Words: Nick Brown
Saturday 12 November 2022
PAPAKURA, New Zealand - The Futsal Navy Blues are off to a mixed start in the Ford Futsal SuperLeague after a 5-3 loss to East Coast Bays and 5-3 win over Bay of Plenty of Surge at Bruce Pulman Arena.
Josh Margetts and Steve Ashby gave City the perfect start in their clash with East Coast Bays scoring early before debutant Shaun Morgan lashed home a second. East Coast Bays halved the deficit which saw City lead 2-1 at halftime.
East Coast Bays came out of the traps at a fast clip after the restart and scored three goals to carry off a 5-3 win.
Coach Nic Downes was calm as he analysed the game.
"We had good momentum in the first half but that changed after they got their goal. In the second half they had better momentum than us and we never quite reached the same level.
"I thought we scored some really good goals and created a lot of good chances in the first half and then we did score a goal with the fifth man.
"The red card at the end made things tricky for us but my opinion on that doesn't matter as the referee has made the call and we have to accept it.
"It made the back end of the game difficult for us but we'll want to look at this game and chat with the team, tidy up a few things and go again," he said.
The day ended positively for the Futsal Navy Blues with a 5-3 win over Bay of Plenty Surge.
A double by Sean McIntee and one each by Shaun Morgan, Kern Platts-Mills and Josh Margetts made sure the defending champions go into day two at the Bruce Pulman Arena in good spirits.
Elias Bileh was positive after the victory.
"We had to regroup afer the defeat this morning and the team played well. We had to look closely at how we wanted to play against Bay of Plenty and they did put us under pressure.
"But I think it was important to get a result and give our young players an opportunity to get a feel for playing for Auckland City FC.
"We were a lot more clinical in this game than we have been and we scored some very nice goals, some very good Futsal goals.
"I think we defended well with the fifth man and we didn't concede and we broke that fifth man down quite well.
"Vaughan kept us in the game especially at the end of the second half with some nice split saves and block saves that kept our lead.
"The important thing is if you concede one of those chances then in Futsal the whole momentum can shift and Vaughan deserves praise and the goalkeeper union.
"It's all go tomorrow and we'll regroup tonight, have a rest and came back firing and hopefully target six points," Bileh said.
Sean McIntee echoed Bileh's sentiments.
"It was a mixed bag from us today with the defeat this morning even though we were close but couldn't pull out a result.
"We redeemed ourselves in the afternoon and got a good win and it was important to see a few new players get a debut for Auckland City FC.
"We are more comfortable going into tomorrow's game after the win over Surge.
"It's always good to get a couple of goals and I think it helped settle us down a bit in the second half.
"I was very lucky to have two great assists for the goals. I was happy with how I performed and how the team performed in the second game.
"Getting the three points was important. Rapids have always been strong so we've got to be up for that one and Surge will want to get something more out of our rematch tomorrow.
"We've got keep our heads up and keep going," McIntee said.
Ford Futsal SuperLeague
Match Day 1
Saturday 12 November 2022
Auckland City FC 3-5 East Coast Bays
Waikato Rapids 10-5 Bay of Plenty Surge
Bay of Plenty Surge 3-5 Auckland City FC
East Coast Bays 6-3 Waikato Rapids
Match Day 2
Sunday 13 November 2022
East Coast Bays v Bay of Plenty Surge - 10am NZDT
Auckland City FC v Waikato Rapids - 11.30am NZDT
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium