Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 23 September 2017
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The Navy Blues have won their second pre-season match after beating Hamilton Wanderers 5-2 in the Fullers Festival of Football.
The friendly match was played for the Steve Sumner Memorial Cup and there was plenty of skill and talent on show for the 1000 strong crowd to savour.
An explosive first half saw Auckland City FC's three youngsters Owen Parker-Price, Callum McCowatt and Dalton Wilkins feature prominently as they tore open a makeshift Wanderers side apart.
McCowatt in particular was outstanding netting a 9 minute hat-trick while Emiliano Tade scored a brilliant opener when he chipped the goalkeeper from a tight angle.
Tade was involved again when Cam Howieson smashed home from close range after the Argentine had clipped a cross into the Wanderers six yard box that deflected off the post into the path of the All Whites midfielder.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx changed his entire outfield for the second half as they faced a somewhat renewed Wanderers.
The visitors showed more aggression and commitment as they got closer to their opponents and they were rewarded for their energy when Ignacio Younes Falfan slotted home on the hour mark.
Xavier Pratt, another second half switch for Wanderers, scored a brilliant second when he scored from 30 metres, a shot that gave substitute goalkeeper Conor Tracey no chance of stopping.
Auckland City FC's performance was much more smooth and assured than Tuesday's lopsided defeat to New Zealand U-17 with the Navy Blues playing resources on formidable display.
Tribulietx was satisfied with elements of the performance but said there was plenty left to work on.
"A lot of good things happened for us today - the first half was a lot better but in the second half we had a lot of players who have a lot of catch up work to do to regain form.
"But it was a good training game for us in both halves. There were a lot of good things but a lot to work on and thats what we look for in these games.
"We only started training a couple of weeks ago and doing physical work and now its time to test ourselves, make a few mistakes and learn from it to optimise our playing systems.
"Every year we try to readjust our positioning and today I saw a lot of things where we benefited in trying to reach that objective with possession of the ball today.
"We tried to create situations in the game where we used those readjustments and there were good moments for us," he said.
Based on the second half Wanderers will make for a far more difficult prospect in six weeks time when the ISPS Handa Premiership kicks into life as a raft of odd pre-season results across New Zealand pour in.
The Navy Blues next pre-season friendly is at home to Canterbury United next week.
Fullers Festival of Football
Saturday 23 September 2017
Auckland City FC 5 (Emiliano Tade 19', Callum McCowatt 28', 32', 39', Cam Howieson 30')
Hamilton Wanderers 2 (Ignacio Younes Falfan 60', Xavier Pratt 77')
AUC (from): Danyon Drake (GK), Conor Tracey (GK), Dalton Wilkins, Daewook Kim, Alfie Rogers, Takuya Iwata, Marko Dordevic, Albert Riera, Owen Parker-Price, Callum McCowatt, Kris Bright, Liam Graham, Angel Berlanga, Harshae Raniga, Harry Edge, Reid Drake, Ryan De Vries, Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, Cam Howieson, Darren White, Fabrizio Tavano, Mario Bilen.
v Bay Olympic, Sat 1 April 2023, Kiwitea Street, KO: 3pm NZST