Words: ACFC Media
Friday 3 June 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC coach Albert Riera says he won't tolerate complacency ahead of tomorrow's top of the table clash with Melville United at Gower Park.
The Navy Blues defeated Melville United 2-1 in the opening game of the season at the Croatian Cultural Society on March 26 thanks to two first half goals by Angus Kilkolly and Dylan Manickum.
United's new signing - Oliver Colloty - gave Sam Wilkinson's team a leveller midway through that first 45 minutes and set up a tense match in which the visitors had every right to feel they deserved at least a point on the day.
MATCH PREVIEW - Melville game "toughest of season"#NavyBlues coach Albert Riera says he won't accept complacency ahead of tomorrow's top of the table clash with @MelvilleUnited at Gower Park.— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) June 3, 2022
Riera spent the week emphasising how crucial this fixture is to his team's season.
"We're fully aware of the threats Melville represent. They have a very young squad but they're very well coached.
"I think Sam is doing a fantastic job, he has recruited a very good squad and its very well organised.
"They're second in the league for a reason and they score a lot of goals in transition and its one of the the things we always work on dealing with.
"The way we play means we can always be exposed if we're not well organised behind the ball.
"It'll be one of the toughest games of the season, possibly the hardest one, and that's how I've approached it with our players.
"We're halfway through the season and the time has flown but the reality is we still have a lot of games in front of us.
"We haven't achieved anything yet this season and that's the message I've sent across the squad.
"The players know I'm never happy with complacency. We have a lot of competition for spots and if anyone slips then someone else is ready to step in," Riera said.
Since Melville United's opening day defeat, and their subsequent loss to Bay Olympic, Melville United have won six games on the bounce and sit in second place on the ladder, neck and neck with Birkenhead United.
The incentive for the home side to register a first ever win over Auckland City FC couldn't be more intense with Birkenhead United due to face Auckland United FC, a match that pits third against fourth and with a hungry chasing pack led by Bay Olympic eager to take advantage of any missteps on the weekend.
If City can maintain its current momentum and pick up a win then it may provide coach Riera with the room to rotate his squad bearing in mind they have a Chatham Cup Round 2 clash with NRFL Division 1 side Albany United set for Monday 6 June 2022 at Kiwitea Street.
Avoiding defeat will also see Riera have the second most successful ever start to a coaching career with City over the past 18 years with 12 games.
He is currently level with Colin Tuaa on 11, with only Paul Marshall (12) and Jose Figuiera (14) ahead of him.
The match kicks off at 3.00pm NZDT at Gower Park.
While the stakes are high for the seniors the same could be said for the U-23 match scheduled for 12.30pm NZDT at Gower Park. The Navy Blues lead the title chase by two points with Birkenhead United U-23s and Melville United U-23s just two points behind.
The lead at the top of the table has changed hands several times in the past few weeks but a win for Kris Bright's team in the Waikato would be damaging for Melville United U-23's hopes of taking the title pursuit further.
Birkenhead United U-23s play Auckland United FC U-23s - unlucky to lose to the Navy Blues last week - so expect there to be thrills and spills in this clash as well.
Saturday 4 June 2022
Melville United v Auckland City FC
Gower Park, Hamilton
Kick-off: 3.00pm NZDT
AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Gerard GARRIGA, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DE VRIES, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE, 18. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 19. Liam GILLION, 20. Emiliano TADE, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
MANAGER: Keith COTON.
Eastern Suburbs AFC v Takapuna AFC
Western Springs v Hamilton Wanderers
Manukau United v Waiheke United
Birkenhead United v Auckland United FC
Bay Olympic v North Shore United
15.05.21 v Melville United (A) won 3-0 (Emiliano TADE, Angus KILKOLLY, Dylan MANICKUM)
26.03.22 v Melville United (H) won 2-1 (Angus KILKOLLY, Dylan MANICKUM | Oliver COLLOTY)
ABOUT MELVILLE UNITED
Melville United AFC is a Hamilton-based football club formed by the 1996 amalgamation of Melville AFC (1972) and Waikato United (1988).
Through the roots of both parent clubs, Melville United can connect to most of the major club football achievements in Hamilton over the past 60 years.
Melville were formed in 1972, initially as Melville District Schoolboys AFC.
Founders Bob Owens and Tony Tatler sought to combine the strengths of all the schools in the Melville area and originally operated from a home base at Te Anau Park.
In 1981 the shift was made to the current headquarters at Gower Park, with clubrooms initially based on private land at the south-western corner of the park on Kahikatea Drive. Since then the clubrooms have been relocated and are now adjacent to the council amenities block at the park.
Over the last 30 years significant investment has been made in facility improvements at Gower Park. This has included major clubrooms refurbishment, carpark development, erection of floodlighting and a public address system, construction of a crowd barrier fence around the No 1 pitch, seating and perimeter fencing.
BIGGEST WIN (LEAGUE)
v. Metro FC won 12-0 - 2017
BIGGEST DEFEAT (LEAGUE)
v. Taupo lost 0-9 - 1987
BIGGEST WIN (CUP)
v. Otorohanga Wanderers won 10-0 - 1999
BIGGEST DEFEAT (CUP)
v. Central United FC lost 3-12 - 1997
Northern Premier League 1995, 2009
Northern League Division 1 1993, 2018
Northern League Division 3 1991
Chatham Cup runners-up 2003, 2019
Northern Premier League Cup runners-up 1994
26.03.22 v Auckland City FC (A) lost 1-2
02.04.22 v Bay Olympic (H) lost 2-3
09.04.22 v Takapuna (A) won 1-0
15.04.22 v Birkenhead United (A) won 1-0
18.04.22 v Manukau United (H) lost 0-1
23.04.22 v Waiheke United (A) won 6-1
30.04.22 v Western Springs (H) won 3-1
07.05.22 v Auckland United (H) won 2-0
14.05.22 v Eastern Suburbs (H) won 1-0
21.05.22 v North Shore United (A) won 7-1
28.05.22 v Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 4-1
06.06.22 v Franklin United (A) - Chatham Cup Round 2
Sunday 1 October 2023, 3pm, Kiwitea Street, Auckland