Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 15 May 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Liam Gillion was the hat-trick hero for a resurgent Auckland City FC U-23s as they romped home 7-0 over Western Springs at Te Atatu today.
Gillion, who has made eight appearances for the City first team this season, was a stand out performer for City as they overwhelmed a Springs side who made a bright start to the game.
But that proved a false indicator as to how this match would unfold with Gillion opening the scoring half through the first half.
Riley Sexton added his name to the score sheet three minutes later.
Another player with first team experience, Matt Ellis, heaped further misery on Springs with City's third just before halftime with the points out of reach of the visitors.
The second half belonged to City with Adam Bell snatching the fourth.
Will Eng rediscovered his form when he scored City's sixth, his goal bookended by Gillion's second and third.
Coach Paul Drake was pleased to have positive things to say at the end of a good performance.
"It's a big step forward after the past two games.
"We have to put it in perspective - it was a very young Springs team, but our players who have first team experience and our players in the under 20 age bracket stepped up today.
"Liam was outstanding today and scored three very good goals but in terms of performance Adam Bell was excellent.
"Adam scored a great goal from right back. To go through several would-be tackles then round the goalkeeper and score shows a lot of quality.
"He did a very good job for us going into midfield and controlling the game.
"It was an aspect of today's match I wasn't completely happy with but he did well in that role.
"We had a couple of shakey moments today so it was important for the team to keep a clean sheet after the last couple of games where we've conceded seven.
"We are always going to be dangerous going forward but it was important we got back the solidity in defence," Drake said.
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division
Saturday 14 May 2022
Auckland City FC U-23 7 (Liam GILLION 25', 52', 71', Will ENG 62', Riley SEXTON 28', Matt ELLIS 39', Adam BELL 48')
Western Springs U-23 0
AC: 1. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 2. Jesse GAGE, 3. Riley SEXTON (4. Luka VLASIC 56'), 5. Marcel STODDARD, 7. Liam QUINN (8. Anthony DUNCAN 64'), 9. Will ENG, 10. Matt ELLIS, 16. Rayan TAYEB (11. Max SUTTON 64'), 19. Liam GILLION, 21. Ilham HAMEEDI, 23. Adam BELL.
SUBS NOT USED: 12. Colin HOLTHUIS-SPANN, 15. Louie DANIELSON.
COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
ASSISTANT: Paul DRAKE.
v Al Ahly, Tangier, Feb 1 2023, KO: 8pm local