Waiheke United down Juniors

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 23 September 2017

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The Junior Navy Blues have lost their first pre-season match of the new campaign to Lotto NRFL First Division newcomers Waiheke United by 1-0.

Co-coaches Aaron McFarland and Hiroshi Miyazawa were both unavailable to witness their National Youth League charges as they took on a Waiheke United team that had lost just one competitive league match in 2017.

The opening exchanges were even against a backdrop of singing and chanting from the far embankment as La Banda del Pipazo provided their famed accompaniment.

But they could easily have been playing to a team 1-0 down when Antonio Bonkovich missed a very good chance to give the visitors the lead on the half hour mark.

That wastefulness in front of goal was punished by Emi Candia within a minute as Waiheke United broke on the counter and opened up the Junior Navy Blues to score the game's opening goal.

Waiheke United continued to dominate the match in the second half and created a number of good chances from set-pieces including a Candia header that flew just wide of the goal frame midway through proceedings.

Outstanding for the Junior Navy Blues were right back Callum McNeill, substitute Tom Goulding and centre back Sione Fa'apoi.

Stand-in coach Matt Hamnett was relatively pleased with the performance if not the final result.

"Waiheke United only lost one game in the Lotto NRFL Second Division this season and they're fully grown men playing against a team of boys.

"The atmosphere was great, very reminscent of what I'm used to in England and its something missing in New Zealand football," he said.

McNeill said the Junior Navy Blues did well considering it was their first outing.

"We've only been training a short time so we started to fade a little bit at the end there.

"Its crazy playing in front of a crowd like this at Waiheke it was great," he said.


Match Result

Fullers Festival of Football
Saturday 23 September 2017
Waiheke United 1 (Emi Candia 31')
Auckland City FC 0
HT: 1-0

AUC (squad from): Antonio Bonkovich, Callum McNeill, Cameron Brown (GK), Dino Botica, Izak Papa, Jack Anderson, Jack Duncan, James Dunn (GK), Jaylen Rodwell, Matt Ellis, Michael Soffe, Oscar Spragg, Thomas Goulding, Seli Wayne Fuimaono, Sione Fa'apoi, Solomon Granger, Thomas Drillien, Zac Ballantyne.

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