Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 12 June 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A late Fardeen Mohammed free-kick saved Auckland City FC U-23 from the jaws of defeat as the Navy Blues snatch a 3-3 draw with Bay Olympic U-23s at Croatian Cultural Society today.
Auckland City FC U-23's struggled to cope with Bay Olympic U-23's perseverance in their 1-1 draw at Olympic Park only six days ago and when they found themselves trailing 0-3 at the break coach Kris Bright must've feared the worst.
He needn't have.
A recalibration of shape and a stern word to recapture the cohesive motivated intensity that sees City sit top of the table proved enough to turn the game on its head.
Defender Riley Sexton took another step forward in his development with two vital goals while the enigmatic Fardeen Mohammed popped up with an exquisite free-kick at the end to seal a 3-3 draw and a valuable point.
Bright could be forgiven if he was frustrated knowing what his team is capable of but he instead took a measured assessment.
"In the first half it was as if we continued on from our last game with Bay Olympic - we played as individuals. But today was one of the biggest examples I've seen of a game of two halves.
"In the second half we played like a proper team. Our work rate was a lot better, we changed shape and we tried to do a few more different things to be more effective in the game.
"The team worked hard and that worked. We felt we definitely should've won the game," he said.
Outstanding for Auckland City FC was Louid Danielson who recovered from illness to perform very well while Rhys Davies had a solid second half.
Davies came on at the break and held down a busy midfield, knocked in some great crosses and passes in an eye-catching shift.
Bright said Davies contribution was another indication that time spent with the first team training environment for his players was clearly paying off.
"Rhys has trained with the first team recently and I'm pleased for him today.
"But we're disappointed not to win at home and drop four points in one week but there were quite a few positives for us.
"If we start next week's game as well as we signed off from today's game then we'll be alright."
Auckland City FC U-23s are next in action away to Manukau United U-23 at Centre Park on Saturday 26 June 2021.
The game kicks off at 12.30pm NZDT.
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division
Saturday 12 June 2021
Auckland City FC 3 (Riley SEXTON 2, Fardeen MOHAMMED)
Bay Olympic 3 (Unknown)
AC: To Be Confirmed.
COACH: Kris BRIGHT
ASSISTANT: Paul DRAKE
SATURDAY 12 JUNE 2021
Birkenhead United U-23 5-0 Northern Rovers FC U-23
Eastern Suburbs AFC U-23 3-1 Auckland United FC U-23
Manukau United U-23 1-3 Melville United U-23
North Shore United U-23 2-4 Hamilton Wanderers U-23
Western Springs U-23 tbc West Coast Rangers U-23
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC