Dropped points leave side with plenty of work

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JEREMY RUANE

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

Ra­mon Tribu­li­etx

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