Weekend Round Up

FROM NZ FOOTBALL:

Auckland City remain the only undefeated team in the ISPS Handa Premiership after they secured an important 1-0 win over crosstown rivals Eastern Suburbs today in Auckland.

The Lily Whites, who were looking for their first victory over Auckland City, should have taken the lead on their home turf of Riverhills Park when Andre De Jong won a penalty in the 15th minute. The All Whites attacking midfielder stepped up to the spot but was denied by a quality save from Auckland City’s highly-regarded keeper Enaut Zubikarai.

The Navy Blues’ new signing Dylan Manickum delivered the decisive moment of the game when he scored his second goal in as many weeks. The Futsal White with a shaggy ponytail regathered his feet from outside the box and went on a fine solo run before finishing with his left foot past Suburbs’ keeper Andrew Withers.

The home team came back into the game and believed they had levelled the scores in the 65th minute when skipper Tim Payne delivered a powerful header at the back post from an Elijah Just cross. The All Whites midfielder was certain the ball had crossed the line, but the match officials saw it differently and it was recorded as another fine save from the Spaniard Zubikarai.

Goal-scorer Manickum said the team were pleased with their perfect start to the season.

“We knew that it was going to be tough today against another top-of-the table team and we knew that they were going to come out firing with loads of energy,” he said. “We are really happy to come away with the win.”

Payne was frustrated with the loss, but said the performance was solid against the defending champions.

“I think it was pretty tight overall,” said Payne, who has played 18 ‘A’ internationals for the All Whites. “We had one lapse in concentration with defending which led to Dylan’s goal. So if you take that out, we also had our chances. I had one cleared off the line and a missed penalty, so I think there are a lot of positives to come from what was a tight match.”

Down in the capital, two-time ISPS Handa Premiership champions Team Wellington continued their winning form with a 3-1 victory over Southern United at David Farrington Park.

The Jose Figueira-coached team opened the scoring in spectacular style when Mario Ilich hit a long range shot from the halfway line which went over the head of Southern keeper Liam Little in the 29th minute.

Paul O’Reilly’s team, who are looking to improve on their fifth-place finish from last season, bounced back when Adbulla Al-Kalisy scored on the end of a long throw-in 10 minutes later. The game was evenly poised at 1-1 at halftime, but the hosts found another gear in the second half with goals from Jack-Henry Sinclair and Nathanael Hailemariam putting the result to bed.

Figueira was pleased with the performance which saw Team Wellington record four successive wins. Team Wellington and Auckland City are both on 12 points with the defending champions having a game in hand.

“We are delighted with the win and to keep the run going,” said Figueira. “The most important part of the performance was our discipline, our focus and our concentration. We have teams come here and look to sit deep and frustrate us, but I am really pleased with the way we stuck to our plan and trusted each other.”

 

 

Also in the capital, the Wellington Phoenix Reserves looked like they were going to secure their first three points of the season when they took a 2-0 lead over the Canterbury United Dragons. New Zealand U-20 rep Willem Ebbinge scored twice in three minutes in the first half as the Phoenix Reserves took control of the game, but a strike in first half injury time from Stephen Hoyle gave the Dragons a lifeline.

 

The Willy Gerdsen-coached Dragons scored through a looping header from defender Tom Schwarz and then Adam Thurston scored in the final five minutes on the end of a counter-attack to record an impressive come-from-behind victory.

Hamilton Wanderers also returned to winning ways when they scored twice in the second half to overcome a 10-man Hawke’s Bay United side 2-0. The Ricki Herbert-coached team, who were the surprise joint-leaders after Match Week Three, bounced back from a loss to Southern United last week with an important win at Bluewater Stadium in Napier.

Jordan Shaw opened the scoring in the 55th minute when a long-range effort was parried away by the Hawke’s Bay United keeper Mackenzie Waite only for Shaw to head into an open net.

In the 70th minute, Hawke’s Bay United midfielder Cameron Lindsay was sent off for tripping a Wanderers player on the edge of the area. Papua New Guinea international Tommy Semmy went on to score his third goal of the season to keep pace with the league frontrunners.

 

Five-time champions Waitakere United continued their resurgence with a 3-0 victory over Tasman United at Trusts Arena in West Auckland.

The Chris Milicich-coached team, who got off to a forgettable start to the season with two straight losses, scored three goals in 10 minutes to record their second straight win.

 

Chilean Eder Franchini Pasten opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Solomon Islands’ rep Andrew Abba came off the bench to score twice in five minutes to secure a comfortable win.

 

The early signs of the ISPS Handa Premiership indicate that the race for the semi-final spots in March is going to be closely contested.

ISPS Handa Premiership Match Week Five Results

Hawke’s Bay United 0
Hamilton Wanderers 2 (Jordan Shaw 54’, Tommy Semmy 73’)
HT: 0-0

Team Wellington 3 (Mario Ilich 29’, Jack-Henry Sinclair 60’, Nathanael Hailemariam 72’)
Southern United 1 (Abdulla Al-Kalisy 38’)
HT: 1-1

Waitakere United 3 (Eder Franchini Pasten pen 70’, Andrew Abba 75’, 80’)
Tasman United 0
HT: 0-0

Wellington Phoenix Reserves 2 (Willem Ebbinge 24’, 27’)
Canterbury United Dragons 3 (Stephen Hoyle 45+1’, Tom Schwarz 61’, Adam Thurston 85’)
HT: 2-1

Eastern Suburbs 0
Auckland City 1 (Dylan Manickum 54’)
HT: 0-0

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