Auckland City 3, Southern United 1
Kiwitea Street, Auckland, January 10 2016
As with 2015, my first game of 2016 is at Kiwitea Street. To be honest though, this was a match I didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm for. I think it might be the first time I have ever blogged a Southern United game and there’s a reason for that. They don’t exactly have a reputation for being terribly competitive and so when they come to Auckland, the chances of seeing a close contest are seemingly quite slim. Especially when the venue is Kiwitea Street, and their opponents are Auckland City.
The last time a team from the Deep South were competitive at the citadel of Auckland club football was a 0-0 draw five years ago. Since then they haven’t come within two goals, and they entered this fixture on the bottom of the league table with just one win to their name – a 1-0 victory over the Weenix at Forsyth Barr Stadium back in November. So it’s safe to say that I wasn’t expecting much from this fixture.
But I was wrong – as I so often am!
The plucky Southerners really made a genuine contest out of this, although that was partly due to a fair few missed opportunities in front of goal from a rusty Auckland City attack.
The Blues took their obligatory lead in the first half, but it took them until the last ten minutes of the opening 45 to do it. Up until that point, there were a lot of duffed shots, pained expressions from those who had done the duffing, some desperate defending, and a good dollop of nice work between the sticks from Southern keeper Tom Batty.
Despite a few raids into their opponents’ third by Southern, there only looked like one team with a realistic chance of troubling the scorers. But despite that I decided to stay at the Mt Albert Road end of the ground for the second half, knowing full well I’d miss a few goals but keen to grab a few shots of rare Southern attacks and maybe one or two of ACFC defender Jesse Edge at the request of his mum! Wrong again! What I hadn’t bargained for was Southern pouncing on an Auckland City defensive blunder and grabbing an unlikely equaliser!
I’ll admit it, for a while there the 1-1 score line did have me daydreaming blissfully about shock upsets, openings at the summit of the league for WaiBOP to triumphantly sail through, and witty one liners that might possibly, finally, win me the glorious recognition I desperately crave – the elusive ‘tweet of the week’ on the New Zealand Football ASB Premiership infographic. That’s right, Pulitzer be damned, Nobel no thanks, tweet of the week is the reward I really covet!
But just as I dreamed up a hilarious sure-fire winner, Emiliano Tade came up with one of his own. His 63rd minute strike all but ended the dream, and after that Clayton Lewis’s 77th minute goal killed it off completely, poured petrol on the ruins and set them alight. Southern were quite simply dead from that point on and the game meandered to a conclusion with little else to report unless you like reading about back passes. And even if you do I can’t summons up the energy to write about them so that’s that.
And with that, my 2016 year of live football is underway! What wonders does it have instore for me next??? Southern United again on Thursday actually… Here’s the thing though, truth be told, if they play like they did against Auckland City they might well give WaiBOP a real scare.
What is it they say about tempting fate? I think I need to go outside, turn around three times and spit… or curse… Curse and spit. Both! See ya!
Categories: NZ Men's National League
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.