Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 16 July 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC have won the Northern League title for the second season in a row on a day of milestones for the club following today's comfortable 6-0 win over North Shore United at Kiwitea Street.
City started the day knowing that if they defeated Shore and Birkenhead United dropped points away to Western Springs that the title would be retained but there were milestones to celebrate for the club across the board.
500 Game Milestone
The first of those was the club's 500th game since October 15, 2004, when City travelled to Park Island to take on Napier City in its first ever competitive match, a match City would go on to win 3-1.
Fast forward 17 years, 9 months and 2 days and over forty competition victories later, skipper Emiliano Tade also made his 200th appearance for the club - exactly 40 percent of the club's total number of games.
With 129 goals behind him prior to kick off, Tade would make sure he added to that total against an opponent that has struggled to compete this season.
First Debut for Adam Bell
And while Tade was celebrating becoming just the third Auckland City FC player to reach the double century of appearances for the club, youngster Adam Bell, a self-confessed Auckland City FC supporter for the best part of a decade, came on five minutes into the second half for his first team debut.
The details of the game itself deserve brief appraisal - North Shore United sat deep in a low block in an attempt to frustrate City but were seriously outgunned by a team that Albert Riera picked with rest in mind for Adam Mitchell, Mario Ilich, Cam Howieson and Joseph Lee.
That gave opportunities for Christian Gray, Ilham Hameedi, Matt Ellis and Liam Gillion to gain important minutes and none of them let their side down with a goal each for Hameedi and Ellis and impressive moments for Gray and Gillion.
There was no denying the moment belonged to Tade and he didn't waste any time in front of goal netting a brace in each half to come away with four goals in total.
Emiliano Tade - Four Goal Haul
It was only the fourth time an Auckland City FC player has netted as many goals in a single game with the first to do so Manel Exposito in 2011-12 season when he blasted four in an 11-0 win over Fiji's Rewa at the Pacific Football Festival on 16 September 2011.
The other two players to match the achievement are Ryan De Vries who hit four past Malampa Revivors in an 11-0 win in an OFC Champions League clash on 18 March 2017 and Maro Bonsu-Maro scored four off the bench in City's 15-0 win over Tupapa Maraerenga in the OFC Champions League group stages in Honiara, Solomon Islands on 27 February 2019.
With Birkenhead United held to a 1-1 draw by Western Springs, City's lead over their nearest rivals is now 17 points having played one more game than United, which means that even if Paul Hobson's team when their five remaining games they'll only come within two points of the Navy Blues.
League Titles - 10 in a row
Notably, today's confirmation of a second Northern League title in a row means that the club has also registered its tenth consecutive league title in a row.
Auckland City FC won eight consecutive New Zealand Football Championship league titles between the 2013-14 season and the final edition of the competition in 2020-21 season.
Throw in two Northern League titles and that completes Auckland City FC's own unique sequence of ten-in-a-row.
Riera's team has also equalled the club's best ever league title performance set by Ramon Tribulietx's 2018-19 team of 17 wins and a draw from 18 games.
Undefeated League Seasons - Record Looms
The current squad can go on to better that record as they have four extra games left to play and, possibly, go the entire Northern League campaign undefeated.
Auckland City FC has only achieved an undefeated league campaign three times before - the aforementioned 2018-19 season - and in 2011-12 when they finished first with 11 wins and three draws from 14 games, and in 2015-16 when they finished with 12 wins and two draws, also from 14 games.
Both campaigns were directed by then head coach Tribulietx.
Auckland City FC's final four Northern League games of the year are with Manukau United (Tuesday 19 July), Bay Olympic (Saturday 23 July), Western Springs (Monday 22 August) and Auckland United (Saturday 3 September).
Woe for visitors
Depressingly for the visitors they take one step closer to confirming their relegation to Lotto NRFL Division 1 with both Eastern Suburbs and Takapuna collecting much needed points.
Auckland City FC's next match is at their second home, the Croatian Cultural Society, next Tuesday at 7pm NZDT, when they take on Manukau United for the third time this season, this time in the Northern League.
The Statistics of the Day
Auckland City FC retain the Northern League title for the second season in a row
Auckland City FC wins its tenth league title in a row
Emiliano Tade becomes the third player in Auckland City FC history to reach 200 appearances
Emiliano Tade becomes the fourth player in Auckland City FC history to score four goals in a game
Adam Bell made his first senior appearance for Auckland City FC
Auckland City FC equalled its best ever run in any league competition matching the team of 2018-19 that won 17 and drew 1 in their 18 league games under Ramon Tribulietx
Saturday 16 July 2022
Auckland City FC 6 (Matt ELLIS 14', Emiliano TADE 17', 36', 58', 73', Ilham HAMEEDI 90'+1')
North Shore United 0
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 4. Christian GRAY, 6. Matt ELLIS, 8. Gerard GARRIGA, 11. Ryan DE VRIES (17. Reid DRAKE 59'), 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO (22. Adam BELL 50'), 19. Liam GILLION, 20. Emiliano TADE (c), 21. Ilham HAMEEDI, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS NOT USED: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 3. Mario ILICH. 10. Dylan MANICKUM.
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
TRAINER: Alejo LEGUIZAMON
TECHNICAL: Jarrod WALLACE
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
Auckland United 3-3 Takapuna
Melville United 4-0 Manukau United
Western Springs 1-1 Birknenhead United
Waiheke United 1-2 Hamilton Wanderers
Bay Olympic 0-1 Eastern Suburbs
Tu 12 Dec 2023, Al Ittihad, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, KO: 9.00pm local