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U-23s make heavy work of win

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 22 May 2021

Picture: Phototek

KOHIMARAMA, New Zealand - Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division title race tightens as Auckland City FC U-23 edge Eastern Suburbs U-23 at Madills Park in Kohimarama.

The Navy Blues raced into a 2-0 lead after Connor Turton put the ball into his own net after just 9 minutes and Finn McCracken added more damage shortly after.

That advantage crumbled in quick time after Arzan Toddywalla and Kees Tweed scored for the home side to leave the game locked in at 2-2 before the half hour mark.

The drama didn't end there with Dre Vollenhoven restoring Auckland City FC U-23s lead from the penalty mark just before half time.

The Navy Blues U-23s made heavy work of their victory and coach Kris Bright saw more room for improvement.

"It was only a difficult game because we made it difficult. The teams we're playing are getting better but that should've been a win by a far bigger margin.

"We kept the ball very well but when we got to the final third there was an expectation we would just score. That proved not to be the case.

"Having first team players come into the team helped a lot and they all put in a good shift. But Kristoff Muller who we've been asking to change his work rate was fantastic today which was very good.

"The work rate was excellent but the work in the top third was poor.

"Our game management needs to improve. Sometimes we knock it long or keep it in areas where we shouldn't. We got cocky in front of goal today. We were 3-2 up and believed the game was done. We need to be more ruthless up front and we need to be more ruthless in defence.

Auckland City FC U-23s face Auckland United FC U-23 in their first ever Auckland Derby. United's U-23s sit sixth in the 12 team league.

Elsewhere, Birkenhead United U-23 kept the pressure up on the Navy Blues with a handy 4-2 away win at Bay Olympic U-23. Birkenhead and Auckland City FC U-23s are tied on 24 points each but Bright's team have a game in hand.

Auckland City FC U-23 versus Auckland United FC U-23 kicks-off at 12.30pm NZDT at the Croatian Cultural Society on Saturday 29 May 2021.

Ends

Match Result
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division
Saturday 22 May 2021
Eastern Suburbs AFC 2 (Arzan TODYWALLA 16', Kees TWEED 26')
Auckland City FC 3 (Connor TURTON OG 9', Finn McCRACKEN 13', Dre VOLLENHOVEN 42'-pen)
HT: 2-3

AC: 1. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 4. Louie DANIELSON, 5. Mario ILICH, 6. Wilson FISHER, 7. Brooklyn HEATH, 9. Finn McCRACKEN (13. Fardeen MOHAMMED 57'), 10. Kristoff MULLER, 14. Dre VOLLENHOVEN (11. Jeremiah RUAWHARE 78'), 15. Yousif AL-KALISY (12. Rhys DAVIES 70'), 16. Riley SEXTON (8. Alex SMITH 50'), 21. Addison STEWART.

SUBS NOT USED: 24. Anthony MOODIE (GK).

COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
ASSISTANT: Paul DRAKE.

OTHER RESULTS

Saturday 22 May 2021

Bay Olympic U-23 2-4 Birkenhead United U-23
Manukau United U-23 5-1 North Shore United U-23
Auckland United U-23 2-0 Melville United U-23
Northern Rovers U-23 0-6 Western Springs U-23
Eastern Suburbs U-23 2-3 Auckland City FC U-23
Hamilton Wanderers U-23 2-1 West Coast Rangers U-23

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