Words: ACFC Media
Monday 3 December 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Reigning champions Auckland City FC have taken a significant step towards a successful defence of their National Youth League crown, returning to winning ways after a three-game run of draws while fellow title contenders Waitakere United and Eastern Suburbs could only take a point from their clash against each other.
That means Auckland City FC now have a two-point lead over second-placed Waitakere while Suburbs and Southern United are a point further back with just two rounds remaining.
The Junior Navy Blues put themselves in the box seat after earning a 2-0 victory on the road at Hamilton Wanderers, Jackson Woods and Justin Bailey both scoring once in each half.
That meant Waitakere and Suburbs would also need to win to keep pace with Auckland City FC but neither could do so as the pair fought out a 2-2 draw. Troy Christophers gave Waitakere an early advantage but Suburbs equalised just a few minutes later through Arzan Todywalla and took the lead early in the second half with a Marko Stamenic strike. But Waitakere ensured the spoils would be shared when Christophers hit his second just past the hour.
That allowed Southern to make up ground on the top three and they are now dark horses for the title after putting four goals past the Wellington Phoenix, Adam Hewson doing most of the damage with a hat-trick. Jonny Woodall also struck for Southern while the Phoenix replied twice through Nathan Simes and Blake Driehuis.
The only other team to win was Canterbury United, who also triumphed by a 4-2 scoreline over Team Wellington. Jordan Spain notched a double for the Cantabrians while Conor Clarke and Mikaele Rabuka also found the net. Wellington got on the scoresheet through Seth Ward and an own goal.
There was a key match at the other end of the table in the fight to avoid the wooden spoon as bottom-placed Tasman United hosted fellow strugglers Hawke’s Bay United. The home side were in great need of all three points but could manage only one as Konan Hey’s opener for Tasman early in the second half was cancelled out seconds later by Jordan Lamb.
The penultimate round of the National Youth League takes place this weekend, for the draw, table and other information please click here
National Youth League Match Week Seven Results
Waitakere United 2 (Troy Christophers 4’, 61’)
Eastern Suburbs 2 (Arzan Todywalla 9’, Marko Stamenic 54’)
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Nathan Simes 4’, Blake Driehuis 76’)
Southern United 4 (Adam Hewson 28’, 41’, 72’, Jonny Woodall 43’)
Hamilton Wanderers 0
Auckland City 2 (Jackson Woods 31’, Justin Bailey 66’)
Tasman United 1 (Konan Hey 48’)
Hawke’s Bay United 1 (Jordan Lamb 50’)
Team Wellington 2 (Own goal 43’, Seth Ward 72’)
Canterbury United 4 (Jordan Spain 36’, 73’, Conor Clarke 53’, Mikaele Rabuka 57’)