Play-off place se­cured

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JEREMY RUANE

Auck­land City FC be­came the first club to book a place in the ASB Premier­ship play-offs af­ter win­ning 2-1 against NZ Wan­der­ers on Sun­day.

It was their sec­ond win in three days, guar­an­tee­ing the Navy Blues a top-three fin­ish with two rounds re­main­ing.

City took South­ern United down 3-0 on Wai­tangi Day at Ki­witea St.

Goals ei­ther side of the half-hour mark from Alex Fener­idis and Dar­ren White earned Auck­land an ad­van­tage they never looked like los­ing.

Sam Bur­foot’s strike 16 min­utes from time was the out­stand­ing mo­ment of a sec­ond half in which Fener­idis was de­nied a sec­ond goal by the off­side flag.

The Wai­tangi Day win­ners car­ried their form into Sun­day’s ac­tion, again on home turf, against NZ Wan­der­ers.

The bot­tom-placed team struck the cross­bar twice in­side the first four min­utes thanks to Daniel Bowkett and Alex de Jong.

The at­tempts rid Auck­land of any ideas that this would be a Sun­day stroll and the Navy Blues stepped up their game ac­cord­ingly.

Dar­ren White scored City’s first goal of the match af­ter a de­fen­sive mix-up af­forded him a tap-in.

Emil­iano Tade took full ad­van­tage of fur­ther short­com­ings in Wan­der­ers’ rear­guard to dou­ble City’s lead just

the

half-hour af­ter mark.

But the visi­tors weren’t the only team to be found want­ing in de­fence with a Ta­mati Wil­liams clear­ance giv­ing de Jong a goal five min­utes into the sec­ond spell.

City looked to re­store their two-goal cush­ion with Chris Bale’s free kick rat­tling the post in stop­page time.

Auck­land could clinch the mi­nor premier­ship on Sun­day with a win against South­ern United at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium.

Rough game: Auck­land’s Dar­ren White gets a push in the back from Wan­der­ers player Deklan Wynne.

Pho­tos: PHOTOSPORT.CO.NZ

It's in: Emil­iano Tade cel­e­brates scor­ing City’s sec­ond goal of the Sun­day match.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click lat­est edi­tion to see more pho­tos.

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