Dominion Road derby set to be a classic

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 2 September 2022

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Tomorrow's Dominion Road derby has all the hallmarks of a potential classic as the Navy Blues travel to Keith Hay Park to face an in form Auckland United.

This will be the first time Auckland City FC have played Auckland United at Keith Hay Park and at a time where the hosts have hit a rich vein of form with ten games undefeated.

José Figueira's team have won eight and drawn two of their last ten games and rattled in 37 goals and conceded just nine during that run.

The last time the two sides met City won 2-0 at Kiwitea Street in what was a comfortable margin but with several first team regulars injured and next week's Chatham Cup final with Eastern Suburbs now just eight days away, Albert Riera may elect for a conservative approach to his team selection.

Wednesday's 5-3 win over Western Springs was impressive but lacked the presence of the suspended Cam Howieson and the injured group of Angus Kilkolly, Dylan Manickum, Gerard Garriga and Ryan De Vries.

Missing tomorrow will also be regular starter Mario Ilich who is away at a work conference. 

That said, hat-trick hero Matt Ellis was more than a capable stand in and youngster Adam Bell shone in his second appearance for the first team.

Riera said:

"It's great to be facing Auckland United in the last game of the Northern League not just for what it means to us but because its a great fixture.

"Auckland United gave us a very good test at Kiwitea Street and we expect much the same tomorrow. 

"The extra motivation is we know we could go the whole season unbeaten which would be a great achievement.

"The reality is though that we never set or planned to go the season undefeated, we aimed to make sure we could be in a position to win competitions.

"Breaking a record is not winning a competition, it is a consequence of consistent team performances, which is always nice and a good reminder.

"It's good to have in the back of our head but we don't ruminate about it.

"We want to build a winning mentality and so we will keep doing what we are doing to create an environment of excellence.

"We've had a very, very tight schedule, so this is a good opportunity to rotate some players and give rest to others.

"Some players are deserving of starts and one who caught the eye on Wednesday was Matt Ellis.

"Matt has great technique, had a fantastic performance and is a great talent we are very aware of.

"For Matt and the other young players it is all about earning the right to play consistently at this level.

"I was very happy to see the performance of Matt and also Adam Bell, and also many others.

"For the Chatham Cup final, we have already started thinking about it, but you never really know what will happen in a game like that.

"You're always having to earn a starting slot in any game and the game in front of us is Auckland United so it is difficult to predict things about player fitness or team selection today.

"We're taking things day by day because the situation can change rapidly."

Auckland City FC are on the verge of history if they can complete the Northern League season undefeated.

Only one club has managed to do that previously when Eastern Suburbs finished the 1965 Northern League top tier season without a loss in a truncated 13-game campaign.

In 1994, North Shore United and Waitakere City each finished their Northern region Superclub campaigns without a defeat from 18 matches but both ended up either losing games in the Superclub Championship round or, in Waitakere City's case, the playoffs.

Metro FC finished their campaign undefeated in the Northern Superclub with 16 wins and six draws from 22 games and then went two games undefeated in the Superclub Championship round in 1996.

The only defeat that befell Metro FC that season came in a 2-1 home defeat to University in Round 1 of the Chatham Cup.

One player who may pass an interesting milestone is Sam Brotherton. Brotherton is in his second season with Auckland City FC and is set to make his 50th appearance, if selected.

Brotherton would become the 53rd player to reach the half century mark for the club from 211 players since 2004-05 season.

U-23 Preview

Auckland City FC U-23 and Auckland United U-23 also have a Dominion Road Derby showdown that could decide the destination of the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division league title.

Auckland City FC U-23 need to win or draw the game to prevent Birkenhead United U-23 leapfrogging them into top spot on the final day.

A win for Birkenhead United U-23 over Manukau United U-23 and a defeat for Auckland City FC U-23 would see the league title go over the Harbour Bridge for the first time. 

Auckland United U-23's also have several motivations to finish with a win, not least the opportunity to possibly finish second.

Auckland United U-23 trail Birkenhead United U-23 by a single point so lack no incentive of their own to deliver their best performance of the season.

Perhaps the cherry on that cake could be the added bonus to halt City's quest for a second consecutive title in front of their home support ahead of what promises to be a mouth-watering senior derby later in the afternoon.

View the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division league table here.

All matches in the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division's final round kick off at 12.30pm NZDT.


Match Details
Northern League
Saturday 3 September 2022
Auckland United v Auckland City FC
Keith Hay Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 3.00pm NZDT

AC: To be confirmed. 

Albert RIERA

AR1: Mark RULE
AR2: Shawn LIU

Auckland United F.C was formed in 2020 after a joint venture between neighbouring clubs Three Kings United and Onehunga Sports FC was approved by members in late 2019.

Three Kings United Football Club (TKU) was formed in 1997, through the amalgamation of Eden Football Club and The Mt Roskill Football Club. This amalgamation immediately created the largest football club in New Zealand and arguably the largest team sport club in New Zealand. The club has achieved 2400 registered players with over 1900 of those under the age of 18 in the past.

Overall the club engages with approximately 7,000 people in the Roskill, Eden, Mt Albert community, including friends and families of playing members.

Born in Crawley, England, José Figueira has a storied career in the game in New Zealand having led Team Wellington to the New Zealand Football Championship and its one and only OFC Champions League title in 2018. He led Auckland City FC to two NZFC league titles and two Charity Cups and also coached Central United FC to a Northern Premier Division title six years ago. He won both the OFC U-17 and U-16 Championships as coach of New Zealand.

26 year old Michael den Heijer is well known to everyone at Kiwitea Street after two separate spells with Auckland City FC that led to successes in both the New Zealand Football Championship and OFC Champions League. Michael has played as a defender or defensive midfielder and his travels have seen him play in the Netherlands (NEC, SV DFS), Germany (1.FC Kleve) and Japan (Kashiwa Reysol). He is a former New Zealand age-group international.

29.05.21 v. Auckland United FC (H) won 3-1
28.05.22 v. Auckland United FC (H) won 2-0


26.03.22 v. Birkenhead United (H) lost 0-1
02.04.22 v. Manukau United (A) won 4-0
09.04.22 v. Western Springs (H) won 2-1
15.04.22 v. Eastern Suburbs (H) drew 1-1
18.04.22 v. Takapuna (A) won 3-1
23.04.22 v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 2-1
01.05.22 v. Waiheke United (A) drew 1-1
07.05.22 v. Melville United (A) lost 0-2
14.05.22 v. North Shore United (H) won 4-2
21.05.22 v. Bay Olympic (A) won 4-1
28.05.22 v. Auckland City FC (A) lost 0-2
04.06.22 v. Birkenhead United (A) drew 1-1
11.06.22 v. Manukau United (H) won 4-1
25.06.22 v. Western Springs (A) won 3-1
02.07.22 v. Eastern Suburbs (A) won 1-0
16.07.22 v. Takapuna (H) drew 3-3
23.07.22 v. Hamilton Wanderers (A) won 5-3
06.08.22 v. Waiheke United (H) won 7-0
13.08.22 v. Melville United (H) won 2-0
20.08.22 v. North Shore United (A) won 6-0
27.08.22 v. Bay Olympic (H) won 5-0
03.09.22 v. Auckland City FC (H)

06.06.22 v. West Hamilton United (H) won 9-0
18.06.22 v. Cambridge (H) won 6-1
09.07.22 v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) lost 2-3 AET

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