Ton up Schwarz thwarts Navy Blues

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 22 January 2017

Picture: Phototek

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand - Ten man Canterbury United hold Auckland City FC to dramatic 2-2 draw as Waitakere United lead the way in Stirling Sports Premiership.

It was bizarre, ill-tempered but always dramatic at English Park today as Auckland City FC and Canterbury United fought out a slugfest of a match in Christchurch today.

The hosts needed a win to stay within touching distance of the playoffs and twice fell behind to the Oceania champions but somehow fought their way back to parity.

In a dour first half where few chances were created only a save by the ever-reliable Navy Blues goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai kept the scores level.

Joao Moreira wasted the Navy Blues best chance of the half on the 30 minute mark when he combined well with Emiliano Tade and Ryan De Vries before shanking his shot wide.

But the match reached boiling point in the second half with Aaron Clapham substituted with an injury after a confrontation with Angel Berlanga.

Tade, who missed last week's 1-1 draw with Tasman United, gave the Navy Blues the lead when his free-kick crept in at the Dragons backpost midway through the second half.

Tempers frayed and were then lost when Canterbury United's Gary Ogilvie was sent off with 20 minutes left to play.

His departure sparked off a goal frenzy with the visitors unable to make their superior numbers count.

The Dragons were nothing else if not motivated and Tom Schwarz threw the home side a lifeline when he headed home an equaliser on 81 minutes.

It was a magical moment for Schwarz on his 100th appearance for the Dragons but the joy was shortlived when Alfie Rogers restored the Navy Blues advantage just two minutes later.

But Auckland City FC simply didn't do enough to hold on to their 2-1 lead. In a last gasp attack, Andre de Jong was felled and a penalty awarded to Canterbury United.

Who else but Tom Schwarz applied the finishing touch beating Zubikarai from the penalty mark six minutes into additional time to cap off a fine personal performance and a dramatic afternoon of football.

The draw means Auckland City FC slip to second spot with Super City derby rivals Waitakere United now at the top of the minor premiership after they downed Southern United 3-1 on Saturday.

Team Wellington and Hawke's Bay United remain in the hunt for the minor premiership and a playoff spot after a thrilling 3-3 draw at David Farrington Park.

Eastern Suburbs AFC ended their poor run of form with a 3-1 win over Hamilton Wanderers who slip further away from the playoffs picture.

In Nelson, Tasman United survived a late scare to draw 1-1 with the Wellington Phoenix U-20.

Auckland City FC now turn their attention toward the Nike Lunar New Year Cup in Hong Kong on January 28 when they face Korean champions FC Seoul at Hong Kong International Stadium.

Ends

Match Result
Stirling Sports Premiership
Sunday 22 January 2017
Canterbury United 2 (Tom Schwarz 81', 90+6'-pen)
Auckland City FC 2 (Emiliano Tade 64', Alfie Rogers 83')
Halftime: 0-0
Gary Ogilvie (CU) sent off 69 minutes

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