Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 24 July 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Legion Rogerson was the hero as Auckland City FC U-23 edged Bay Olympic U-23 by a single goal in an edgy Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division clash at Croatian Cultural Society yesterday.
The Navy Blues age-group side have had a stop-start couple of weeks with training venues closed due to the wet winter weather conditions and that showed as Bay Olympic started the game sharper than their hosts.
The visitors were energetic, creative and direct but they were made to pay for their lack of an early breakthrough when Will Eng and Rogerson hit Bay Olympic on a swift counter attack.
Rogerson used his pace and long stride to evade Bay Olympic's defence before he carefully finished beyond a stranded Oliver Pocock after just 13 minutes.
To their credit, Bay Olympic kept the heat on City throughout the match and were it not for the heroics of Finn Dockerty, especially late in the second half, the game could easily have ended in a draw.
VIDEO - Legion Rogerson scores U-23 winner
Coach Kris Bright admitted his team weren't up to pace but was pleased with the win.
"Ultimately it was good to get a good result but we looked like we were asleep most of the game.
"Everyone was waiting for someone else to do something and it was a very disjointed game.
"Our team talk was very short for once - well done, we got the three points but it doesn't happen that way all the time.
"The players understand the demands of being an Auckland City FC player are high.
"Our first team won the Northern League title but it just doesn't happen without reason, they worked very hard for it.
"We need to work very hard as well and our players need to recognise that.
"The whole aim of the U-23 set-up is to try to send players to the first team environment and that they don't come back to us.
"With Adam Bell and Rayan Tabet have done well in that regard which is pleasing.
"The U-23 squad is very happy for Adam - he dropped back down today and did a very good job for us, as did Ilham Hameedi," Bright said.
VIDEO - Finn Dockerty makes a crucial save
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division - View League Table Here.
The race for the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division remains tight.
Current league leaders Birkenhead United thrashed Eastern Suburbs 6-0 with the goals shared around six different scorers with Finn McKenlay, Andrew Pasang, Curtis Hughes, Yi Lin Lin, James Mitchell and Bronson Sammut all on target.
United have 39 points from 17 games while City have the same but with a game in hand.
United also have a superior goal difference of plus 37 to City's plus 30, which makes last week's default by winless North Shore to City unhelpful.
In other games, Takapuna battered North Shore United 5-0 with Thomas Miller scoring twice and one each for Mark Richards, Tyler Paterson and Harry Bushell, while Auckland United slipped to a 3-2 loss to Hamilton Wanderers.
VIDEO - Chase Hodges hits the crossbar for Bay Olympic
Aston Hurd helped himself to a brace with Ben Stephenson also on target for Wanderers. Auckland United's goals came from Hiroyoshi Kamata.
Melville United were too powerful for Waiheke United with the Gower Park side sticking eight past the islanders - a hat-trick by Dylan Williams, a brace for Thomas Cave combined with goals for Ethan Richards, Jose Wenceslao and Dakota Brady capped off a happy day for the hosts.
Claudio Amad scored Waiheke United's consolation goal in the rout.
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division
Saturday 23 July 2022
Auckland City FC U-23 1 (Legion ROGERSON 13')
Bay Olympic U-23 0
AC: 1. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 2. Jesse GAGE, 4. Takuya IWATA, 5. Marcel STODDARD, 7. Legion ROGERSON< 9. Will ENG, 11. Max SUTTON (3. Riley SEXTON 52'), 13. Oscar DUFFY (10. Finn McCRACKEN 52'), 15. Rayan TAYEB (8. Anthony DUNCAN 65'), 21. Ilham HAMEEDI, 22. Adam BELL.
SUBS NOT USED: 15. Jeremy FOO, 20. Ethan FOO.
COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
ASSISTANT: Paul DRAKE.
Eastern Suburbs 0-6 Birkenhead United
Takapuna 5-0 North Shore United
Melville United 8-1 Waiheke United
Hamilton Wanderers 3-2 Auckland United
Western Springs v Manukau United - not result filled on Comet
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC