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Get plover it

Auckland City 2, Waitakere United 2
Kiwitea Street, Auckland, January 7 2018

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Yesterday I picked the official football calendar back up again where I had left it before Christmas, at Kiwitea Street, where precious little seemed to have changed in the past two weeks.

Despite my giving groundsman Tom a gentle pre-game ribbing about the sprinklers (which were out of control for a time during the youth league game on December 16) we still ended up with a couple of minutes’ delay while the Bellagio Fountains in the middle of the pitch refused to do what they were told.

And the wildlife was still providing a beautiful distraction from the football.

The Agapanthus in my favourite photography spot were looking a bit bedraggled, and any butterflies that might still have been harvesting their nectar were probably torn to shreds by the recent storm. But in their stead was a very beautiful and very brave spur-winged plover (thanks to Franklin United’s chief ornithologist Jim Evans for the ID) who refused to budge from the playing surface!

The players might have been forgiven for feeling a bit put out that my camera lens was aimed at the bird instead of them when play came down to the southern end the first couple of times. I thought it might make an interesting pic if it had to move in a hurry (or if it didn’t move and we ended up with some plover pavlova) but instead it just serenely waddled out of the way, which was a bit boring.

I was in a crappy mood, because I had dragged myself out of bed at 6am to watch my favourite team squander a numerical advantage thanks to a dodgy first half red card and lose to Atalanta. Roma losses don’t usually get me down this much but there have now been a string of bad results and I hate the inevitable collective fan meltdown that always follows in these situations.

Agapanthus Corner is a great place to sulk, blending into the scenery where nobody can really talk to me while unfolding right in front of my eyes was what some describe as the premier fixture on NZ football calendar.

Personally I rate the Chatham Cup final ahead of it, even though when the Super City Derby is played at Kiwitea Street the venue is certainly vastly superior to North Harbour Stadium.

And last year I wrote about Waiheke v Fencibles – a top of the table NRFL Division 2 – being superior to the cup final, and it certainly was for atmosphere alone. Almost as if responding to this, the 248 Service Crew were singing “we’re Auckland not Argentina” yesterday. If that was a dig at Waiheke’s ultras it’s probably best I keep my thoughts on that to myself.

But setting aside silly arguments about who is the prettiest fish in our very small New Zealand puddle, nobody should deny that an afternoon at Kiwitea Street watching Auckland City play their most disliked local rivals is always worth a look and this occasion was no exception.

Not many teams go a goal down to the Navy Blues and come away with a result from there, but that’s what Waitakere managed to do after Emiliano Tade gave the home side a 29th minute lead. Horace James snatched the equaliser shortly after the second half got underway then Keegan Linderboom slotted a penalty nine minutes later to give the visitors the lead. After a couple or six gilt edged opportunities for Auckland City to equalise were spurned, Callum McCowatt finally levelled things back up again in the 67th minute.

When the final whistle blew a good sized crowd had witnessed a highly entertaining game with an end result that keeps things interesting at the top of the league.

I’ve got my eye on Waitakere v Canterbury next weekend, which will be a tough battle for the fourth playoff spot and a chance for me to resume my eternal quest to win a coffee machine! There is no wildlife at Trusts, unless you count sandflies, but on the plus side Roma aren’t playing that morning so I SHOULD be in a better mood at least…

Categories: NZ Men's National League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

3 replies

  1. I was a bit worried about the Plover , he didn’t seem the slightest bit concerned by what was going on around him, Must say very surprised at the final result, AFC looked the better team…

  2. “If that was a dig at Waiheke’s ultras it’s probably best I keep my thoughts on that to myself.”
    So when the City fans chant “Argentina! Argentina!” presumably, according to your logic, that is them praising the Waiheke “ultras”?
    Song pre dates Waiheke by about 5 years. Give your head a wobble.

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