Words: ACFC Media
Monday 5 April 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Addison Stewart bags a hat-trick as Auckland City FC U-23 run away with an 8-1 away win at Northern Rovers.
A dour but effective performance gave Kris Bright's team a satisfactory 3-1 win over Manukau United last Friday but the difference between that win and today's was vast.
Finn McCracken opened the scoring after just five minutes and Addison Stewart nearly doubled the advantage when he saw a shot rebound off the inside of Regan Diver's right-hand upright moments later.
Rovers capitalised when Ilia Zigheimat levelled 15 minutes later only for Stewart to make up for the earlier close shave with the first of a stunning hat-trick.
Skipper Brooklyn Heath extended City's lead just before the break to make it 3-1 at halftime.
City had been impressive from start to finish but no-one could've predicted the goal glut that spilled over in the last 15 minutes. Stewart saw Diver save a penalty before he then lashed home a splendid volley before Kristoff Muller scored to make it 5-1.
Three goals arrived in the final three minutes with Muller and Sam Clegg adding to the scoreline while there was time for the impressive Stewart to complete a personal treble in an 8-1 rout.
Bright said there was a strong contrast between the wins over Manukau United and today's over Rovers.
"It was a more pleasing performance than Friday. We did ok on Friday but the team today showed how individual and team performance can all come together.
"I don't think Northern Rovers were that bad a team, I think if we played to this standard most weeks against other opposition then the scoreline would resemble today's.
"What is also pleasing is that there were only two players on the pitch at the end of the 90 minutes who aren't still at school. We've got a squad of mainly 16 and 17-year-old kids playing in an U-23 league.
"The performances of Addison Stewart and Ilham Hameedi were good. Both of them are training with the first team and I can't wait to speak with Jose and let him know how well they've done today.
"Our mentality was different today. Friday we didn't play at an amazing level and still won but today we showed we can work hard and every single player did that and got a performance and result from them," he said.
Lotto NRFL Premier U-23
Monday 5 April, 2021
Northern Rovers 1 (Ilia ZIGHEIMAT 23')
Auckland City FC 8 (Finn McCRACKEN 5', Brooklyn HEATH 44', Addison STEWART 35', 75', 90+1', Kristoff MULLER 73', 88',Sam CLEGG 89')
AC: 1. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 4. Louie DANIELSON (19. Conan REDDY 65'), 5. Anthony DUNCAN (11. Jeremiah RUAWHARE 56'), 6. Ilham HAMEEDI, 7. Brooklyn HEATH (c), 8. Alex SMITH (17. Samuel CLEGG 56'), 9. Finn McCRACKEN, 10. Kristoff MULLER, 14. Dempsey THOMAS, 15. Marcel STODDARD, 21. Addison STEWART.
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Hayden COOPER (GK).
COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
Sat 17 April 2021, West Coast Rangers, KO: 3pm, Fred Taylor Park