Tasman United late show scuppers Navy Blues

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 15 January 2017

Picture: Phototek

NELSON, New Zealand - Tasman United have staged a snatch and grab after they hold Auckland City FC to a shock 1-1 draw in the Stirling Sports Premiership.

Without a point in five games the hosts were able to play with a degree of freedom and coach Richard Anderson's team did just that even finishing the match with just ten men following an injury.

The Navy Blues spurned several good scoring opportunities including a gilt-edged chance for Solomon Islands international Micah Lea'alafa midway through the first half.

Navy Blues goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai prevented the home side from nabbing the lead when he pulled of a top quality save from Swedish striker Ermal Hajdari on 35 minutes.

Auckland City FC also saw a free-kick deflect to safety off Coey Turipa's upright before they eventually took the lead midway through the second half courtesy of an own goal.

Tasman United threatened on the counter attack and with the Navy Blues unable to score a second goal that would've provided an ideal buffer and likely sealed the points, the match took a dramatic turn in additional time.

Niclas Abot, a late substitute, pounced to score a roof-raising equaliser six minutes into time added on to the joy and ecstasy of a home crowd diminished in size by the scheduling of harness racing in Nelson.

Those that chose the horses over the heroics of Tasman United should chide themselves as the Stirling Sports bottom placed side caused what can only be described as an upset.

Elsewhere in the competition there were other eyebrow raising results with Hawke's Bay United thrashing Eastern Suburbs AFC 6-3 in Napier, Southern United beating archrivals Canterbury United 3-1 for their third consecutive win in a row while Waitakere United defeated Hamilton Wanderers by 2-1.

The irony of Tasman United's point and their nearest rivals with the exception of Hamilton Wanderers all winning won't be lost on observers of the table's lower reaches.

That means there is now a three way tussle for top spot with Auckland City FC, Team Wellington and Waitakere United. With the winner of the minor premiership securing qualification for both the Stirling Sports Premiership grand final and the OFC Champions League 2018, the stakes couldn't be higher.

Ends

Match Result
Stirling Sports Premiership
Sunday 15 January, 2017
Tasman United 1 (Nicolas Abot 90'+6)
Auckland City FC 1 (Own Goal 63')
Halftime: 0-0.

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