Words: ACFC Media
Monday 18 April 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC U-23s kept up their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-1 win on the road at North Shore United U-23s in blustery conditions.
City came into the game unbeaten and having beaten North Shore U-23 twice the previous season with 3-1 and 2-0 victories but in teeming rain and blustery wind it would prove to be a difficult afternoon for both sides.
Will Eng opened the scoring after just two minutes when he stabbed home a Rayan Tayeb corner at the far post.
Goalkeeper Finn Dockerty was called into action to make two saves in the early exchanges as Shore sort a way back into the game.
Shore had the City bench a nervous place when they took a shot on goal only for it to deflect then shudder the underside of the crossbar before Dockerty snaffled the loose ball.
The match struggled for quality with the rain and wind playing a key role and it wasn't until Sam Clegg's headed goal that the match felt safe for the visitors.
That scenario was thrown into doubt when an unmarked Francesco Marignoli scored at the back post with 13 minutes to play but any concern was allayed when the Navy Blues netted a third after Shore keeper Ben Wall came up for a last gasp corner only to see City break at pace and wrap things up nicely.
VIDEO - Kristoff Muller scores the third
90’+2’ | 1-3— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) April 18, 2022
Well, how to unpack this - let’s give it a go. Shore get a corner and send the keeper up but it all goes pear shaped & Kristoff Muller puts the ball in the net to make it 3-1. #StrengthInUnity #NSvAC pic.twitter.com/9lr4MW5mr6
Coach Kris Bright was critical of his team's showing.
"It went exactly the same as last year's games with Shore - we forced things which was frustrating after how well we played last week against Hamilton Wanderers.
"It was good for the team to keep winning but at the same time I wouldn't call it a great performances.
"We had some good passages of play but it was a good learning experience to play against a well organised side who sat in.
"We need to improve our ball speed because we simply didn't move the ball quick enough today," Bright said.
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division
Monday 18 April 2022
North Shore United U-23 1 (Francesco MARIGNOLI 77')
Auckland City FC U-23 3 (Will ENG 2', Sam CLEGG 77', Kristoff MULLER 90'+2')
AC: 1. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 2. Jesse GAGE (c), 3. Riley SEXTON (5. Marcel STODDARD 58'), 8. Matt ELLIS (11. Max SUTTON 67'), 9. William ENG (14. Sam CLEGG 58'), 15. Louie DANIELSON (12. Conan REDDY 67'), 16. Rayan TAYEB, 19. Stipe UKICH (6. Miguel MURILLO 75'), 21. Ilham HAMEEDI, 22. Krstoff MULLER< 23. Adam BELL.
COACH: Kris BRIGHT
ASSISTANT: Paul DRAKE
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC