Late goals cost Junior Navy Blues

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 17 November 2018

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Two late Canterbury United goals by Jacob Richards and substitute Jake Grove sees Junior Navy Blues winning sequence grind to a halt in the latest round of National Youth League action.

The Junior Navy Blues looked to be cruising towards yet another victory after Thomas Drillien netted a goal in each half but the never-say-die Dragons breathed fire late to throw the Aucklanders off kilter.

The nature of the equaliser will sit long in the minds of Auckland City FC supporters after the visitors were awarded an indirect free-kick from a backpass to goalkeeper Cameron Brown. Richards was the hero of the moment for Canterbury after Grove had earlier halved the deficit. 

Only minutes earlier, Nathan Lobo saw a goalbound effort hit the inside of Canterbury United's post yet somehow stay out of the net.

There were also squandered chances after great work by Mohammed Shah.

Coach Camilo Speranza recognised Canterbury's contribution to a match that produced a thrilling finale but pointed out that the disappointment of blowing a two goal advantage was offset but the lessons learned and the opportunity to improve next week when they face Wellington Phoenix at Fraser Park.

"It was a very even game. At the beginning we were a bit uncomfortable because we weren't finding the spaces in midfield we normally do but in the second half we managed to correct those issues and I believe we played well but unfortunately this a game and sometimes there are other circumstances that are part of this chaotic context," Speranza told

"We lost two points today, same as last weekend, and the only thing we can do is keep working with the team and we remain in a very good position in the league and we have to move on and shake this feeling of disappointment out of our limbs.

"We need to focus on playing better in each match. Errors and mistakes are part of the game. Errors are made by referees, I make mistakes - the players make mistakes - nobody makes mistakes deliberately. We need to focus on playing better, be a better team each day, mistakes are a part of the game," he said.

The 2-2 draw leaves the Junior Navy Blues top of the table but that may only be temporary with one other match still to be played in the round. 

Elsewhere, there were goals aplenty as Team Wellington hammered Hawke's Bay United 6-0, while Waitakere United edged Southern United 2-1. Wellington Phoenix's season finally kickstarted into life after they scored twice without reply to defeat Tasman United in Nelson.

The outstanding match is to be played on Sunday when Eastern Suburbs head to the Waikato to take on Hamilton Wanderers where a win could see the Lilywhites leapfrog the Junior Navy Blues into top spot if they notch a win with a healthy goal return.


Match Result
National Youth League
Saturday 17 November 2018
Auckland City FC 2 (Thomas Drillien 25', 70')
Canterbury United 2 (Jake Grove 84', Jacob Richards 90+1')
HT: 1-0

AC: 1. Cameron BROWN (GK), 3. Jackson WOODS, 4. Robert TIPELU, 5. Dhanush CHANDRA (2. Nathan LOBO 46'), 8. Oscar SPRAGG, 9. Thomas DRILLIEN, 13. Josh JONES (c), 16. Mohammed SHAH (17. Matt ELLIS 88'), 19. Bradley WILSON (11. James GREEN 70'), 21. Callum McNEILL, 25. Otto INGHAM (7. Justin BAILEY 54').

SUB NOT USED: 24. Gareth LEWIS (GK).


National Youth League
Saturday 17 November 2018

Team Wellington 6
Hawke's Bay United 0

Tasman United 0
Wellington Phoenix 2

Waitakere United 2
Southern United 1

Playing Sunday 18 November 2018
Hamilton Wanderers v Eastern Suburbs


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