By Ezra Whall
5th vs 3rd isn’t usually an awe inspiring game, but when you look at the likes of Emeliano Tade, Mario Illich, Takuya Iwata, Ian Hogg or Micheal Gwyther, it’s worth the treck through the Mt Albert back streets to Kiwitea Street on a Sunday Afternoon to see Aucklnad Cit- I mean Central United take on the Glenfield Rovers.
The spectacle brought together all the football icons: former All White and long-time Central player Ivan Vicelich, Eastern Suburbs manager Malcolm McPherson, and that guy who sits on the fence and yells “Yellow, yellow!”…everyone.
I arrived just after kick off to see the two sides looking very cautious. Central were quite content on knocking it around one side, then coming out the other, then coming out the other, then switching it to the opposite wing. Which is exactly how the first goal came in the 30thish minute when Mario Illich on the left wing charged into the box through a few defenders before scuffing his shot. The ball fell to Emiliano Tade who slotted it past the goalkeeper’s near post.
The first half kind of simmered down after that. Central knocked it around and Glenfield looked a bit lethargic and were literally chasing the game. The fans in the stands were witness to some great on field banter though. Such classics as “AJ F***ing get over it!” – Glenfield goalkeeper to his defender AJ O’Toole. “Are you actually F***ing serious ref?” – Some Glenfield player. “I think that was the best F***ing flick I’ve ever done!” – Mario Illich to the Linesman.
Despite the banter I decided to walk around the grounds and check out the clubrooms just before half time. The rich history of the club showed with their rich tomato sauce which was slopped on to my hot chips. Chowing down on hot sauce, with a side of chips, I perused the past photos on the wall trying to spot players I knew, couldn’t find many (perhaps we run in different footballing circles).
I ventured back to find a better, non-bird-poo stained seat for the second half and eventually settled on a seat directly above Glenfield coach Danny Donegan in the hope of even more classic football banter. I was a little disapointed. Not a single swear word was heard from the Glenfield dug out, which was probably fair considering how they played in the second half.
Despite a hiccup coming in the defence, putting danger man Nicholas Zambrano in on goal as he slotted home, Glenfield looked like they had stepped up a gear. Maybe a bollocking from Danny at half time?
With the reverse result of losing 5-1 probably rearing its head in the minds of the Glenfield players’ minds, they pressed on and while Central’s wingers were looking menacing, Glenfield were solid in the middle of the park. Diego Olivares scored one of the best live goals I’ve ever seen, going as top right as you can go into Danyon Drake’s net.
After the goal, things got tense. Central knew they’d have a real battle on their hands now and Glenfield had their eye on another goal. Which eventually came from a substitute, Nathan Jury banging one in near post.
The match now had about fifteen minutes to go but I knew it was over ’cause Danny Donegan kept yelling out things like “take your time” or “just slow it down”. Which was an interesting approach when the momentum was in your team’s favour and it was 2-2, but hey I’m not a Premier League coach am I (not yet that is).
A great day out watching top flight football. More Sunday games please!
[Ezra Whall plays in goal for Glen Eden United in the AFF/NFF Conference]
Categories: NZ Northern Men's Premier
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.