Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 31 August 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Western Springs and Auckland City FC produce eight goal thriller as Navy Blues take Northern League unbeaten run to 21 games.
It was a night to remember at Seddon Field as a makeshift Navy Blues side defeated a spirited Western Springs by 5-3 on the astroturf tonight.
Albert Riera made several changes to the team that defeated Wellington Olympic ten days ago with Adam Bell getting his first senior start and Alfie Rogers making his 100th appearance for the club.
VIDEO - Class gesture by Western Springs
CLASS | The #NavyBlues enter the field of play to a guard of honour from the @WspringsFC players. A massive touch of class before tonight's game. #WSvAC #NZNationalLeague #StrengthInUnity pic.twitter.com/Jl6ZdI9m5Q— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) August 31, 2022
Cam Howieson was suspended and Dylan Manickum, Ryan De Vries, Gerard Garriga and Angus Kilkolly were all absent due to various injuries.
The evening got off to a stirring start with Western Springs offering Auckland City FC a Guard of Honour onto the Seddon Field pitch in a gesture that was truly appreciated by everyone connected with the Navy Blues.
Western Springs gesture, similar to the gesture demonstrated by AS Venus of Tahiti following the OFC Champions League final, exhibited the lived values of class, dignity, respect and authenticity and will live in the memory.
As will the game itself which began at lightening quick pace with two goals scored by youngsters Matt Ellis and Joe Lee. Ellis, who has had an impressive season when given opportunities, netted two more before the break to seal a first half hat-trick.
With City 4-0 up and cruising, skipper Emiliano Tade scored the fifth, his 139th goal for the club in his 210th appearance to leave Springs flat on the deck 5-0 down.
Earlier in the season City had a similar situation with an away game played under lights at Birkenhead United - City led 5-0 before experiencing something of a mini collapse that invited the home team back into the mix.
Oscar Browne duly obliged when he scored on 52 minutes. Kayne Vincent, a former Navy Blue, then scored a screamer just after the hour mark to keep belief growing for Springs and when Wade Molony scored again for the home side with ten minutes left to play, it seemed a miracle comeback was well and truly on.
VIDEO - Goals for Ellis
44' | 0-4— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) August 31, 2022
GOALS!!! Two quick goals for the #NavyBlues and it's 4-nil.
At least one to Matt Ellis no idea who got the other one.
This ends the first half at 4-0 #WSvAC #NZNationalLeague #StrengthInUnity #NavyBlues pic.twitter.com/AMQOGHGNNj
Sadly for Springs it was not meant to be and with another win recorded for City, only one game remains in the Northern League programme - Saturday's mouth-watering derby away to Auckland United at Keith Hay Park.
Assistant coach Ivan Vicelich was happy with the performance of Matt Ellis and pleased to see Rogers reach 100 games.
"We're very happy with their win after a bit of time off and a heavy period of games. First half we were very good and created some good chances but its very hard to refocus when you're in front by a big score and that's what happened.
"We gave some players some minutes today that they needed and we scored some very performances which included Matt Ellis who bagged that first half hat trick which was good.
"Matt also provided an assist and did very well and I thought the performance was good. In the second half we got a little bit sloppy but everyday we're working on things.
"Alfie reached his 100th game and it's been a long time coming but I'm happy for him that he's finally got there," he said.
In terms of improvements, Vicelich said there was a bit of work to do, and he also had some thanks to express to Western Springs.
"The mindset of keeping our standards high to the end is something that we need to work on. We conceded three goals at the end which is something that we need to look at.
"Finally, I want to say thank you to Western Springs for their Guard of Honour tonight. That was a real touch of class and somewhat unexpected but a nice surprise and speaks volumes for the character of their team and the values of their club," he said.
Auckland City FC's final Northern League game of 2022 is on Saturday 3 September 2022 at 3pm at Keith Hay Park against Auckland United.
At 12.30pm on the same day Auckland City FC U-23 face Auckland United U-23 in a must win showdown in the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division. If Auckland City Fc U-23 can beat United U-23s then they will retain the league title they won last year.
Wednesday 31 August 2022
Western Springs 3 (Oscar BROWNE 52', Kayne VINCENT 62', Wade MOLONY 80')
Auckland City FC 5 (Joe LEE 7', Matt ELLIS 11', 43', 44', Emiliano TADE 51')
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 4. Christian GRAY, 6. Matt ELLIS, 12. Sam BROTHERTON (3. Adam MITCHELL 64'), 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE (19. Liam GILLION 56'), 17. Reid DRAKE, 20. Emiliano TADE (c)(21. Ilham HAMEEDI 64'), 22. Adam BELL, 23. Alfie ROGERS (16. Jordan VALE 56').
SUBS NOT USED: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK).
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
TECHNICAL: Jarrod WALLACE
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
REFEREE: Riley GREENBURY
AR1: Charlie TSENG
AR2: Ashley WILSON
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC