Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 11 June 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A glorious last gasp strike by Anthony Duncan saved Auckland City FC U-23 from an upset defeat to Takapuna AFC U-23 at a windswept Taharoto Park today.
The game got off to an inauspicious start for City when Legion Rogerson appeared to have a perfectly good goal chalked off for offside inside six minutes.
But Takapuna AFC U-23s, seeing off coach Sean Bokos in his last game with the club, gave a solid account of themselves and took a deserved lead on the half hour when Jeremy Kim evaded the Navy Blues defence to slide home the opener.
City drew level just after the break when Rayan Tayeb floated in a perfectly weighted free-kick for Riley Sexton to nod past Mitchell Bond to make it 1-1.
VIDEO - Riley Sexton equalises for Auckland City FC
51’ | 1-1— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) June 11, 2022
GOAL!!!, Riley Sexton
Great finish off a super freekick by Rayan Tayeb #StrengthInUnity #TKvAC pic.twitter.com/WfIyW8I99H
The visitors were lucky to stay in touch with the blue and gold when Harry Bushell found space wide on the left before rattling Danyon Drake's left hand upright with a well taken shot on the hour mark.
Takapuna AFC U-23s weren't to be denied their second and when the ball fell to skipper Emile McArthur, he made no mistake when he dug out a shot that beat Drake in his top left hand corner with 20 minutes left to play.
The home side continued to chase another goal which allowed City the chance to create opportunities and when one arrived for Duncan he made no mistake with a beautifully timed left foot shot from just outside the box after a Tayeb corner kick was cleared at the near post.
The score line flattered Auckland City FC U-23s but it was a point gratefully accepted after nearest rivals Birkenhead United U-23s picked up a 6-2 win over North Shore United U-23s to cut the Navy Blues lead at the top to just two points.
VIDEO - Anthony Duncan equalises for Auckland City FC U-23
90’+3’ | 2-2— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) June 11, 2022
GOAL!!!, Anthony Duncan
What a screamer! And very timely as City draw level. There was also a yellow card for Enaut Zubikarai (ask the ref) #StrengthInUnity #TKvAC pic.twitter.com/fBROCwXXxr
Auckland United FC U-23 leapfrogged both Melville United U-23 and Manukau United U-23s after a 2-0 win over the latter.
Melville United U-23s suffered a setback of their own in a 2-2 draw with Bay Olympic U-23s.
Rayan Tayeb expressed disappointment with the result and acknowledged there was room for improvement.
"We've got a lot to work on, for sure," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
"We had Matt Ellis in the first half but when those first team players aren't in the team, we need to be much more together as a team.
"We need to be a better collective and show we can work better as a team, not just with better players around us.
"Anthony's goal saved the day for us. We were 2-1 down and Anthony hit a great volley and quite honestly it saved us."
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division
Saturday 11 June 2022
Takapuna AFC 2 (Jeremy KIM 30', Emile McARTHUR 62')
Auckland City FC 2 (Riley SEXTON 51', Anthony DUNCAN 90'+3')
AC: 1. Danyon DRAKE (GK), 2. Jesse GAGE, 3. Riley SEXTON, 5. Marcel STODDARD, 6. Matt ELLIS (17. Woodie WILSON) 7. Legion ROGERSON, 8. Anthony DUNCAN, 9. William ENG, 15. Louie DANIELSON, 10. Rayan TAYEB, 22. Adam BELL.
SUBS NOT USED: 10. Miguel MURILLO, 12. Jeremy FOO.
COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
ASSISTANT COACH: Paul DRAKE.
LOTTO NRFL U-23 PREMIER DIVISION - LEAGUE TABLE (Saturday 11 June 2022)
v Bay Olympic, Sat 1 April 2023, Kiwitea Street, KO: 3pm NZST