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Browne brace makes it eight in a row

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 16 December 2018

Picture: Phototek

NELSON, New Zealand - David Browne made an explosive goalscoring return to first team action for Auckland City FC as the Navy Blues downed Tasman United 3-1 in Nelson today.

It was a poignant moment for Browne after nearly seven weeks out following a nasty head injury picked up in the first meeting between the two clubs on the 21 October at Kiwitea Street.

That sickening collision saw Browne and Tasman goalkeeper Corey Wilson ambulanced away from Sandringham and while the latter has yet to return to the pitch, Browne's arrival sparked good cheer from the travelling support.

And the Papua New Guinea international wasted no time in making his presence felt. If there were any concerns he would return a dulled talent they were quickly dispelled after just five minutes when he netted the game's opening goal.

Tasman United made the art of defending look a pure science in their goalless draw with Eastern Suburbs last week but when Javier Lopez doubled the advantage from the penalty mark seven minutes later, there was only going to be one result.

The home side threw off the shackles in the second half and were immediately rewarded when they struck a good goal to half the deficit courtesy of Kiernan Hughes-Mason just after the break.

The match became a scrappy affair following Hughes-Mason's goal although Dan Morgan hit the crossbar before Browne sealed the match with a superb individual goal rounding Nick Stanton before finishing into the net midway through the second half.

Browne was replaced by fellow Oceania star Micah Lea'alafa who made his first appearance for the Navy Blues since the 2-1 home win over Hawke's Bay United on November 4.

The victory maintains Auckland City FC's 100 percent winning run as they set a new record for best start to a National League season in the modern era.

The Navy Blues also stretched their winning run in the ISPS Handa Premiership to 364 days dating back to the match Tasman United were awarded 3-0 following an administrative oversight by the club on December 17, 2017.

Apart from that overturned result, Auckland City FC's last domestic defeat over 90 minutes was on the opening day of last season when Team Wellington defeated the Navy Blues 3-1 at David Farrington Park on October 17, 2017, 426 days ago.

The record stretches back 26 domestic matches.

Currently, the Navy Blues are also 25 matches unbeaten in the OFC Champions League, just two shy of the record they set between 28 March 2008 and 31 March 2012.

Coach Ramon Tribulietx was delighted to end the calendar year on such a high.

"We controlled the match from the very start so the way we prepared during the week really paid off for us. Tasman United sat very deep as they did in their 0-0 draw with Eastern Suburbs. We broke through a couple of times and David Browne gave us an early goal that made our lives a little bit easier.

"Tasman United didn't change and played the same way then Javier Lopez' penalty gave us the second goal. In the second half they changed their approach and pressed us more on a slow pitch which made it tough.

"It was a well-worked game for us and we've got another three points to take us into the Christmas break," he said.

The squad now goes into the Christmas break top of the table but there won't be any break in training with the players continuing through next week before tapering off.

"We'll take two weeks off but the players will have their fitness programmes to work to then we'll begin working again for the match with Waitakere United in early January," he said.

Tribulietx's final words were of congratulations to Camilo Speranza and the Junior Navy Blues who were crowned National Youth League champions without kicking a ball today.

Waitakere United's 5-3 win saw the West Aucklanders draw level with the Junior Navy Blues on points but well short of the seven goal win they needed to nick the title on the final day.

"Big congratulations to the Junior Navy Blues on picking up the National Youth League title. They were in a difficult situation with Waitakere United playing the final game 24 hours later so well done to Camilo and his team for their achievement," he said.

The Navy Blues first match of the new year is a Super City derby away to Waitakere United at Trusts Arena on Sunday 6 January 2018.

The match kicks off at 2pm NZST.

Ends

Match Result
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 16 December 2018
Tasman United 1 (Kiernan HUGHES-MASON 49')
Auckland City FC 3 (David BROWNE 5', 66', Javier LOPEZ 12'-pen)
HT: 0-2

AC: 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (GK), 5. Angel BERLANGA (C), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Javier LOPEZ, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Dan MORGAN, 16. Yousif ALI, 17. Reid DRAKE (4. Mario BILEN 79'), 19. David BROWNE (10. Micah LEA'ALAFA 76'), 13. Alfie ROGERS (2. Hayden McHENERY 86').

SUBS NOT USED: 18. Ruben PARKER (GK), 20. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI.

COACH: Ramon TRIBULIETX

Other results

Southern United 0
Canterbury United 1

Hawke's Bay United 1
Eastern Suburbs 4

Waitakere United
Hamilton Wanderers

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