Time Warp: Grand Finals in Review

Words: ACFC Media

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC take on Team Wellington in the ISPS Handa Premiership Grand Final on Sunday as we look back on finals from the past - the good, the bad, the ugly.

SEASON 2004-05 - First NZFC Title
This final belonged to South African international and Navy Blues legend Grant Young. Waitakere United took the lead on the half-hour mark through Daniel Ellensohn until Young levelled just after the restart. Enter, Keryn Jordan, then of Waitakere United and a moment of controversy. Goaded by the home support as a player perceived to take a dive, a sign was draped over the non-clubrooms end of Kiwitea Street that accused Jordan of being a cheat. Jordan gave Waitakere United the lead with 20 minutes to go then tore the offending sign off the fence live on Sky Sport. It was great theatre as Liam Mulrooney and Young delivered the stick-and-twist plot shock with Mulrooney equalising with 10 minutes to play. With the lid blown off and tempers flaring, Young popped up with a last minute winner to hand coach Allan Jones his first New Zealand Football Championship title in the modern era.

NZFC GRAND FINAL
March 12, 2005
Auckland City FC 3 (Grant Young 48', 90', Liam Mulrooney 81')
Waitakere United 2 (Daniel Ellensohn 31', Keryn Jordan 70')
HT: 0-1

Grand Final: Auckland City FC
Minor Premiership: Auckland City FC
OFC Club Championship: Group Stage

SEASON 2005-06 - Second NZFC Title
Keryn Jordan's switch to Auckland City FC was inevitable following the 2004-05 final according to an interview the man himself speaking in an interview with ACFC TV shortly before his passing so it was surprise he would play a key role in this dramatic finale. The playoff system was convuluted and involved the top five teams.

The Navy Blues had won the minor premiership while Canterbury finished fourth and had to play three playoff matches with YoungHeart Manawatu (0-0; won 5-4 on pens), Auckland City FC (3-0), Team Wellington (2-1) and a rematch with City in the final. Live on Sky Sport from Kiwitea Street in front of 3,000 fans, the final went down as a classic.

Young opened the scoring just before the break before Stu Kelly equalised on the hour mark. Jordan restored Auckland City FC's lead within four minutes to seemingly steady the ship. Then disaster - Navy Blues goalkeeper Ross Nicholson scored an own goal to hand Canterbury a way back. Chad Coombes responded almost immediately with Auckland City FC's third then Kelly took the match to extra time with another equaliser with five minutes left.

The match went to a penalty shoot-out and Nicholson - villain in normal time - emerged as the hero as the Navy Blues won on penalties 4-3.

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NZFC GRAND FINAL
April 22, 2006
Auckland City FC 3 (Grant Young 45+2', Keryn Jordan 63', Chad Coombes 78')
Canterbury United 3 (Stu Kelly 59', Ross Nicholson OG 75')
HT: 1-0

Grand Final: Auckland City FC
Minor Premiership: Auckland City FC
OFC Club Championship: Auckland City FC
FIFA Club World Cup: 7th place

SEASON 2006-07 - Third NZFC Title
Three-in-a-row for the Navy Blues and another win over Super City rivals Waitakere United. Played at QBE Stadium on a night of driving rain, this match is best remembered not for its quality of football but for a shocking tackle by the late Commins Menapi on Navy Blues and All Whites defender Riki Van Steeden. The normally affable Menapi blotted his copybook for a crunching two footed tackle on Van Steeden after he had earlier equalised for United after Liam Mulrooney had given Auckland City FC the lead.

Reduced to 10-men, Auckland City FC were in full control of this final for vast swathes of the match and when Paul Urlovic then skipper Neil Sykes scored there was only a late consolation for Waitakere United when Jeff Campbell scored in additional time, who ironically, became the first team to win the minor premiership then lose the grand final.

NZFC GRAND FINAL
April 16, 2007
Waitakere United 2 (Commins Menapi 21', Jeff Campbell 90+3')
Auckland City FC 3 (Liam Mulrooney 16', Paul Urlovic 51', Neil Sykes 78')
HT: 1-0

Grand Final: Auckland City FC
Minor Premiership: Waitakere United
OFC Club Championship: Waitakere United
FIFA Club World Cup: Did Not Qualify

SEASON 2008-09 - Fourth NZFC Title

A come-from-behind victory is always sweet and this match played at Trusts Arena in West Auckland proved no exception. All Whites striker Allan Pearce had been a key figure as Waitakere United claimed their third minor premiership on the trot and after taking the title off Auckland City FC by beating Team Wellington the season before 2-0, started the match as favourites.

Pearce netted after 15 minutes and could've put the match behind the reach of Auckland City FC but for a glut of missed chances by their exciting front three of Roy Krishna, Benjamin Totori and Pearce. That wastefulness in front of goal proved Waitakere United's undoing with Keryn Jordan banging in a fantastic equaliser with 12 minutes left to play. The curtain fell on Waitakere United's hopes of second grand final win when Paul Urlovic bagged a last gasp winner to send the Navy Blues faithful back to Kiwitea Street with their fourth title in five years.

NZFC GRAND FINAL
March 29, 2009
Waitakere United 1 (Allan Pearce 15')
Auckland City FC 2 (Keryn Jordan 78', Paul Urlovic 89')
HT: 1-0

Grand Final: Auckland City FC
Minor Premiership: Waitakere United
OFC Champions League: Auckland City FC
FIFA Club World Cup: 5th Place

SEASON 2013-14 - Fifth NZFC Title
Five years of domestic grand final failure was at last put to bed with this 1-0 win over Team Wellington. In a match where the Navy Blues were rarely put under much pressure, Emiliano Tade proved the difference between the two teams courtesy of his winning goal delivered on the half-hour to complete a minor premiership and grand final domestic double, the club's first since 2005-06 season. The minor premiership victory began a sequence of five consecutive title wins in the regular season format up until earlier this month. For Team Wellington, it was the beginning of their own resurgence.

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ASB PREMIERSHIP GRAND FINAL
March 16, 2014
Auckland City FC 1 (Emiliano Tade 31')
Team Wellington 0
HT: 1-0

Grand Final: Auckland City FC
Minor Premiership: Auckland City FC
OFC Champions League: Auckland City FC
FIFA Club World Cup: 3rd Place
NZF Charity Cup: Runners-up

SEASON 2014-15 - Sixth NZFC Title 
Hearts were in collective mouths in this edition after Ryan Tinsley blasted Hawke's Bay United in front after just 15 minutes. Tinsley and Hawke's Bay United had enjoyed one of their best ever regular season campaigns, and in this, their first ever grand final, they promised to push the reigning champions all the way.
Auckland City FC had enjoyed arguably their greatest ever campaign having won the bronze medal at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco and retaining the minor premiership beating Hawke's Bay United by a comfortable eight point margin. Losing the title wasn't in the script and when Ryan De Vries equalised before halftime anxieties were relieved.

With the Bay experts at keeping a tight line and room to exploit rare, the Navy Blues winner came from an unlikely source when Marko Dordevic powered home a thunderous header from a set-piece to give the defending champions the lead on the hour mark.

Auckland City FC became the first club to successfully twice defend back-to-back minor premiership and grand final titles with victories in 2013-14 and 2014-15, to go along with 2004-05 and 2005-06.

ASB PREMIERSHIP GRAND FINAL
April 5, 2015
Auckland City FC 2 (Ryan De Vries 38', Marko Dordevic 62')
Hawke's Bay United 1 (Ryan Tinsley 15'-pen)
HT: 1-1

Grand Final: Auckland City FC
Minor Premiership: Auckland City FC
OFC Champions League: Auckland City FC
FIFA Club World Cup: 7th Place
NZF Charity Cup: Auckland City FC

THE FOUR THAT GOT AWAY
Auckland City FC has lost four ISPS Handa Premiership Grand Finals - the first of these was the 2010-11 final, lost 3-2 to Waitakere United as our Super City rivals completed a minor premiership and grand final double. They repeated the dose in 2012-13 in a dramatic 4-3 defeat at Fred Taylor Park. Most latterly, Auckland City FC has lost back-to-back grand finals to Team Wellington (2-4 aet and 1-2) in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

GRAND FINALS
2016-17 Team Wellington 2-1 Auckland City FC
2015-16 Team Wellington 4-2 Auckland City FC
2014-15 Auckland City FC 2-1 Hawke's Bay United
2013-14 Auckland City FC 1-0 Team Wellington
2008-09 Auckland City FC 2-1 Waitakere United
2006-07 Auckland City FC 3-2 Waitakere United
2005-06 Auckland City FC 3-3* Canterbury United
2004-05 Auckland City FC 3-2 Waitakere United
*Auckland City FC won 4-3 on penalties

NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL LEAGUE TITLES
Uni-Mount Wellington - 6
Christchurch United - 6
Auckland City FC - 6 (does not include 9 "minor premierships")
Waitakere United - 5 
Waitakere City - 5
Napier City Rovers - 4
Wellington United - 3
Miramar Rangers - 2
Team Wellington - 2
Central United - 2
Gisborne City - 1
Blockhouse Bay - 1
Eastern Suburbs AFC - 1
Manurewa AFC - 1

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