Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 15 May 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC stretched it's unbeaten start to life under Albert Riera to nine games after brushing aside Western Springs 4-0 at a rain-soaked Kiwitea Street today.
Last season these two sides shared seven goals in a nail-biting 4-3 win for the Navy Blues, a scenario coach Riera said he was eager to avoid in his pre-match interview.
To that end, Riera made two changes to the team that defeated Manukau United 3-0 last week with Jordan Vale back in for Alfie Rogers and Dylan Manickum replacing Emiliano Tade.
Whether or not that played a role in what transpired in the opening moments is pure conjecture when Angus Kilkolly opened the scoring barely a minute into proceedings.
Springs fell further behind when Reid Drake - fast approaching his 100th game for Auckland City FC - nabbed the second near the half hour mark.
While matters were going well in front of goal, there was a significant setback when skipper Angel Berlanga was replaced early on by Adam Mitchell.
It was a special milestone in a difficult moment for City, with Mitchell earning his 50th appearance for the club making him the 14th All White to achieve the half century.
Mitchell also became the 51st player to reach the 50-game mark leaving behind such luminaries as Matt Williams, John Irving, Chris Bale, Yousif Al Kalisy and Paul Vodanovich.
City took their two goal lead with them into halftime but there was encouragement for Chris Zoricich's team with a healthy share of possession and one or two promising moments with the ball.
But that optimism was dispelled when Joe Lee, making a name for himself as an attacker of some prowess, made it 3-0 after some great work by Kilkolly.
Cam Howieson capitalised on the moment when he added the fourth just three minutes later to make the game safe before the hour mark.
Riera was effusive in his praise for his team.
"I'm very pleased with the performance and thought we started very well.
"I thought in the game with Manukau United we started the game very well but didn't maintain that in the second half.
"Today we started well and we kept that going with the exception of maybe the last ten minutes of the first half but then when you score a lot of goals there is a tendency to do that.
"As for Adam Mitchell, I'm very happy for him and his achievement. Adam is a very important player for us.
"Adam is a leader and he always gives us everything on and off the pitch whether it is training or in games.
"It's important to have characters like Adam in a dressing room and he can be proud of this notable moment in his City career.
"It's important the players get some rest now, they all did themselves proud today - all of them - that's all I can ask of them as coach," he said.
VIDEO - Adam Mitchell on 50 appearances
POST MATCH REACTION | Adam Mitchell on 50 appearances— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) May 14, 2022
Adam Mitchell shares his thoughts on reaching 50 appearances for Auckland City FC following the 4-0 win over Western Springs on Saturday 14 May 2022.
Mitchell also spoke about his 50th game.
"To reach 50 games for a club like Auckland City FC is a proud achievement for me.
"I've been here for a few seasons now and there have been highs and lows along the way.
"Obviously, it's not great to replace Angel (Berlanga) so early in the game because of an injury but overall I thought we played well and earned ourselves a deserved victory," he said.
Auckland City FC is in action next week when they travel to Madills Farm to take on Eastern Suburbs AFC in the first Gridlock Derby of 2022.
Saturday 14 May 2022
Auckland City FC 4 (Angus KILKOLLY 1', Reid DRAKE 28', Joe LEE 47', Cam HOWIESON 50')
Western Springs 0
AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c) (3. Adam MITCHELL 1'), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE.
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 23. Alfie ROGERS.
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
MANAGER: Keith COTON.
OTHER RESULTS - SATURDAY 14 MAY 2022
Auckland United FC 4-2 North Shore United
Auckland City FC 4-0 Western Springs
Melville United 1-0 Eastern Suburbs AFC
Hamilton Wanderers 1-2 Birkenhead United
Waiheke United 0-3 Bay Olympic
Takapuna AFC 2-3 Manukau United
v Al Ahly, Tangier, Feb 1 2023, KO: 8pm local