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Auckland City FC sign off with victory

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 17 February 2019

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC head off to the Solomon Islands with another win after they scored three second half goals to power past Hamilton Wanderers 3-2 at Kiwitea Street today.

Albert Riera got his first home start of the season after appearing in the midweek stalemate with Southern United while January transfer window signings Patrick Lundemo and Omar Guardiola also made their first home starts.

Reid Drake returned from injury while veteran defender Darren White was named on the bench.

Skipper Angel Berlanga made his 193th appearance for the club and is now just ten matches short of equalling the club record held by James Pritchett of 203.

Dan Morgan struck the crossbar when he turned a David Browne cross from a well-worked short corner after four minutes.

Guardiola then forced Matt Oliver into a top save with a blistering left foot shot after Lundemo just failed to connect with a beautifully weighted Morgan cross into the six yard box.

Auckland City FC nearly opened the scoring just before the break when Morgan again got free of his marker to find Drake whose clever backheel beat Oliver at the near post but only just trundled beyond the far.

The visitors best chances came in a flurry at the end of the half.

Martin Bueno saw a free-kick deflected harmlessly behind for a corner after Cam Howieson had given a foul on the edge of Enaut Zubikarai's penalty box.

Then Derek Tieku tested Zubikarai from distance but saw his shot blocked while the Navy Blues keeper combined with Howieson to deny Beuno who managed to find space to unleash a near post shot that was blocked.

The first goal of the game came when Wanderers conceded a penalty for handball which David Browne swept home just after the restart.

Beuno then had a decent chance when he went through one-on-one with Zubikarai but the big Spaniard stood firm at his near post to block the shot.

Wanderers then wasted a decent half-chance from a corner after Bueno's goal-bound header was knocked down by John Clout onlu for Brad Whitworth to miscue a volley over the crossbar.

Moments later Morgan raced clear of the defence and looked to have the beating of Oliver but his shot hit the inside of the post and rebounded to safety.

Substitute Maro Bonsu-Maro then doubled the advantage when he replaced Lundemo, latched onto a neat pass from Drake at the far post to then backheel the ball into the net on 72 minutes with his first touch of the ball.

Howieson then got in on the act making it 3-0 from the penalty spot with less than ten minutes left to play.

But there was a late twist in the plot when Tommy Semmy pulled back a late consolation goal back for Hamilton Wanderers with a minute left to play.

The narrative took another unexpected turn when Bueno slammed home an injury time penalty to bring the visitors to within one goal of the Navy Blues.

Auckland City FC's next match is in the OFC Champions League on February 24 when they take on New Caledonia's AS Magenta at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Ends

Match Result
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 17 February 2019
Auckland City FC 3 (David BROWNE 48'-pen, Maro BONSU-MARO 73', Cam HOWIESON 79'-pen)
Hamilton Wanderers 2 (Tommy SEMMY 89', Martin BUENO 90+2'-pen)
HT: 0-0.

AC: 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (GK), 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 8. Albert RIERA (16. Yousif ALI 46'), 13. Patrick LUNDEMO (10. Maro BONSU-MARO 72'), 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Dan MORGAN, 17. Reid DRAKE, 19. David BROWNE, 20. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI (2. Darren WHITE 60'), 22. Omar GUARDIOLA.

SUBS NOT USED: 18. Ruben PARKER (GK), 12. Dylan MANICKUM.

COACH: Ramon TRIBULIETX.

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