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Navy Blues refocus for Springs

Words: ACFC Media

Monday 16 August 2021

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC are already eyeing up the National League Championship as the Northern League champions take on Western Springs at Seddon Field tomorrow night.

The Navy Blues won their maiden league title on Saturday and have four games left against Western Springs, Melville United, Eastern Suburbs AFC and Auckland United FC, and with Springs up first on astroturf and under floodlights, its a tough start to the end of the winter league.

Fresh in the mind is City's up-and-down 4-3 loss to Birkenhead United, a result Andrew Blake confirmed left a strange mood in the Navy Blues camp.

"We came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders because we had the incentive of securing the league title but Birkenhead United did exactly the same.

"Both teams played aggressively but I felt United wanted a bit of payback for the Chatham Cup exit and this game felt like a cup final for them anyway.

"The first 20 minutes must've been great for any neutral watching, the goals were flying in and both teams were going at it.

"Birkenhead kept going for the entire 90 minutes whereas I felt we only showed that in patches and they were a lot more comfortable on the ball than we were at times.

"It was wasn't a great feeling to come off the park winning the league title and losing the game and would've been different if we had won or snatched a draw.

"There were definitely mixed emotions but we have to remember that we've won the league on merit and at a venue where the football atmosphere is probably only second to Kiwitea Street in the league.

"We've got to make sure that we finish off the last four games the best we can and ensure we're ready for the start of the National League Championship in October," he said.

Another milestone apart from City's first ever Northern League title that was overlooked during a busy week for the club was Mario Ilich racking up his 50th appearance for the first team when he came into the game as a second half substitute.

The game tomorrow night kicks off at 7.30pm NZDT at Seddon Field.

Ends

Match Details
Northern League
Tuesday 17 August 2021
Western Springs v Auckland City FC
Seddon Field, Auckland
Kick-off: 7.30pm NZDT

AC (selected from): 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Adam THURSTON, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Reid DRAKE, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 14. Jordan VALE, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 19. Ilham HAMEEDI, 23. Alfie ROGERS.

COACH: José FIGUEIRA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
TEAM MANAGER: Keith COTON
S&C COACH: Adria CASALS
ANALYST: Jarrod WALLACE
ANALYST: Dan GORDON

CURRENT FORM
v. West Coast Rangers (A) won 5-1
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 2-1
v. North Shore United (H) won 3-2
v. Birkenhead United (H) won 2-0
v. Melville United (A) lost 3-5
v. Auckland City FC (A) lost 3-4
v. Auckland United FC (H) lost 0-2
v. Bay Olympic (A) lost 2-3
v. Manukau United (H) won 2-1
v. Northern Rovers (A) drew 1-1
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) lost 1-2
v. Bay Olympic (A) lost 3-4 - Chatham Cup
v. West Coast Rangers (H) lost 1-2
v. Eastern Suburbs (A) drew 1-1
v. North Shore United (A) drew 4-4
v. Birkenhead United (A) won 3-2
v. Melville United (H) won 6-2
v. Auckland United FC (A) won 4-1
v. Bay Olympic (H) drew 1-1

PLAYER TO WATCH
Former Auckland City FC and All Whites striker Kayne Vincent has been in top form this season for the Hoops picking up 12 goals in the Northern League. Anorher to keep an eye on is Josh Margetts who follows closely behind with 9 goals.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS
Auckland City FC and Western Springs served up a seven-goal thriller at Kiwitea Street when the two sides met back in April. Emiliano Tade scored twice while there were goals for Angus Kilkolly and Somalia international Mohamed Awad as Springs hit back through Dawson Straffon and Oscar Browne with a brace.

Western Springs AFC and Auckland City FC have played previously in a friendly match prior to the start of the 2014-15 ISPS Handa Premiership campaign. The match was notable for an injury to Joao Moreira who suffered a leg break just before half time in the match played at Seddon Fields under lights. Auckland City FC won the game 3-0.

ABOUT WESTERN SPRINGS AFC

Western Springs AFC has a long history tracing its roots all the way back to 1923. The current club was formed through the amalgamation of Grey Lynn Celtic and Pt Chevalier AFC in 1989. The full “family tree” of clubs leading up to the formation of Western Springs AFC shows a long history of football in the central Auckland area.

THE WESTERN SPRINGS AFC STORY
Western Springs AFC is a relatively new club with its official date of birth given as 1989. The club has enjoyed success at senior level with three Northern League Division Two title wins in 1994, 1998 and 2013. They improved on that with two Northern League Division One title victories in 2014 and 2017. In women's football, the club won the Northern Premier League in 2008 and picked up a National Women's Knockout Cup title in 2007. In 2006, they finished runners-up in the same tournament.

ISPS HANDA CHATHAM CUP
Western Springs AFC's best run in the Chatham Cup came when they reached the fifth round in both 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Springs were ousted 3-2 by Bay Olympic and a season later they fell in a seven goal thriller when Birkenhead United defeated them 4-3.

KIWITEA STREET CONNECTIONS
Coach Chris Zoricich has previously coached Auckland City FC's National Youth League team while Liam Mulrooney, Adam Dickinson, Myer Bevan and Chris Bale are all former Navy Blues players to have turned out for both clubs.



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