Mangere United 1, Ellerslie 1
Centre Park, Auckland, July 2 2016
Leaving this until after Italy has been knocked out of the Euros by Germany was probably not a great idea. What might have been a nice, fluffy, positive piece of writing yesterday, may now turn out to be more melancholic that Eeyore after the Hundred Acre Wood has been napalmed…
None the less, life must go on…
Except to say this: SIMONE ZAZA!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING SON????
Ok, ok, it’s ok, I’m ok.
One group of fans who might be feeling even lower than me right now, could well be those of Mangere United. If they hadn’t lost all their competition points a few weeks ago for fielding an ineligible player, they would currently sit comfortably in upper mid-table with today’s opponents – Ellerslie. It’s for that reason that I thought this game might be a good one to check out this week. Two relatively even sides, with the added interest of seeing how the Mangere boys are coping with their setback.
The other option I was considering was to check out Mangere’s replacements in the Chatham Cup – Ngaruawahia – who (finally) played their first round tie vs Western Springs at Centennial Park. As I suspected though, that turned out to be a blood bath so I made the correct decision to stay in Auckland – even if this game wasn’t exactly 1982 Italy v Brazil either!
Things were a bit dire in places, although the encounter largely stuck to the standard Mangere script. I find with this South Auckland standard bearer they typically play quite an attacking game and look to create chances while their opponents sit back a bit, stay organised, and look for the inevitable brain fade at the back to capitalise on.
The first half was notable for three things. The first was a Mangere shot that rebounded off the crossbar and into the path of an attacking player with an open goal to aim at – but he sent his shot into the carpark. The second thing was Mangere finding the back of the net only for it to be ruled out due to a preceding foul. The third was the smell of something truly sumptuous being cooked in the stand that had me making a rather sharp beeline for the clubrooms at half time with the score still locked at nil apiece…
The magnificent aroma turned out to be emanating from a dish they told me was called “Chicken 65”, which they very kindly gifted me a punnet of to scoff during the break. Not only was it delicious and more than good enough to ensure that Mangere retains its Best Food in the Country title, but it also had more kick to it than both teams put together in the first forty five minutes of this game! A real winter warmer.
All the game’s scoring action occurred early in the second stanza. First it was Ellerslie who were guilty of a defensive blunder when Mangere’s Arnold Kochasira latched onto a stray back pass, rounded Jason Mann and poked home a well-deserved goal for the home side.
But their lead only lasted a few seconds. Straight from the restart, Ellerslie went down the other end and earned a penalty. Defender Ryan O’Sullivan did a Bonucci and converted from the spot to bring us back to all square – and that’s how it stayed for the rest of the game.
Mangere already had an uphill climb to avoid the drop to Division 2. It only gets harder after results like this when they had every opportunity to grab all three points!
Categories: NZ Northern Men's Division 1
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.