Late equaliser saves Southern

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 22 October 2017

Picture: Phototek

DUNEDIN, New Zealand - Auckland City FC is still searching for its first win of the ISPS Handa Premiership campaign after losing a late equaliser to Southern United in a 2-2 draw at Forsyth Barr Stadium today.

There was an early setback for the Navy Blues when new signing Kris Bright was injured at training late in the week following the injury sustained by Mario Bilen.

That opened the door for Ryan De Vries to return and he didn't waste any time finishing off a neat pass from Emiliano Tade after just 12 minutes.

The home side grabbed an equaliser midway through the first half from Danny Furlong then saw two chances for Dan Morgan go begging when Stephen Last made a goal line clearance before Morgan lashed another into the crossbar.

Enaut Zubikarai was called into action to make two superb saves the first a one handed effort to tame Furlong's long range effort the second a tip over from a Ronald Bala speculator from wide on the right.

Tade looked to have snatched victory for the Navy Blues when he scored with just four minutes left to play but substitute Tom Connor rescued Paul O'Reilly's team with another equaliser just a minute later.

Tade's goal - his 57th for the Navy Blues in the ISPS Handa Premiership - brings him to within one of club record holder Grant Young who netted 58 goals in the New Zealand top flight during a stellar career with the club. 

The Argentine striker is the club's leading goalscorer of all time with 83 strikes in 136 games for the club across the ISPS Handa Premiership, OFC Champions League and prestige friendlies. 

Elsewhere, Tasman United started their campaign with a 4-1 win over Hamilton Wanderers with former Navy Blues forward Abdullah Al-Kalisy netting a brace with further goals from Daniel Allan and Paul Ifill.

Champions Team Wellington were comfortably beaten by Eastern Suburbs AFC at David Farrington Park in a 3-1 reverse.

The 2-2 draw between Auckland City FC and Southern United means the Navy Blues emulate their worst ever start to a campaign of 2006-07 when they were beaten by YoungHeart Manawatu (1-0) and draw with Otago United (2-2) in their first two matches.

They ended that short winless run in their third match when they thrashed Hawke's Bay United 6-2 at Kiwitea Street thanks to goals by Ross McKenzie, Paul Seaman and two each for Grant Young and the late Keryn Jordan. 

Auckland City FC went on to win their third ISPS Handa Premiership title later that season.

Ends

Match Result
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 22 October 2017
Southern United 2 (Danny Furlong 25', Tom Connor 87')
Auckland City FC 2 (Ryan De Vries 12', Emiliano Tade 86')
HT: 1-1

AC: Zubikarai (GK), Morgan, Graham (Iwata 55'), Berlanga, Kim, Riera, Parker-Price (Hudson-Wihongi 64'), Howieson, De Vries, Tade, McCowatt.

Subs: D Drake (GK), R Drake, Rogers.

Coach: Ramon Tribulietx

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