City edge Dominion Road Derby thriller

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 29 October 2023

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC are in a strong position to qualify for the National League Championship finals after a thrilling 3-2 Dominion Road Derby victory over Auckland United at a packed Kiwitea Street today.

Dylan Manickum gave City a bright start when he combined well with Angus Kilkolly to score the opener after just three minutes but hearts were in mouths when United struck both the post and crossbar in the space of sixty frantic seconds midway through the first half.

VIDEO - DYLAN MANICKUM GOAL

Kilkolly relaxed pulses for the home side when his excellent first touch in the penalty box allowed him time to lash home a brilliant second beyond goalkeeper Mack Waite and the match seemed headed for a comfortable victory for Albert Riera's team.

That notion was popped when substitute Codey Phoenix headed beyond Conor Tracey at close range after former Japan international Hideto Takahashi whipped in a superb low free-kick that allowed the youngster to steer the ball home on the hour mark.

VIDEO - ANGUS KILKOLLY 1st GOAL

Kilkolly, who has rediscovered his scoring form after a quiet winter, nabbed a second ten minutes later to restore City's two goal buffer and appeared to have netted another, in what would have been his 50th goal for the club, only for referee Matt Conger to disallow the goal for a foul on Waite.

Nerves set in for City late on when Fumiya Ito's near post header from a United corner beat Tracey a minute into additional time but the Navy Blues held on.

Riera, in charge of City for the 85th time, was relieved to emerge with a victory in a game that threw up a number of permutations throughout an entertaining 90 minutes.

"I'm extremely happy because we knew how hard today's game was going to be and we've got three points. Winning was our focus and we knew we had to give everything especially against Auckland United.

VIDEO - ANGUS KILKOLLY 2nd GOAL

"We always make it very hard for ourselves in games like these and it became a game of very different momentums. We started very well with Dylan Manickum's goal and we played very good football and that changed and United took control of the game which can happen in the National League.

"When we led 2-0, I felt we were in clear control of the game then we showed what happens when you switch off, you pay the price and its 2-1. After we conceded, United had their tails up and we had to go through a spell where we were being dominated.

"I felt we took control of the game at 3-1 and I'm very happy with how clinical we were in the attacking third and thanks to that quality we got the victory and the three points," he said.

VIDEO - CODEY PHOENIX GOAL

In other games, Wellington Olympic kept up the chase for a finals berth with a tight 2-1 home win over Petone thanks to goals by Gianni Bouzoukis and Gavin Hoy while Jack O'Connor was on target for the visitors.

Christchurch United stay in third place a point behind Olympic after a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Napier City Rovers at the United Sports Centre in Christchurch.

Jonathan McNamara gave Bill Robertson's team a 1-0 half time lead only for Eddie Wilkinson and Matt Tod-Smith to score at either end of the second half to deliver a valuable win for the Chatham Cup holders.

Manurewa moved into fourth place after they thumped Cashmere Technical 5-3 in South Auckland in dramatic circumstances. Garbhan Coughlan set Technical up for a memorable afternoon with two first half goals only for Sean Leadley to strike twice for 'Rewa inside a crazy sixty seconds before the break.

Sammy Khan nudged the home side ahead on the hour mark before a brace by Boon Ozawa lifted Manurewa into a 5-2 lead. Tom Schwarz pulled a goal back late on for Technical to make it 5-3.

VIDEO - FUMIYA ITO GOAL

There was another eight goal thriller, this time in the capital, when Eastern Suburbs defeated Wellington Phoenix 5-3 at Fraser Park. Luis Toomey and Kingsley Sinclair each scored a double and Ryan Verney the other for the Lilywhites while Kaelin Nguyen, Joshua Tollervey and Oskar Van Hattum scored for the Wee Nix as Suburbs registered their first win of the National League Championship.

Auckland City FC's next game is away to Petone on Saturday 4 November 2023 in Wellington with the match kick-off set for 2.30pm and broadcast live on FIFA+.

Ends

Match Result
Sunday 29 October 2023
National League Championship Round 6
Auckland City FC 3 (Dylan MANICKUM 3', Angus KILKOLLY 67', 76')
Auckland United 2 (Codey PHOENIX 57', Fumiya ITO 90'+1')
HT: 2-0.

AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Christian GRAY, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 9. Angus KILKOLLY (17. Oliver COLLOTY 76'), 10 Dylan MANICKUM (20. Emiliano TADE 76'), 14. Jordan VALE, 19. Liam GILLION (12. Regont MURATI 22'), 21. Takuya IWATA, 25. Michael DEN HEIJER (22. Tong ZHOU 69').

SUBS NOT USED: 24. Joe WALLIS (GK).

COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
TECHNICAL: Adria CASALS
LOGISTICS: Keith COTON
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE

 

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