Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 29 June 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC extended their lead at the top of the Northern League to 12 points after a hard fought 2-1 Gridlock Derby win over Eastern Suburbs at Te Atatu tonight.
Two early goals by skipper Cam Howieson and returned from suspension striker Angus Kilkolly were enough to establish a comfortable advantage inside the first 15 minutes.
Suburbs goalkeeper Joe Knowles had an inspired match and denied City a third when he combined with his defence to clear another Kilkolly effort off the line.
The visitors enjoyed a chance of their own in the first half only for defender Adam Mitchell - who had an inspired evening - to also clear off the line with goalkeeper Cam Brown beaten.
City clearly dominated the first half but when the second started Suburbs came into their own.
Willing to take more risks and with brisk energy, Suburbs pushed forward but in doing so opened themselves up to City on the counter attack.
It was from these counter attacks that Suburbs suffered the most with Knowles and his defence working hard to stymy efforts by Liam Gillion and Emiliano Tade.
The game turned in the final moments when substitute Ralph Rutherford delivered an inch perfect cross for defender Aaryan Raj to head past Brown and half the deficit and set up an exciting end on a wet night out west.
Amid the thrills was also a red card shown by referee Nick Waldron to Suburbs coach Hoani Edwards while there was a shout for a penalty for the visitors that went unrewarded deep into additional time.
Coach Albert Riera was satisfied with the victory that increases confidence City will successfully retains its Northern League title from last season albeit with a game in hand for Birkenhead United and Melville United.
Creeping up on the radar also is tomorrow's OFC Champions League draw scheduled for Thursday 30 June at 1pm.
"I thought we started the game very well and I was very happy with the first half and I mentioned that in the changing room to the players and we wanted more of the same.
"We knew that Suburbs were going to come out in the second half firing up because they had nothing to lose. Sometimes these games can become tricky because they sent a lot of players forward and take risks and one of those chances they put away.
"At the end it was very hard but we got the points so we move on.
"I thought both our centre backs read the game very good - if we needed to go long, or short, or wide or through and Adam did that very well.
"They both played very well but particularly Adam - he's a very important player in our squad," Riera said.
Auckland City FC's next match is in the Northern League on Saturday 2 July when they travel to Waiheke United.
The match kicks off at 3.00pm at Onetangi Domain.
Wednesday 29 June 2022
Auckland City FC 2 (Cam HOWIESON 7', Angus KILKOLLY 13')
Eastern Suburbs AFC 1 (Aaryan RAJ 77')
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 7. Cam HOWIESON (17. Reid DRAKE 63'), 8. Gerard GARRIGA, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO, 16. Joe LEE (19. Liam GILLION 70'), 20. Emiliano TADE, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS NOT USED: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 4. Christian GRAY, 5. Angel BERLANGA.
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
TECHNICAL: Jarrod WALLACE
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium