Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 24 July 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC prevail in an entertaining come-from-behind 2-1 win over Bay Olympic in the latest round of Northern League action played at Kiwitea Street yesterday.
With the Northern League title already wrapped up a week ago, you'd be forgiven if you thought success had left Albert Riera's Auckland City FC side feeling somewhat complacent headed into this game.
But that was not the case in this latest encounter between the two clubs with both going at each other with ferocious intensity from first whistle to last.
The previous two encounters have each been very different - the first, a 4-0 win for City, put Bay Olympic down emphatically - but the second, another come-from-behind 2-1 win for City, this time in the Chatham Cup, has perhaps set the tone for this and all future games between the clubs.
Bay Olympic sat deep in two banks of four for the most part but left two up front looking to hit and hurt Auckland City FC on the counter attack.
It worked well for coach Liam Mulrooney and his assistant James Pritchett with Roussin N'Koy a constant threat.
City have only ever trailed an opponent four times this season and twice it has been to Bay Olympic - in the Chatham Cup it came from a Jack Duncan goal and yesterday it was delivered by the familiar face of Darren White, when he blasted an unstoppable penalty kick past Conor Tracey on 36 minutes.
City's inability to break down Bay Olympic's defensive block in the first half necessitated changes by Riera in the form of Emiliano Tade and Gerard Garriga.
VIDEO - Emiliano Tade equalises
The move paid almost instant dividends when Tade danced around a tiring Bay Olympic defence to slot past goalkeeper Hideyasu Sasaki midway through the second half.
The visitors kept at it and created a raft of chances of their own on the break including one N'Koy chance that was somehow prevented by an excellent last gasp challenge by Sam Brotherton.
Sasaki, who pulled off two great saves, one in each half, was beaten for a second time when skipper Cam Howieson bent in a superb corner that hit the inside panel of the net at the far post to give City the lead for the first time in the game.
VIDEO - Cam Howieson turns the game around
At 2-1 up the game was far from safe for City as Bay Olympic poured forward in search of an equaliser but that left gaps to exploit which Dylan Manickum almost took advantage of with two minutes to go when he blasted a ferocious shot off the underside of Sasaki's crossbar.
The full time whistle came as a relief for City supporters as the club's unbeaten record in the Northern League was extended to 20 games, 23 games in all competitions including the Chatham Cup.
VIDEO - Manickum slams the crossbar
Riera admitted it had been a tough afternoon for his side.
"It was a very tough game and we knew it would be. I had a feeling Bay Olympic would drop a little deep and its always very hard to penetrate.
"In the first half we didn't penetrate but in the second half we were much better and were more aggressive with the ball.
"Today was a good test for what is coming up for us and we need to get better and better.
"Sometimes its good to get a good result without playing the best game and I think we've done that well at different times this season.
"There are a lot of things we can improve," he said.
Auckland City FC's next match is a Chatham Cup quarter-final away to Dunedin City Royals on Saturday 30 July 2022 at Logan Park.
The match will be live streamed through the Auckland City FC YouTube page with kick-off scheduled for 1.00pm NZDT.
Saturday 23 July 2022
Auckland City FC 2 (Emiliano TADE 65', Cam HOWIESON 82')
Bay Olympic 1 (Darren WHITE 36'-pen)
AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH (8. Gerard GARRIGA 58'), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 6. Matt ELLIS (20. Emiliano TADE 58'), 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 11. Ryan DE VRIES, 12. Sam BROTHERTON (5. Angel BERLANGA 74'), 13. Nathan LOBO, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE (10. Dylan MANICKUM 74'), 17. Reid DRAKE.
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cam BROWN (GK).
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
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