manukau United's comeback lasted less than a minute after Drake latched onto a throughpass then backheeled cutely into the path of Awad whose grazed shot trundled into the net.
United showed plenty of appetite throughout but could've conceded near the end when Wong saved at Manickum's feet then needed help from team-mates who blocked efforts by Drake and Kilkolly.
Coach Jose Figueira was pleased with the victory after a short break between seasons.
"I'm delighted to start off with a win its going to be a big win so its important to start off with a win and a strong performance and good to see Reid slot back in really well.
"A big compliment to Aidan Carey in midfield and Matt Ellis who could've had a goal and was involved in another. I would've liked to have had a clean sheet and more goals but that's the standard we set ourselves but overall we're happy.
"We'll see how our players come through but we've players available like Adam Mitchell waiting who didn't play today and a couple of others like Emiliano who are ready to go Monday," he said.
At the Croatian Club, Auckland City FC U-23 won their first ever competitive fixture with a 2-0 win over Manukau United in the Lotto NRFL Premier Division. Two first half goals from Kristoff Muller secured a winning start for Kris Bright's team as they eye up Northern Rovers on Monday at McFetridge Park.
Auckland City FC is back in action when they take on Northern Rovers at McFetridge Park on Monday at 3pm NZDT.
Friday 2 April 2021
Auckland City FC 3 (Dylan MANICKUM 12', Reid DRAKE 18', Mohamed AWAD 72')
Manukau United 1 (Sanni ISSA 70')
Mohammed Awad penalty saved by Ernest Wong (MU) on 13 minutes
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 6. Brian KALTAK, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Reid DRAKE, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 15. Aidan CAREY (4. Mario BILEN 66'), 16. Yousif AL-KALISY, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 21. Matthew ELLIS (9. Angus KILKOLLY 74'), 22. Mohamed AWAD, 23. Alfie ROGERS (c) (14. Jordan VALE 60').
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Auckland United 1 (Kingsley Sinclair 44’)
Bay Olympic 2 (Jono Quinn 29’, Honggyu Han 30’)
West Coast Rangers 0
North Shore United 2 (Tinashe Marowa 9’, Harrison Bolton-Roberts 51’)
Melville United 0
Northern Rovers 1 (Adam Dickinson 33’)
Auckland City FC 3 (Dylan Manickum 12’, Reid Drake 18’, Mohamed Award 72’)
Manukau United 1 (Sanni Issa 70’)
Birkenhead United 0
Hamilton Wanderers 3 (Tommy Semmy 16’, Own Goal 23’, Xavier Pratt 78’)
Western Springs 2 (Sam Margetts 2)
Eastern Suburbs 1 (Stephen Hoyle)
Monday 5 April 2021
Bay Olympic v Eastern Suburbs
Crum Park - kick-off: 3pm NZDT
Manukau United v Auckland United
Centre Park - kick-off: 3pm NZDT
Melville United v Hamilton Wanderers
Gower Park -kick-off: 3pm NZDT
Northern Rovers v Auckland City FC
McFetridge Park - kick-off: 3pm NZDT
West Coast Rangers v Birkenhead United
Fred Taylor Park - kick-off: 3pm NZDT
Western Springs v North Shore United
Seddon Fields - kick-off: 5pm NZDT
Sat 17 April 2021, West Coast Rangers, KO: 3pm, Fred Taylor Park