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Match Preview - Riera wary of fired up Springs

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 13 May 2022

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC are wary of a fired up Western Springs as the two clubs clash in the latest round of Northern League action at Kiwitea Street on Saturday.

The Navy Blues are riding high at the top of the table after seven wins and a draw from coach Albert Riera's first eight games but the former City midfielder was at pains to express how vital it will be to avoid a transitional match with a dangerous opponent.

Riera spoke with www.aucklandcityfc.com about the Western Springs match last night.

"Last season, we faced Western Springs only once in competitive action due to the Covid-19 lockdown with the other played here in Sandringham.

"There were seven goals scored that day in a game that was a thriller for spectators.

"I must admit that our objective today is to not have a repeat of that game where we fell into the trap of being involved in a traditional sort of game.

"We struggle in these types of games and it can be a weakness for us to do so.

"One of our key strengths is keeping the ball and by doing so allows us to avoid transitions which is what we did well in last week's 3-0 win over Manukau United at Walter Massey Park.

"Western Springs have very good players, particularly in forward areas, so we need to be careful of this.

"I know what it is like to play for a Chris Zoricich-coached team - I played under him for Central United FC as a player - and he always has his team very well motivated.

"I expect nothing less than a Western Springs team that will go at us right from the first whistle right to the last.

"The onus is on us to maintain and protect our high standards which is the only way to achieve three very important points," he said.

MATCH PROGRAMME - Auckland City FC v Western Springs

Midfielder Cam Howieson said cleansheets were crucial to maintaining winning form.

"Clean sheets are massive - we've only conceded four or five goals this season and we're hoping to build on that.

"Keeping a clean sheet is important particularly at home where we want to make things as difficult as possible for teams that come to play at Kiwitea Street," he said.

One suprise for Riera this week was the return of Takuya Iwata to the Auckland City FC set-up, albeit on a temporary basis, at least for now.

Iwata left New Zealand over a year ago and has returned to the country to explore his options but with Ivan Vicelich, Adria Casals and Matt Payne all absent due to Covid-19, he has stepped in to help.

Iwata isn't the only former Navy Blues player to step into the breach with Danyon Drake, now at Metro FC, helping Riera in last week's win over Manukau United.

"It's typical of Takuya Iwata to let you know two weeks in advance that he was coming.

"But the timing was good as we have some people with Covid unfortunately.

"He came over to give us a hand and all the lads are very happy he's giving us a hand and I'm very happy to have him next to me," Riera said.

U-23 Preview

The Auckland City FC U-23s take on Western Springs U-23s in the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division on Saturday 14 May 2022 at the Croatian Cultural Society at 12.00pm NZDT.

VIDEO - Central United FC v Waitemata FC

Chatham Cup Preview

The action continues at Kiwitea Street on Sunday 15 May 2022 when Central United FC host Lotto NRFL 1st Division side Waitemata in the 1st Round of the Chatham Cup.

You can read all about the clash of the round in the Central United FC online match programme published this weekend on social media.

Ends

Match Details
Northern League
Saturday 14 May 2022
Auckland City FC v Western Springs
Kiwitea Street, Auckland
Kick-off: 3.00pm NZDT

AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DE VRIES, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE, 20. Emiliano TADE, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cam BROWN (GK). 

COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE

MATCH OFFICIALS
REFEREE: Luke GARDNER
ASSISTANT REFEREE 1:Martin HUANG
ASSISTANT REFEREE 2: Avi NARAYAN

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

FRIENDLY
08.08.14 v. Western Springs AFC (A) won 3-0 (Joao MOREIRA 2, Tim PAYNE)

NORTHERN LEAGUE
24.04.21 v. Western Springs AFC (H) won 4-3 (Emiliano TADE 2, Angus KILKOLLY, Mohamed AWAD | Oscar BROWNE 2, Dawson STRAFFON)

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.

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