Words: ACFC Media
Thursday 8 April 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC will aim for a rip-roaring start when Hamilton Wanderers pay a visit to Kiwitea Street in the latest round of Northern League action on Saturday.
City came away with two hard fought wins over Manukau United and Northern Rovers over Easter but both matches left a deep impression on the Navy Blues.
Defender Andrew Blake watched on as both United and Rovers tore into Auckland City FC inside the first half hour of each match with a physical high press that made for an exciting and dramatic tussle.
City endured those tough starts to come away with convincing 3-1 and 4-1 wins respectively and Blake says if he and his team-mates didn't expect that before, they'll certainly expect that now.
"Jose made a good point before both these games that every team is going to come at Auckland City FC as if it is their own Cup final and to be fair he was right.
"You can see opponents rarking their team-mates up to come and have a proper go at us and fair enough.
"It makes it difficult for us to control the ball when teams come at you with an aggressive high press and it gives teams momentum to stay in the game for as long as possible.
"Against Rovers we created enough chances to score in the first half but we didn't convert enough of them," Blake said.
Visitors Hamilton Wanderers have made an average start to the winter campaign and picked up a point in their 1-1 Waikato Derby with Melville United but Kale Herbert's team can point to last year's 2-0 win over City at Porritt Stadium as a confidence booster.
Wanderers, who possess two of the league's best strikers in Derek Tieku and Papua New Guinea international Tommy Semmy, gave a good account of themselves in last summer's matches with City and Blake expects them to start the game aggressively.
"I think this is going to be the case with most teams we'll play. In the Rovers game, we had a good chat at the break and came back out and took control of the game and that saw us get the win.
"Wanderers will be in a similar condition so I expect a tough game," he said.
While opponents are looking to take Auckland City FC down early in matches, Blake says the Navy Blues have a key quality that counts as a game breaker.
"We've got a superior level of fitness from the ISPS Handa Premiership season and we're playing in a far more attacking way where our full backs are looking to get forward.
"Towards the end of games, I find I get a lot more of the ball than in the summer and get more crosses into the box.
"We've got enough experience in our squad to know how to handle an opponent that comes out of the traps firing.
"The best thing a team can do is to stay calm under pressure because we know we are good enough to keep the ball off any team in New Zealand.
"It's vital that we get control of the ball early, get good passes in and take control of games sooner," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
The match gets underway on Saturday 10 April 2021 at Kiwitea Street at 3pm NZDT.
In U-23 action, the Auckland City FC U-23s take on Hamilton Wanderers U-23s at McLeod Road with the game kicking off at 12.30pm NZDT.
Saturday 10 April 2021
Auckland City FC v Hamilton Wanderers
Kiwitea Street, Auckland
Kick-off: 3.00pm NZDT
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Reid DRAKE, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Deandre VOLLENHOVEN, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Ilham HAMEEDI, 16. Yousif AL-KALISY, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 19. 20. Emiliano TADE, 21. Matt ELLIS, 22. Mohamed AWAD, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Auckland United v Northern Rovers
Keith Hay Park, Auckland - kick-off: 3pm NZDT
Bay Olympic v Manukau United
Olympic Park, Auckland - kick-off: 3pm NZDT
Eastern Suburbs AFC v North Shore United
Ngahue Reserve, Auckland - kick-off: 3pm NZDT
Melville United v West Coast Rangers
Gower Park, Hamilton - kick-off: 3pm NZDT
Western Springs v Birkenhead United
Seddon Fields, Auckland - kick-off: 5pm NZDT
Sunday's game is the 11th encounter between the two clubs with Auckland City FC winning nine times to Hamilton Wanderers one. The top goalscorer in this fixture is Emiliano Tade who has netted seven times against Hamilton Wanderers.
Hamilton Wanderers registered their first competitive win over Auckland City FC when two goals by Derek Tieku handed the Porritt Stadium men a famous 2-0 win. Saturday's meeting between the two clubs is their first in the Northern League.
v. Hamilton Wanderers (A) lost 0-2 (-|Derek Tieku 2)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 2-0 (Joseph Harris OG, Brian Kaltak)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (A) won 5-0 (Logan Rogerson, Own Goal, David Browne, Myer Bevan 2)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 3-1 (Emiliano Tade 2, Myer Bevan | George Ott)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (A) won 1-0 (Maro Bonsu-Maro)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 3-2 (David Browne, Maro Bonsu-Maro, Cam Howieson| Tommy Semmy, Martin Bueno)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (A) won 1-0 (Micah Lea'alafa)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 6-0 (Ryan De Vries 2, Callum McCowatt, Emiliano Tade 2, Own Goal)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (A) won 5-0 (Joao Moreira 2, Emiliano Tade 2, Ryan De Vries)
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 4-1 (Emiliano Tade, Clayton Lewis 2, Fabrizio Tavano | Stafford Dowling)
Sat 22 May 2021, Eastern Suburbs, KO: 3pm, Madills Farm