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McCowatt brace sees off Dragons

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 5 November 2017

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Callum McCowatt’s first two competitive goals for the Navy Blues fired Auckland City to a 3-1 ISPS Handa Premiership victory over Canterbury United at Kiwitea Street on Sunday evening.

The 18-year-old’s strikes in the ninth and 65th minutes sandwiched an 16th minute Emiliano Tade goal which extended his club record to 60 goals after claiming the mark with a double last week.

McCowatt’s netted his first after tidy teamwork from Reid Drake and Tade, before Tade grabbed one of his own, evading a would-be tackler before picking out the top left corner.

City’s control eased late in the first half but Enaut Zubikarai remain largely untested throughout the contest and when McCowatt – with composure that belies his age – smashed his second past Coey Turipa midway through the second spell the points looked secure.

With the Navy Blues breaking the Dragons’ press more chances followed with McCowatt – who scored a hat-trick in a pre-season friendly – hunting for a third to repeat the feat on his home debut.

However, the youngster was removed with four minutes remaining to warm applause from an appreciative Kiwitea Street crowd and it was the visitors who found the bet next, with Travis Nicklaw registering a late consolation for the Dragons.

Navy Blues coach Ramon Tribulietx was satisfied with the way his side responded to the defensive pressure applied from the visitors.

“We played a very smart game. It was a very difficult game and they were very tense in the way they were pressing us very high up the pitch.

“We were expecting something similar so we understood how we had to break, not through, but over that type of pressure and we created many chances.

“We knew they would be difficult, be aggressive but we understood how to use the space behind and I’m very happy with that.”

Tribulietx also praised Callum McCowatt and the way the teenager is developing in his first season with the club.

“Look he’s a very talented young player. He’s only 18 so he’s progressing. There are areas where he still needs to find space in the team and in this type of game.

"But he’s got unbelievable talent and he’s proved that not only with those two goals but the way he’s linked two or three times with Tade and Reid – he’s got great understating of the game and the way we want to play.”

The victory moves the Navy Blues into a three-way tie for second on the table with seven points from four matches, two points behind Eastern Suburbs who have a game in hand.

Next week, the Navy Blues welcome Hamilton Wanderers to Kiwitea Street with kick-off at 1.15pm on Sunday followed by the National Youth League clash between the same clubs.

Match Result
Sunday 5 November 2017
ISPS Handa Premiership
Auckland City FC 3 (Callum McCowatt 9’, 65’; Emiliano Tade 16')
Canterbury United 1 (Travis Nicklaw 90+2’)
HT: 2-0

AC: Zubikarai (GK); Iwata, Berlanga (c), Howieson, Riera (Hudson-Wihongi 81’), White, Kim, R. Drake (Tavano 71’), Tade, Edge, McCowatt (Morgan 86’).
Subs not used: Graham, D. Drake (RGK)

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