Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 12 May 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Andrew Blake and Ilham Hameedi scored their first senior goals for Auckland City FC in last week's win over Birkenhead United.
For 25-year-old Blake, scoring his first goal for the club after 28 appearances gets a monkey off his back after making his debut for the club in 2019-20 season.
The former Hibernian and Edinburgh City player won 7 New Zealand age group international caps between 2013 and 2015 and expressed his happiness at his calm finish past Damian Hirst.
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"It was a long time coming! To have to wait 28 games for my first goal is a long time but pretty good to finally achieve.
"I've always had a bit of a rivalry with Birkenhead United so to end my run against them is a bit special.
"I thought we played very well, it was a dominating performance and we kept a clean sheet so everyone is happy with that," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
Blake's one-on-one finish past Hirst showed a lot of poise, technique and presence, but its his unique social media celebration that demands further explanation.
"I didn't have anything planned for a goal celebration so anything you see on social media was totally off the cuff!"
"I went with some pretty standard dabs, so hopefully that's gone down well," he said.
ANDREW BLAKE - GOAL CELEBRATION
For team-mate Ilham Hameedi, the journey to his first goal came 85 percent quicker than Blake's, largely due to their different positions.
Hameedi, making his fourth appearance in a Navy Blue jersey, struck a beautiful shot from outside the box in the 5-0 rout for his first goal.
"I was sitting outside the box, the ball came to me off a deflection and I've hit it first time and it swerved in and it was a good feeling.
"When the ball sat up for me, I 100 percent wanted to shoot first time and thankfully its gone in.
"I want to build off this and hopefully there's more to come," he said.
Hameedi, like Aidan Carey, Addison Stewart, Matt Ellis and Brooklyn Heath, has made the leap from Auckland City FC U-23 to the first team look somewhat easy.
But the young midfielder says it is largely down to the setting provided by the club.
"The first team experience has been a good one for me so far and it is a big step up from the U-23 league.
"I've adapted quickly to the environment and I'm happy to be here learning as much as possible," he said.
Birkenhead United played a good game and Hameedi says a combination of top defending and attacking ruthlessness were key factors in the victory.
"They had a couple of chances but Conor Tracey made some unbelievable saves.
"Birkenhead really pushed us but the main difference was we were more clinical and finished our chances."
Saturday 15 May 2021
Melville United v Auckland City FC
Gower Park, Hamilton
Kick-off: 3.00pm NZDT
Sat 19 June 2021, Tauranga City, KO: 2pm, Kiwitea Street