Dropped points leave side with plenty of work
Auckland City Football Club has a lot to do in the ASB Premiership after being held to a 1-1 draw by Hawke’s Bay United on Sunday.
The two points dropped in that match have left Ramon Tribulietx’s side seven points adrift of leaders Waitakere United. City will host Waitakere from 1pm at Kiwitea St this Saturday.
Sunday’s match at Bluewater Stadium saw referee John Rowbury needing to be replaced at halftime after a collision with Hawke’s Bay defender Stephen Hindmarch.
Debutant official Gareth Sheehan stepped up to replace Rowbury and must have thought all his Christmases had come at once judging by the number of cards he issued in the second spell.
Richard Gillespie saved at the feet of Manel Exposito to ensure the scoreline didn’t change in the opening 45 minutes.
But City had just 12 minutes more to wait before opening the scoring. Pedro Cecilia Garcia completed a composed move with a considered finish to put the visitors in charge.
Hawke’s Bay are made of stern stuff this season and 20 minutes from time they drew level via the head of Jarrod Smith which set up a somewhat feisty finale.
Both teams’ hopes of O-League football next season may well rest on winning the ASB Premiership Grand Final.
Waitakere’s advantage means they can afford to lose to Auckland in Saturday’s ‘‘Super City Derby’’ providing they win their other matches. Their lead leaves them poised to finish the round-robin phase of the ASB Premiership in first place.
Saturday’s match is the first of two home games in four days for Auckland.
They entertain Team Wellington at 2pm on Waitangi Day in what is a must-win encounter for both teams.
The news is better for Auckland City’s ASB National Youth League team. They scored two stoppage time goals coming from behind to win 3-2 at Hawke’s Bay United on Sunday.
Marshall Gurney and Stephen Carmichael provided the late show for the Navy Blues after Tom Konusi had given City the lead in the shadows of the halftime whistle.
Aaron McFarland’s side also face a tough week. They host Waitakere at Kiwitea St on Sunday before heading to Waikato FC for a Waitangi Day encounter.
In women’s football, Football Ferns star Annalie Longo made trans-Tasman footballing history for herself on Sunday helping Sydney FC win Australia’s W-League competition.
The Three Kings United midfielder picked up a winner’s medal at the team ASB National Women’s Knockout Cup last September and four months on she has won the equivalent honour in Australian women’s club football.
Auckland City’s Manel Exposito
Auckland City coach