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Heath goal inspires U-23 win

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 26 June 2021

Picture: Phototek

MANGERE, Auckland - Auckland City FC U-23s stayed top of the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division after a mature 3-0 away win over Manukau United at Centre Park today.

The last time the two teams met Auckland City FC U-23s had to work hard for a 2-0 win with Kristoff Muller scoring a brace and this game was no different.

Auckland City FC U-23 created a raft of good chances in the opening ten minutes with Alex Smith and Finn McCracken denied by fine goalkeeping from United's Nathan Garrow.

McCracken opened the scoring on 24 minutes to set the tone against a very organised and hard working Manukau United U-23 line-up.

City doubled the lead in spectacular fashion when the impressive Brooklyn Heath lashed home a beautiful long range strike on 39 minutes.

United's best chance of the half came when skipper Giovanni Peredo hooked a close range near post volley over the crossbar on the left corner of Dockerty's six yard box.

There was controversy in the second half when Rahil Chand hit a superb strike from 30 metres only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.

The game was put beyond doubt with 13 minutes to go when substitute goalkeeper Camilo Cabezas was caught outside of his penalty area to allow McCracken to deftly finish into an empty net.

The match was notable for Jesse Gage's first full 90 minutes in three years and the number of players drafted in from the club's U-17 programme. 

Victory keeps Kris Bright's 23s at the top of the Lotto NRFL Premier Division with Birkenhead United and Eastern Suburbs AFC all within three points of the Navy Blues.

Bright was delighted with the performance of all his players.

"That's the proudest I've felt this season by quite some way. We were missing loads of players today and we brought in a lot of new faces from our U-17s and a lot of the boys backed up from a game last night as well.

"The work rate everyone put in today was fantastic.

"Brooklyn's goal was good. Funnily enough we worked on that on Tuesday. Sometimes young players get excited and want to score every single time they get forward.

"Brooklyn showed a lot of patience there and I was very pleased with the way he played today.

"We're very happy with the players we've got at the club but the good thing is that there are always players who want to join Auckland City FC.

"At the U-17 level we're not too fussed about results but the players who came in today did very very well. There were a number of debutants out there today and I was pleased with what they did.

"Next week we've been given a chance to play at Kiwitea Street thanks to the chairman and we're all very grateful he's done that because it gives everyone a chance to feel like they're part of the fabric at this club," he said. 

The next U-23s match is on Saturday 3 July 2021 against Northern Rovers FC at Kiwitea Street.

The game kicks off at 12.30pm NZDT.

Ends

Match Result
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division
Saturday 26 June 2021
Manukau United U-23 0
Auckland City FC U-23 3 (Finn McCRACKEN 24', 76', Brooklyn HEATH 39')
HT: 0-2.

AC: 1. Finn DOCKERTY (GK) (24. Anthony MOODIE (GK) 80'), 2. Jesse GAGE, 4. Louie DANIELSON, 5. Anthony DUNCAN (11. Aaron MOHAMMED 80'), 6. Wilson FISHER, 7. Brooklyn HEATH (14. Kairo JACOBS 70'), 8. Alex SMITH, 9. Finn McCRACKEN, 13. Fardeen MOHAMMED, 15. Marcel STODDARD (12. Karam PILKINTON 70'), 16. Riley SEXTON.

COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
ASSISTANT COACH: Paul DRAKE.

OTHER RESULTS:

SATURDAY 26 JUNE 2021
Hamilton Wanderers U-23 0-2 Birkenhead United U-23
Bay Olympic U-23 Auckland United U-23
North Shore United U-23 4-3 West Coast Rangers U-23
Northern Rovers U-23 4-1 Melville United U-23
Eastern Suburbs AFC U-23 2-2 Western Springs U-23

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