Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 28 May 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A Liam Gillion thunderbolt strike gave Auckland City FC U-23s a dramatic last gasp Dominion Road Derby win over Auckland United FC U-23s at the Croatian Cultural Society today.
Trailing to a well-taken Ishveer Singh Dhillon first half goal, City struggled to make their dominance of the ball pay in the final third in an at times frustrating encounter.
The momentum of the match swung end-to-end providing plenty of entertainment and when Dhillon struck there was a sense it could be a re-run of recent setbacks against Birkenhead United U-23 or Manukau United U-23 in the offing.
But those fears were allayed when Matt Ellis drilled home a brilliant equaliser seven minutes after the restart.
Goalkeeper Finn Dockerty was called into action on numerous occasions including a brilliant save from an Auckland United FC U-23 header that looked destined for the back of the net.
VIDEO - Matt Ellis sweeps home the equaliser
That resilience set the stage for Gillion to crack home a sensational winner two minutes into additional time that gave goalkeeper Hayden Stubbings no chance.
It is the second time in recent weeks where Gillion has stood out, the previous a hat-trick in a 7-0 win over Western Springs and today's late, late, but very welcome, winner.
VIDEO - Liam Gillion's last gasp winner
Coach Kris Bright had this to say about his team's leave-it-late performance.
"Our game had similar traits to today's first team game the only difference was we couldn't seem to break down the low block United went with.
"They were very well organised and difficult to break down and they caught us on the break to go 1-0 up at the break.
"I thought the second half was completely different - we changed things tactically and played with more purpose.
VIDEO - Finn Dockerty saves
"The lads started to work together better and overall I felt we deserved the win.
"Liam Gillion and Matt Ellis scored fantastic goals and worked hard all afternoon.
"Liam's goal was one of the best I've seen at U-23 level.
"It was an exciting and high quality game and Auckland United FC are one of the best teams we've faced all season," he said.
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division
Saturday 28 May 2022
Auckland City FC 2 (Matt ELLIS 54', Liam GILLION 90'+2')
Auckland United FC 1 (Ishveer SINGH-DHILLON 35')
AC: 1. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 2. Jesse GAGE (c), 5. Marcel STODDARD, 7. Liam QUINN (17. Stipe UKICH 45'), 8. Anthony DUNCAN (3. Riley SEXTON 78'), 9. Will ENG (11. Max SUTTON 78'), 10. Matt ELLIS, 15. Louie DANIELSON, 16. Rayan TAYEB, 20. Liam GILLION, 23. Adam BELL.
SUBS NOT USED: 4. Luka VLASIC.
COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
ASSISTANT COACH: Paul DRAKE.
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC