Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 7 January 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A Callum McCowatt goal has salvaged a point for Auckland City FC have they drew 2-2 with Waitakere United today.
In the first match of the new year Auckland City FC took the lead through Emiliano Tade on the half hour mark, an advantage the Navy Blues preserved until just after the second half.
Goals for Horace James and Keegan Linderboom from the penalty mark in a frantic 12 minute spell handed the lead to Chris Milicich's men only for McCowatt to level.
The match was far more competitive than when the two sides clashed at Trusts Arena when the Navy Blues crushed Waitakere United 5-0 to inflict their biggest defeat on their Super City rivals in 14 years.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx was positive about the character shown in retrieving a point but was clear there was plenty of room for improvement in the areas of ball retention, decision-making and fitness.
"It was a very hard game to start the new year and neither side were at the best. you could see towards the end decision making wasn't great and both teams were quite stretched.
"I thought we played a decent first half to go 1-0 up at halftime. They equalised straight after the break in a situation we didn't handle well then they scored from a penalty immediately and that played in our heads.
"We have to be proud how we got back into the game. At least we got a point. It was one of those games where anyone could have scored a winner but it didn't happen - thats football.
"We have a lot to work on and you can see it for yourself. It wasn't just fitness - our decision making wasn't great as we got more tired. We lost a lot of ball in areas we need to make sure of it.
"We've got a lot of games coming up and with more game time we'll get a lot better," he said.
Of further concern to Tribulietx will be the injury to top scorer Tade who exited the match prior to halftime with an injury.
Waitakere United slipped out of the playoff picture after Canterbury United demolished Tasman United 6-0 in Nelson.
Team Wellington opened up a three point lead at the top after a similar hiding of Wellington Phoenix and in action on Saturday, Eastern Suburbs AFC defeated Southern United 2-0 to take a grip on third place.
At the bottom of the table Hawke's Bay United and Hamilton Wanderers also drew 2-2.
Auckland City FC's next match is another home game this time against Southern United at Kiwitea Street on Saturday 13 January at 2pm.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 7 January 2018
Auckland City FC 2 (Emiliano Tade 29', Callum McCowatt 67')
Waitakere United 2 (Horace James 48', Keegan Linderboom 57'-pen)
Sun 21 Oct 2018, kick-off 2pm NZST