Battle of Bledisloe (now with Flare)

Franklin Utd vs Ellerslie AFC – Bledisloe Park @ 3pm (26/08/2017)

The penultimate game of the season saw two of the bottom three teams in NRFL Division One Football clash at Pukekohe’s Bledisloe Park.  Franklin Utd who were in a simular position last season and managed to win several games on this very pitch, including the same fixture at about the same time last season.

This particular game saw Ellerslie drawn right into the relegation fight with the home side Franklin only sitting 1 point behind before the start of the game – and with only 1 more game for each club before the end of the season stakes were high.

Before all that the Reserves played out a fair amount of drama in their game – a match that saw two game ending injuries, 13 stitches, two penalties and two red cards.

Heading into this game the Ben Fletcher led Reserves were sitting in 2nd place level on points with Meville United but behind by over a handful of goals – the league title looked like it was going South as Melville didn’t look like tripping up anytime soon.

Since the First Team were in a bit of a perilous state as well, players were pushed up for First Team duty leaving the Reserves a little light on numbers on the ground – however we were able to draft in Raihan after a week off, Sean recovered from his ankle knock to start the game, Tavis made his comeback from suspension and injury, and Ben Shaw came back into the side after being ineligble in the cup last weekend.

So shorn of all the central strikers who had contributed between them 29 goals of our total of 68, we had to employ Ben Shaw as our leading man – a role the natural centreback had actually played several times two seasons ago for the First Team with decent results.

Raihan provided the pace down our left flank while the flexible John filled in on the right wing.  This left Aaron, Victor and Monju to contest the middle of the park.  Sam and Jack started in our fullback slots and skipper Mike Glenny was partnered by Tavis who normally plays at fullback but is more than adequete at centrehalf as well.

It only took 7 minutes of action before the referee had to get the notebook out and mark a goalscorer as Ben Shaw smashed a header powerfully into the Franklin net to open his account for the season.

Things turned a little sour not so long after that as Sean bravely dived at the feet of a Franklin player to collect a ball, but was caught by a stray boot on the forehead – which opened up a deep gash that would require 13 stitches later that afternoon at the Pukekohe A&E.  That unfortunate turn of events meant Coach Ben Fletcher donned the gloves and in the process has now played in Goal, Defence, Midfield and on the wing this season – just need striker next week to complete the set.

Things then got even worse when John Murphy had to limp off after getting his ankle badly kicked, his departure in the 22nd minute was only worsened by the referee somehow mistakenly awarding him a yellow card three minutes later according to the team sheet.

So halftime came and Franklin Reserves had battled well and while the two injuries had blunted us a little the high line played by the Franklin Reserves had made forward play very troublesome.

With Lachlan now on in place of John we had pace on both wings, which were also the best parts of the pitch, so we focused our attacks down the sides and tried to avoid the offside trap.  One such raid lead to Ben Shaw being fouled in the box and he picked himself up and slammed home the penalty to double his tally and our lead.

At 2-0 we rolled our last two subs on with Sam Twigg and Karar Sohrabi entering the game, and on the 78th minute Ben Shaw was again able to pick and place the ball on the spot, this time after Sam Twigg had been fouled – and he made no mistake grabbing his hat-trick.

At this stage Franklin had only 10 men as Devon Andrews had departed the game on the 55th minute mark having conceeded a 2nd bookable offence – and very shortly after our 3rd goal a second Franklin player was sent for an early shower after he committed a yellow card tackle and then recieved a 2nd yellow ticket straight after that for some non-verbal dissent.

With only 9 men on the field it was no surprise that we were able to capatilise and score a 4th goal and there was no more obvious candidate than Man of the Moment Ben Shaw as he swept in his 4th goal to lock the game all up.

A handy little win in trying circumstances – but a win that was made all the sweeter as news trickled through that Manukau were able to draw 1-1 with Melville in the Reserves which meant we were back with our necks infront in the title race, with only Oratia standing in our way this coming weekend.

This meant we all gathered in anticipation for the First Team game around Bledisloe #2, quite a large crowd formed, as Ellerslie members young and…. older.  All came out to see if we could pull off the win to make us safe.

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The Reserves made themselves at home on the bank behind Jason’s goal in the first half, complete with vuvuleza’s and ready to cheer our lads home, unfortunately a fired up Franklin team had other ideas in an action packed first half!!

These tweets may give you some idea of how much Franklin threw at us in the first half:
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We were probably quite lucky that we came out only 1 down at halftime, although we did have a few chances of our own just after Franklin scored but Andy Wallace’s shot was well saved by Pascoe in goal for Franklin.

Second half we came out and played a bit more direct and seemed to deal with Franklin’s raids a little better, however a lapse in concentration left Franklin with the opportunity to double their lead early in the second half and they took it.

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From there we threw a lot at the home sides goal, but we generally found Pascoe a hard object to beat, and we missed a few other chances that could have been converted.

He saved an excellent header from substitute Joe Junge which was heading top corner, before saving a point blank follow up from Art before his defence came to the party and blocked a third attempt – another great save to his left which saw the ball diverted onto the post from a excellent free kick from Sangster made the crowd gasp.

Finally with 8 minutes left we were able to beat him as Sangster got around the fullback and cut inside the centreback to drill a low shot past the previously unbeatable custodian.  That gave us a glimmer of hope that we could steal a draw and put us in a pretty strong position for the last game of the season, however it was not to be and we couldn’t find a second goal despite our efforts.

GAME DETAILS:

RESERVES

FRANKLIN UTD: 1-Turkington, 5-Andrews, 6-Vaughn, 8-Rowe, 2-Sonneveld, 7-Coster, 17-Bond, 14-Nota, 10-Lindsay, 13-Nawal Singh, 9-Hatch
Subs Not Used: 18-Petersen
Goals: n/a
Cards: Andrews (41′, 55′), Nota (60′), Lindsay (17′), Nawal Singh (80′, 80′), Bent (78′)
*12-Bent came on as was given a card but there is no indication of what time or who for.

ELLERSLIE AFC: 45-Dartnall (32-Fletcher 11′), 39-Glenny, 21-Gravatt, 35-Christensen, 33-Rathbone, 30-Ganescu, 41-A.Anthony (2-S.Twigg 61′), 26-Shohei, 37-Azim (27-Sohrabi 75′), 4-Murphy (18-Woods-Davidson 22′), 28-Shaw
Subs Not Used: n/a
Goals: Shaw (7′, 55′(p), 78′(p), 89′)
Cards: Murphy (25′), Christensen (33′)

FIRST TEAM

FRANKLIN UTD: 1-Pascoe, 11-Megert, 4-Thompson, 6-Burdon, 10-McCoy (9-Abbott 61′), 12-Lamborn, 14-Rickard, 15-S.Kumar, 17-Fifi’i (13-K.Kumar 82′), 18-Reo (7-Lindsay 80′), 5-Woolnough
Subs Not Used: 22-Turkington
Goals: Reo (21′), Rickard (47′)
Cards: Woolnough (90+2′), Abbott (90+3′)

ELLERSLIE AFC: 25-Mann, 8-Scott (11-Witteveen 75′), 36-Priestley, 16-Ljungberg (5-Horgan 59′), 15-Poelman, 17-Benefield, 19-Waters, 14-Twigg, 40-Corbett, 20-Crawford, 24-Wallace (44-Junge 69′)
Subs Not Used: 1-Huysmans, 10-Barkley
Goals: Crawford (82′)
Cards: Waters (37′), Corbett (89′), Horgan (70′)

 

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Ellerslie vs Melville: Performance – Check, Bottle – Check, Points – TBA

Ellerslie AFC vs Melville United, Michaels Ave Reserve @ 3pm (29/07/2017)

 Just like the reserves earlier this was a tight contest, and it was the third one of the season also – however while the Chatham Cup game at Michaels Ave was kind of a tight game the first clash at Gower was a bit of a blowout.

It meant we had plenty of extra motivation for this game as we stepped into the business end of the season needing at least 6 points to keep ourselves clear of relegation issues, and that campaign had not started well with a poor first half against Shore last weekend.

However this was a new week and almost a new team as Luca, Josh A and Joe dropped out due to injury and Brennen and Dylan were unavailable due to other commitments.  This meant promotions to the starting lineup for Freddie, Alex W, Adam B, Adam S, Andy W and Mike Glenny with Callum Waters dropping to the bench where he was joined by Alex Clark and Sangster who were returning from injury, while Tavis was promoted up to cover the fullbacks for the first time this season.

The Melville team had changed a bit from when we last saw them as well, with George Curry back in the UK and no Liam Hayes. Bailey Webster (Jason’s favourite player) was also missing, as was Stafford Dowling.  Steven Holloway who hadn’t played against us in the two previous games was back from injury and Jama Boss had transferred over from Wanderers between the last game and this one.

Still a pretty experienced team with Aaron Scott and Robbie Greenhalgh marshalling the troops and golden boot leader Marc Evans and the aforementioned Holloway orchestrating all the attacks and being supported well by the speedy Eric Seekie and Jama Boss.

Through the week we had worked on our defensive shape and organisation, I think we have the ability in individual defenders to do the job at this level but we have not been cohesive as units enough this season and that has cost us.  That combined with a higher turnover rate that we need has contributed to not locking in many clean sheets this season.

It was pleasing then to see in this game that we had some defensive resolve, right from the front of the park where Alex did a good job splitting the centrebacks and making them play down one side to the back two who worked well together to minimise the gaps between them and their teammates – Sam Wilkinson probably hit the nail on the head in the aftermatch speech when he said we were hard to break down, and that’s from a team who have been in free scoring mode most of the season.

If we are being 100% honest Melville had chances they probably should have buried and Jason made some great saves, but the point was we frustrated them with our defensive efforts to the point they were snatching at chances a little.

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We could have made it even harder for them in the first half as we had three opportunities to take the lead, with the most clear a one on one chance to Adam Barkley who had his effort saved by the impressive Max Tommy.

We had a goal before the game to reach halftime with a clean sheet and we almost achieved it, just a little bit of switching off on a suspected offside that Melville reacted first to and when a fine cross in from our left hand side landed in the vicinity of Marc Evans we knew we were in trouble.  The expert goalscorer stretched out and got a toe to the cross, but that was enough to divert the ball into the far corner of the net and past the diving Mann in goal.

At halftime we had to replace Adam Barkley who was feeling ill, so Callum Waters came into the game in the high midfield role and Jordan Oosterhof moved out to the wing.  It was an interesting halftime break as we hadn’t played overly well in possession but we had defended well and probably deserved to go in level just on the basis of the work we had outputted – so a positive half with some work on’s to be looked at.

The second half we did manage to improve our in possession work slightly, but we still took no risks in areas where we could be hurt if we lost the ball and while we might have erred on the side of caution we generally tried to play in the right areas, and I think we might consider ourselves unlucky not to grab an equaliser as the game wore on.

Unfortunately on the 69th minute we lost Andy Dalton to a leg injury, Alex Clark came on to replace him in midfield and swapped with Callum to play as our highest midfielder, Alex is a noted striker from distance and had a few chances late in the game but unfortunately we couldn’t get past Tommy.

Alex Witteveen who had worked himself into the ground was replaced with 12 minutes to go with Sangster who took advantage of some tired legs in the Melville backline to create a few chances, but again Tommy with help from his backline pro’s in Scott and Greenhalgh did enough to mop up any chances we looked to exploit.

When the final whistle went neither team really celebrated – it was a game that resembled a war zone but neither team were really unhappy either, it was three points that was vital to Melville and it was proof of performance for Ellerslie against a team that getting points off was always going to be tricky.

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Next up for Ellerslie we have another tough challenge in Springs, but I think if we show the battle and desire we did in this game then Springs will have to earn every goal they get!


GAME DETAILS

ELLERSLIE AFC: 25-Mann, 39-Glenny, 8-Scott, 15-Poelman, 16-Ljungberg, 17-Benefield, 6-Dalton (28-Clark 69’), 9-Oosterhof, 10-Barkley (19-Waters 45’), 24-Wallace, 11-Witteveen (20-Crawford 78’)
Subs not used: RGK-Huysmans, 21-Gravatt
Goals: n/a
Cautions: n/a

MELVILLE UNITED: 1-Tommy, 3-Seekie (20-Searle 76’), 5-Scott, 7-Boss, 9-Holloway (13-Robb 69’), 10-Evans, 12-Hinchcliffe (2-Wisenewski 60’), 14-Greenhalgh, 15-O’Brien, 17-Steffert, 18-McIsaac
Subs not used: 21-Hanson
Goals: Evans (43’)
Cautions: n/a

 

Photo credit to Grant Stantiall – more images can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kiwicanary/sets/72157684230972484/

 

Ellerslie narrowly lose 6 point classic

Ellerslie AFC vs Melville Utd Reserves – Michaels Ave Reserve @ 12:30pm.  29/07/17

The third meeting between these two sides this season saw a narrow victory head the way of the visiting side by 1 goal (in a simular pattern to the first two games).

The result had bigger implications for the league table as 2nd placed Melville can now draw level with Ellerslie a win in their catchup game which is scheduled for the 19th of August against Oratia Utd.

In that scenario it will come down to goal difference if each of the teams are able to win their remaining fixtures, however Ellerslie definately have the tougher run in with Western Springs and Mt Albert Ponsonby coming up in the next two weeks.

In regards to this game Ellerslie came in confident of pulling off another victory against a tough Melville side, but had a few enforced changes with Adam Scott, Mike Glenny and Tavis Gravatt all being called up for first team duty – Joe Junge was out injured and Stefan Milosevic didn’t last long in the game either, coming off with a recurrence of his hip flexor issue.

It meant that Luke MacKay was drafted into the team for his second appearence of the season (with his previous appearence being against Melville in the NRFL Knockout Cup) and a first of the season from Raihan Azim who is back from US College.

Rowan was back in the team after a short holiday overseas, and Sam Twigg took a spot on the bench after completing his futsal committments in the past couple of weeks.

Normally the Reserves side are fast starters but Melville started much better and we were 2-0 down before we had started to play, there was no panic however as we continued to plug away at Melvile, with Lachlan looking particularly threatening when getting the ball facing forward.  It was one of those times that lead to our goal as Lachlan got around his fullback and delivered a low hard cross into the box which Rowan met with strong side foot contact and delighted the home crowd as the ball flew into the bottom corner, with the Melville GK unable to keep it out due to it’s power such was the timing of the strike.

The second half didn’t produce any further goals as Melville stuck to their defensive task well and Ellerslie pounded away trying to get a league vital equaliser but the Waikato side were determined not to have a repeat of the cup game when Ellerslie came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2.

Next up we have Western Springs in a game that will be crucial in the super tight race for the NRFL Reserves title.


GAME DETAILS:

ELLERSLIE AFC: 1-Huysmans, 38-Barbosa, 41-A.Anthony, 22-McLean (32-Fletcher 86′) 43-Milosevic (2-S.Twigg 21′), 13-Torrens, 26-Shohei, 30-Ganescu (14-A.Twigg 64′), 18-Woods-Davidson (37-Azim 64′), 40-Corbett, 4-Murphy (27-MacKay 82′)
Subs not used: n/a
Goals: Corbett (28′)
Cautions: Azim (90)

MELVILLE UNITED: 1-Hansen, 2-McMullan, 3-Williams, 4-Coulson (10-Glenister 69′), 5-Mouncher, 6-Katesmark (18-Shaw 80′), 7-Ven, 8-Olsen, 11-Viviani, 15-Bayliss (17-Raynel 60′), 16-Nooisen (14-Tipping 73′)
Subs not used: 13-Stevens
Goals: Viviani (6′, 16′)
Cautions: n/a

Reserves reverse result from 1st Round

North Shore Utd vs Ellerslie AFC Reserves at Allen Hill Stadium, 12:30pm – 22/07/17

This game was key for Ben Fletcher’s reserves as they turned up to Allen Hill Stadium to face up against the only team to beat them in the first round, and on their home patch it was going to be a hard slog.

There were also plenty of changes for the Reserves (just like the First Team) since their last game which was a cup quarter-final win over our neighbours Onehunga Sports.

Jack Rathbone won back a starting spot at rightback and Adam Scott claimed the left back spot, while Mike Glenny moved into centre back to cover for the missing Stefan Milosevic (who injured himself at training), partnering Mike at centre back for the first time this season was Dan McLean who was making his first steps in his comeback.

In midfield Monju and Victor combined with the high scoring John Murphy who had moved into a more preferred midfield role – up top Art Twigg combined with Ricky and Lachlan, who was making his first start of the season.

It didn’t take long however for the Reserves to hit a patch of form as Art Twigg smashed in a quality shot from outside the box, some clever technique as he hit the ball first time with a bit of an inside out action to slot the ball into the top right corner of the goal.  The keeper had no chance.

We pushed on keen to push home our advantage, and we were rewarded when young Jack Rathbone grabbed a poachers finish as he followed through after being involved in some sharp buildup play on our right hand side with Lachlan.  The ball ended up with Monju, whose sharp shot was not held well by the Shore keeper and Jack was there to apply the finish.

2-0 was the halftime score, and while it was not a locked in victory for the away side yet the lads were confident they could kick on in the second half – and that’s just what they did as Monju in the thick of the action again won a slightly contestable penalty when he was taken down by the Shore GK when he was already out of play (the ball was in play still), but John Murphy made no mistake as he popped home his 9th goal of the season and extended his league scoring streak to 4 games.

It was early in the half to score the 3rd goal and from that point (50th minute) Shore looked to restore some pride and stay in the race for the league title, and they got some reward for their efforts in the 68th minute as James Atkinson grabbed a goal off the back of some concerted pressure from the home side.

Truth be told Lloyd had been pretty heavily involved in this game, with a couple of crucial saves in the first half and as an extra playing out option from the back, however he was keen not to concede another so he rallied the troops together with skipper Mike Glenny to make sure defensively we didn’t cough up another goal.

Josh Torrens, Tavis Gravatt, Sam Christensen and Karar Sohrabi all made appearances off the bench to keep our energy levels up and help us close out the game.

A very important win as we head into a crucial 6 point game against Melville Utd next weekend before further tough games against Western Springs and Mt Albert Ponsonby, with a cup Semi-Final against Birkenhead crammed in there somewhere.


GAME DETAILS

NORTH SHORE UTD: 38-Thomas, 2-Kemp, 3-Eastmure, 4-Copp (13-Utsugi 41′), 5-Wilson, 6-Ung, 7-Cauldwell (14-Bohea 76′), 8-Huiter (12-C-Smith 45′), 9-Upton (16-Sweetman 60′), 10-Anderson, 11-Atkinson
Subs not used: none
Goals: Atkinson 68′
Cautions: Ung 90’+2

ELLERSLIE AFC: 1-Huysmans, 33-Rathbone (21-Gravatt 61′), 39-Glenny, 12-McLean, 8-Scott (34-Christensen 70′), 4-Murphy (13-Torrens 66′), 26-Shohei, 30-Ganescu, 18-Woods-Davidson (27-Sohrabi 85′), 38-Barbosa, 14-A.Twigg
Subs not used: 32-Fletcher
Goals: A.Twigg 6′. Rathbone 15′, Murphy 50′(p)
Cautions: none

Winter fell at Allen Hill Stadium

North Shore United vs Ellerslie AFC, Allen Hill Stadium @ 3pm (22/07/2017)

After several weeks out of action thanks to a combination of the AFF introduced “Catch Up” weekends and our early exit in the cup we were back on the road against North Shore at Allen Hill Stadium on what was a very wet day!

After a fiercely contested “Reserves” vs “First Team” game the week prior to this game, combined with a spate of illness through the squad meant we lined up a very different side to the one who braved extreme weather conditions against Waitemata in our last league game.

The flu hit Sangster, Alex C, Andy W, and Alex W with the former two players to sick to even take bench spots – That meant Callum Waters and Jordan Oosterhof made their returns to the First Team in their places.  Joe Junge and Josh Anthony also started in changes from our last game.

At the back Dylan Horgan made his return to First Team football just days before his 18th birthday as Fredrik Ljungberg arrived back in the country on Thursday after attending a wedding in Sweden.  Luca Ortali made his return from his suspect suspension to take the left back slot.

Unfortunately the general theme of our season is that teams are particularly good at punishing our mistakes and it was 4 errors that lead to 4 well taken Shore goals in the first half – I would describe each goal but we have yet to get a copy of the video, so will let the moving pictures do the speaking for me once we get it.

We are getting used to tough halftime talks this season and this was just another one, we had things to solve and confidence to rebuild and skipper for the day Jason Mann did a good job rallying the troops as we came out a lot more competitive in the second half.

It’s probably true that Shore dropped off a couple of percentage points but I think we can also take some confidence from the second half clean sheet as we look to Melville this coming weekend.


GAME DETAILS

NORTH SHORE UTD: 1-Wall, 2-Nottage, 3-Lewis, 4-Luiten, 6-Spawforth, 7-Langworthy, 8-Lissington, 9-Fahy (13-Vanneste 77′), 10-Shields (14-Waterland 60′), 11-Ngadela (15-Kadiya 73′)
Subs Not Used: 12-Ferguson, 20-Spillane
Goals: Lissington 16′, Ngadela 21′, OG 35′, Langworthy 38′
Cautions: None

ELLERSLIE AFC: 1-Mann, 36-Priestley, 23-Ortali (16-Ljungberg 36′), 15-Poelman, 5-Horgan, 17-Benefield, 19-Waters, 6-Dalton (11-Witteveen 71′), 9-Oosterhof, 7-J.Anthony (10-Barkley 45′), 44-Junge
Subs Not Used: RGK-Huysmans, 24-Wallace
Goals: None
Cautions: None

Wild Wild West…

Ellerslie AFC vs Waitemata FC (First Team/Reserves) 5:30pm/3pm @ McLeod Park – 1st July 2017

Saturday felt a bit odd, travelling away from home for kick off times much like the ones we are used to playing to at Michaels Ave, plus a run of day games due to scheduling home and away had us kind of in the groove for 12:30/3pm kickoffs – which on reflection would have been a whole lot more enjoyable as the weather really packed in for the 5:30pm game with what can only be described as extreme wind and rain, somewhat ironic as the Waitemata FC badge has an image of a sun on it….
waitemata_01-300x200The weather was not their fault of course, it would have been nice though to have covered dugouts for both teams and enough chairs for all the subs but maybe we are just a bit spoilt at Michaels Ave.

We will get back to the weather – first a early special mention to a special wee man – Isaac Jacobs who comes and supports us, with his family at every game, home or away, in Auckland or out and in all weather – it seems only fair that when I noticed he was playing at Michaels Ave before I left for McLeod Park that I took a picture – us supporting him for a change.

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Isaac is the player in the middle of the Ellerslie wall.

For the record Isaac’s 13th grade team ended up beating Fencibles 2-1.

So back to the game(s) at hand at McLeod Park in Te Atatu South – the park itself is down a mostly commercial road, right at the end, on the bank of the Whau River which feeds off the Waitemata Harbour, the club has three pretty good quality full sized pitches supported by a good sized ablutions block and clubrooms.

So the Reserves were first up, in the normal First Team slot of 3pm on the #1 pitch which didn’t look too bad and it had some sick looking colored nets which looked pretty professional – There were a number of changes for the Ellerslie Reserves (which is pretty standard I guess) as Ricky and Mark were unavailable and Joe who had recovered from the niggle which made him a late scratch last week was ruled out this week due to an exam (who schedules exams on Saturdays anyway?).  Monju came down from First Team action while Josh Anthony went the other way (pretty much, more on that later) and Mike Glenny came back from injury along with Sam Christensen and we also welcomed back Stefan who missed last week moving house.

This did pose a bit of a issue for coach Fletcher as he had 5 1/2 central midfielders in his starting lineup and 0 natural center forwards – not to fear though as experienced First Team player Jordan Oosterhof on his recovery path from a few little niggles put his hand up to play in the #9 role, this left John and Monju to fill the wide slots.

Special mention to Sean who played his 2nd Reserves game and did well – and a lot of praise to Lloyd who has been outstanding this year and was there to support his young teammate while he rested a slight niggle to his shoulder.  Great teamwork there lads!

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Inspector Gadget AKA Stefan

So to the actual game we go – with Ellerslie attacking the softball diamond end of the pitch first half and into the wind, and it was an unlikely (from Ellerslie’s point of view) opening scoring play, as an accurate through ball just managed to get past the Inspector Gadget legs of Stefan and to the Waitemata FC striker who had enough time and space to get around Sean and open the scoring.

The 11th minute is probably one of the earliest goals we have conceded and was a bit of a shock considering the run of clean sheets we have been on – then a couple of things turned in our favour.

1st – A great piece of build up play resulted in John challenging the Waitemata keeper in what we deemed a fair challenge, however the awkward challenge between the two players resulted in what looked to be a serious knee injury for the keeper, which you don’t like to see – a free kick was awarded by the referee, however on review of the video it looked to be for offside as John had marginally strayed past the last defender. (check it out for yourself in our highlights video below).

2nd – So as a direct result of the above unfortunate injury Waitemata had to use their only sub (who was a RGK) to replace their injured custodian and unfortunately he didn’t seem overly confident and this played out in our favour in the rest of the match.

John was the first to benefit from the keeper change as he received the ball wide on the left and cut inside his fullback, threw out a couple of stepovers and fired a low shot at the near post which the nervous young goalkeeper misjudged and let the ball ripple the back of the net via the inside of the post.  It was a a moment the lad will want to forget, but it happens to all players so hopefully he can put it behind him and move on.

Our second goal came from Dylan Horgan, it was described to me as a long distance worm burner – which for me is far harder to achieve than a aerial shot, harder technically and harder mentally as players seem to love the top corner hollywood shot.  So 2-1 up and the lead but ‘Mata could probably feel a little hard done by considering their battling performance.

Just prior to halftime there was a bit of an unsavoury incident when Callum Waters went in hard on a challenge, won the ball but didn’t show enough care for his opponent and caught the Waitemata player in the follow through – it didn’t look good and the ‘Mata player needed attention from his bench to continue.  That’s where it got a little nasty as the Waitemata assistant coach took the opportunity to complain to the referee about some perceived over-aggressiveness from the visitors, and when the referee turned a deaf ear to his complaints he started aiming his words at the Ellerslie players.  Jordan who never misses an opportunity to be cheeky fired a few barbs back, in a typical Jordan fashion – 100% sarcastic.  This angered the coach who fired some words not fit for print back at Jordan, who clapped him as he left the field.  The referee then decided to card Jordan using the code Y9, which according to the key on the back of the teamcards (below) means “Showing a lack of respect for the game”

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This really hacked me off after the game – and as per usual the match official didn’t see it my way – I was just incensed that the coach can come onto the field and start dialogue with players which results in them getting booked – won’t all coaches do this if they get an advantage going forward?  Why didn’t he just treat his player and get off the pitch – in my mind a dangerous precedent going forward…

Luckily the referee blew for halftime right after this incident which gave both teams the chance to get in the sheds, refuel and get warm (sounds silly but it was bloody cold) and discuss tactics.

There is pretty much always a halftime sub in reserves and this week was no different as Callum Waters was asked to cover the First Team bench with one of last week’s goalscorers Aaron Anthony replacing him.

The most interesting change at halftime was Waitemata’s call to swap their keeper for an outfield player, as they had no further subs.  What made it even more interesting is that during the second half they swapped over again, I don’t know if this was a tactical call or if the player who went in goal was pooped and needed a break – but 4th time lucky for the home side as this custodian played a blinder between the sticks as the home side faded heading into the last period of the game.

We of course refreshed our team as Sam Christensen made his comeback from injury to replace Tavis, Karar came on for Victor to balance the midfield heavy side with a natural wide player and finally Josh Anthony made his 2nd Reserves appearance (which qualifies him for the cup next weekend) with 10 minutes to play.

By the 80th minute however we had added one more goal as the aforementioned Dylan Horgan showed he can mix it up as he smashed a shot from wide on our left into the top right corner of the Waitemata goal – a true hollywood shot!

From there Dylan took every opportunity to nail his hatrick, but just couldn’t find his long range shooting again – Aaron took the opposite approach as he is quickly becoming the 6 yard box master as he slammed home a loose ball after a corner to make the score 4-1 and give him his second goal in as many weeks, much to the excitement of his teammate:

glenny

4-1 was how it rounded out in a game that was played hard, but we feel fair, by both teams with only 1 card issued (see rant earlier), and a referee who seemed to enjoy the game and did enough to manage it.

I encourage you to scroll to the end of this post and check out the goals as some of them are genuinely quite good, the action seems to be all out of order however, apologies about that.

So First Team was up next and there were not many changes to the team who played Metro last weekend, infact the only starting change was Alex Clark promoted to start after a couple of impressive bench performances, with Adam Barkley who leads the team in outfield minutes this season dropping to the bench.  Callum Waters and Josh Anthony joined Mike Glenny on the bench and Sean continued to deputise in Lloyds absence.

By this time the rain and wind had reached some pretty extreme levels with the wind ramping up to what was described as a 2 or 3 goal wind (that’s our new measurement instrument) and the First Team defended the downwind goal in the first half.

Somewhat ironically Waitemata didn’t actually play that well into the wind and the only goal of the half came from some scrappy defending where we didn’t clear the ball and Waitemata didn’t really attack with much precision and eventually just tried a hopeful shot into a defending player, however luck was on their side as the ball ricocheted off the defender and flew over Jason and into the goal – we didn’t create much play in the first half save the odd counter attack but we all defended with passion and desire and left us something to chase in the second half.

Second half with the wind at our backs and rain driving into the faces of the opposition players we took the field knowing we needed to be next to score, we tactically positioned yours truly behind the Waitemata goal to fetch the ball as the home club seemed thoroughly disinterested in doing so – maybe I should send them an invoice for a couple of match balls that I rescued from the road?

However we were not the next to score as Waitemata had clearly had some practice into the wind at McLeod Park and showed some good striking technique into the gale – this particular shot from some way out looked like it was going to be well over, before it caught the wind and dived like a stalled airplane straight down and we all watched stunned as it dropped into the net.

That goal sparked a bit of soul searching from Ellerslie as we chucked on Josh Anthony to try and spark a comeback – and it didn’t take long before Josh was released down the left and he showed enough pace and directness to take him into the box and he finished well at the back post to drag us back into the game.

That goal gave us the spring we needed and we gained confidence and really took Waitemata to task, with their GK proving to be a massive thorn in our side – not a large lad by any means but with an amazing vertical leap.

It was then a little against the run of play what happened next – Waitemata created an attack down our right hand side which resulted in a cross which was headed away down the middle of the park by an Ellerslie player – Waitemata’s #10 attacked the loose ball and struck a hard shot at Jason’s left hand post.  Jason looked to have the shot well covered but the wind had other ideas as it took the shot and threw it with such force that the ball appeared to teleport to the top right hand corner of the goal, giving Jason who was tracking the initial line of the ball no chance.

Frustrating for him and for the team, three shots and with a combination of the wind and a deflection he hadn’t been able to get near any of them.

We still had some shots to fire and we drew back within one goal when Andy Dalton fired a nice diagonal ball out to Josh Anthony who had a fullback straight on him, the fullback actually got to the ball first and went to clear it upfield but Josh was able to block his clearance – which flew towards the Waitemata goal, wrong footing the keeper and forcing him into a full length dive to stop the ball going into the net – unfortunately for him he could only parry the ball and Josh had enough pace to get the loose ball and pop it home for his second goal in his comeback game.

We did have a couple of chances to win the game, Andy Dalton with a shot that the GK tipped over but by and large we couldn’t forge enough clear chances as the weather worsened.

The lads gave it all they had in the tank for the game in the conditions – if we can continue to build on that effort and the ever improving performances of our squad we can escape this relegation battle.

Rain

It’s just a spot of rain……


MATCH DETAILS

RESERVES

WAITEMATA FC: 1-Gorgiovski (RGK-Reber 28′), 8-Marsh, 15-R.Beeston, 12-Wyatt, 18-Kim, 16-Van Leeuwen, 14-Kojima, 10-Winslow, 17-Holmes, 8-Edwards, 20-Basham
Subs not used: 4-Jabir, 9-Schischka (don’t think they were actually there)
Goals: Basham (11′)
Cautions: none

ELLERSLIE AFC: 45-Dartnall, 33-Rathbone, 21-Gravatt (34-Christensen 57′), 5-Horgan, 43-Milosevic, 2-S.Twigg, 25-Waters (41-A.Anthony 45′), 30-Ganescu (27-Sohrabi 67′), 26-Shoehi, 4-Murphy, 9-Oosterhof (31-J.Anthony 80′)
Subs not used: 32-Fletcher
Goals: Horgan (41′, 77′), Murphy (37′), A.Anthony (83′)
Cautions: Oosterhof (45′)

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:
//www.hudl.com/embed/video/2/230164/59589caff56a5714142a9ba5


FIRST TEAM

WAITEMATA FC: 1-Guy, 2-MacKay, 3-J.Beeston, 4-Smith, 5-Jefferson-Cope, 6-Sedon, 9-Tanner, 10-Gates, 12-Johnson, 14-Aalbers, 18-Day
Subs not used: 15-Kojima, 16-Al-badri, 20-Quansah
Goals: Tanner (50′), Aalbers (34′), Gates (71′)
Cautions: none

ELLERSLIE AFC: 1-Mann, 36-Priestley, 8-Scott, 17-Benefield, 6-Dalton, 15-Poelman, 16-Ljungberg, 28-Clark, 24-Wallace, 20-Crawford, 11-Witteveen
Subs not used: 45-Dartnall, 19-Waters
Goals: J.Anthony (64′, 74′)
Cautions: J.Anthony (82′)

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:
//www.hudl.com/embed/video/2/229642/59588d7d3448c40848cb507c


Next up is the Reserves Knockout Cup game against Onehunga Sports on the 8th of July – at Michaels Ave Reserve at 12:15pm, the First Team’s next game is scheduled for the 22nd of July at Michaels Ave against Western Springs.

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Reserves Solider On!

Ellerslie Reserves vs Metro Reserves – Michaels Avenue @ 12:30pm (24th June 2017)

A much changed reserves team lined up for this fixture, if you can remember back to the first round game, that fixture featured Fredrik’s first steps back from serious knee injury, Aaron and Tavis debuts off the bench and first goals for Josh, John and Brennen.

For this game we saw Aaron and Tavis start while Fredrik is in the thick of the action in the First Team and Brennen scored again, this time a screamer for the First Team in their 2-2 draw.

Other changes saw Jordan Oosterhof and Josh Anthony make their comebacks from injuries, Jack Rathbone also back in the team after a bit of a niggle, David Warbrick from our academy side took a bench spot, Sam Twigg made his first game of the season after being away on international futsal duty, and Sean Dartnall started in goal for his NRFL Debut.

It did take a little while in this game to open the scoring, with the new players taking a few moments to gel in with the “regulars”, but we had plenty of experience on the park with Tavis, Mark and Glenny in our backline and John and Ricky in midfield.

It probably took us longer than we had expected to open the scoring but John who likes to score in little runs grabbed his second in two weeks just 10 minutes before the half was due to be finished – we quickly added a second when Josh Anthony got put inbehind and was fouled from behind in the box for a spot kick – this infuriated the Metro #11 who copped a yellow for protesting the call (extremely relevant later in the game).

Jordy grabbed the chance to get a goal in his return and stepped up to take the spot kick – normally Jordy’s standard pen is a placed shot high into the corners but for some reason this time he decided to go with power rather than placement and he smashed the ball low to the keepers right, and fair play to the keeper who was impressive throughout the game as he got a hand to the shot but with the power Jordan had applied he couldn’t keep it out.

At halftime we made two changes as Dylan came off for First Team duty and Ricky who had been suffering with a bit of a cold was replaced with Victor and Karar replacing them, which meant Aaron switched to his favoured centreback role while Karar was a straight swap on the wing.

Second half the first peice of notable action was in the 73rd minute when the Metro #11 committed what the referee deemed a reckless foul and was issued a second yellow card and was sent off.  Remarkably last time we played Metro they also received a red card, so a little unfortunate for them – however they pulled together and showed a lot of resilience for the rest of the game, something we saw in the first game as well.

We were able to add a cherry on top of the scoreline when Aaron was able to score his first goal in Ellerslie colours in the NRFL as he bundled a cross in from not very far out – it was great reward for him in his first 90mins to score a goal.

So that was the final score, a comfortable if not extravagant victory as we soldiered on and kept the pressure on Melville, Springs and Shore who are chasing us.

Next up Waitemata at McLeod Park on Saturday afternoon!


GAME DETAILS:

ELLERSLIE AFC: 45-Dartnall, 35-Thompson, 5-Horgan (30-Ganescu 45′), 39-Glenny, 21-Gravatt, 41-A.Anthony, 2-Twigg (32-Warbrick 70′), 7-J.Anthony (33-Rathbone 65′), 38-Barbosa (27-Sohrabi 45′), 4-Murphy, 9-Oosterhof
Subs not used: 44-Junge (injured)
Goals: Murphy (35′), Oosterhof (42p’), A.Anthony (86′)
Cautions: Oosterhof (89′)

METRO FC: 1-Casey, 5-T.Hughes, 4-Peters, 16-Price, 8-Hill, 11-Greive, 10-Ordorisio, 15-Misigaro, 6-B.Hughes, 9-Cozett, 17-Blackburn (14-Pinto 45′)
Subs not used: 2-Kanno, 12-Miche, 13-Vella, 7-Brunton
Goals: none
Cautions: Greive (42′, 73′), Cozett (25′)
Send Offs: Greive (73′)

The Twigg Triple-Treat

Manukau City Reserves vs Ellerslie Reserves – Walter Massey Park, 17th June @ 12:30pm

The Reserves have dominated most games they have played this season, and while there may have been periods of play in other games where the opposition were on top, there hasn’t so far been a team who have consistently dominated the ball and play as much as the Manukau City Reserves did.

While they did dominate general play, it was at both ends of the park that let the home side down with defensive errors combined with some at times slick attacking play from the visitors – and at the other end they couldn’t turn their domination of the ball into clear cut chances, with their last pass often being aerial or poor.

It’s not to say we played badly, there was committment, passion, and at times flowing attacking moves and clincial finishing.  I think the best way to describe the performance was stuttering, we made quite a few errors as a team and this blunted our ability to really dominate the game like we had against Coast and Tauranga the week before.

I guess the best way to measure the performance was trying to compare it against our challengers for the league title (Melville) and if that was good enough, or for individuals was my performance good enough to put pressure on a spot in the First Team.

Another school of thought is that the result or outcome is what mattered and indeed it was great to grab a 6-0 win, after all we have dominated some games this season and not got the result we craved (MAP for example) – however as a Reserves team performance has to be the ultimate measure, with results a by product of good consistent performances.

So the game itself was a funny one to watch, Ellerslie def had the better of the Manukau backline and GK, but we struggled to consistently feed our front players with quality enough ball to show their dominance – physically in the middle of the field Manukau were up for the battle and caused our midfield players to rush a lot of ball.

In our defence the pitch was quite narrow so it meant with our three in midfield and their three in midfield that it was quite cramped – especially when players from other parts of the field came into the midfield.  I guess we didn’t quite keep our width enough.

We took a 3-0 lead into halftime despite not having played our best, but there were moments of quality leading to goals to Art Twigg (2) and the most comical own goal your ever likely to see.  The goal came straight from Manukau’s kickoff after conceding the second goal, Manukau played it back to their centreback who was still at this point a good 20 meters away from our nearest player – however he for some reason decided to play it back to the keeper – or where he thought the keeper would be, infront of the goal. For some reason the keeper wasn’t there and the ball trickled it’s way into the back of the net to make the score 3-0, much to the delight of the visiting Ellerslie fans.

In that first half Ricky who had started on the left wing also had a goal disallowed for offside – video evidence below.

The second half we played better and were more dominant in play than the first but it still never felt like a 6-0 game.  Manukau had made two changes at halftime and we followed suit with two just prior to the 60 minute mark, and two just after, with our final sub coming in on the 75th minute.

By the time all the subs were on we had only added 1 more goal, a third for Art Twigg on his return to football after having last week off due to uni work – not a bad little return for the talented striker.  John Murphy made almost an immediate impact on his arrival as he slotted out 5th goal having been on for just 15 minutes and then Dylan Horgan iced it all off with our final goal just 3 minutes before the end of regulation time.

A comprehensive scoreline if not a strange contest – Metro FC next week and another must win to keep the pressure on the chasing pack of teams.


Game Details:

Manukau City: 23-Lal, 5-Ghorebaraz, 3-O’Malley, 10-Ahmed, 2-Tha (13-Hetherington 45′), 17-Clark, 11-Ali, 8-Konusi, 7-Vasquez, 9-Yearbury, 18-A.Kumar (12-K.Kumar 45′)
Subs not used: 6-Mohammadi, 15-Taylor
Goals: none
Cautions: Ghorebaraz (80′)

Ellerslie AFC: 1-Huysmans, 21-Gravatt, 39-Glenny (41-Anthony 58′), 43-Milosevic (13-Torrens 58′), 5-Horgan, 35-Thompson, 19-Waters, 30-Ganescu (4-Murphy 62′), 38-Barbosa (44-Junge 66′), 8-Scott, 14-Twigg (18-Woods-Davidson 75′)
Subs not used: none
Goals: Twigg (10′, 21′, 66′), Murphy (77′), Horgan (87′), OG (22′)
Cautions: Milosevic (38′)

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Ghost Goal unfairly dominates scrappy encounter

Ellerslie AFC vs Metro FC – Michaels Ave Reserve @ 3pm (24th June 2017)

Metro came to town on Saturday evening with one mission in mind – 3 points, the central Auckland based side have had a nightmare year with injuries derailing their campaign early on before club man Ants Owen stepped up to take the reins and has delivered instant results including draws with both Western Springs and North Shore as well as a win over rivals MAP last weekend.  There is a lot of mutual respect between Ellerslie and Metro in recent years and so the scenario which see’s one of us disappear into NRFL Div 2 isn’t that inviting.  Still friendships were put to one side as both teams as representatives of their clubs took the pitch in what was a crucial 90 minutes ahead!

Metro FC kitted up in their new blue Kiwi Spurs sponsored away kit while Ellerslie played in their traditional Red shirts, black shorts and black socks.  Sadly the rain didn’t play along and most of this battle was played out in less than ideal spectator conditions, conditions that also meant we couldn’t video the game, so we don’t have any footage of the goals, which is a shame as there were some screamers!

In previous games Ellerslie has had a penchant for giving away early goals, on 5 occasions we have conceded our first goal within the first 15 minutes of games, and on three other occasions we have conceded within the first 6 minutes of the second half, so clearly a bit of an issue in terms of starting the game and around halftime – so it shouldn’t really be a surprise that we again conceded an early goal in this game, although at 19 mins it does indicate some improvement in this area, also the fact that we had scored an earlier goal in the 11th minute dirty’s the picture somewhat.

We took the lead for 8 minutes when Adam Scott who was making his 50th NRFL Appearance released skipper Andy Wallace down our left flank – Andy delivered a perfect ball to the back post where Sangster the silent Assassin finished into the roof of the net for his 3rd goal of the season, three contributions of quality!

 

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Celebrations post Sangster’s goal

The Metro FC equaliser came in unfortunate circumstances as Metro whipped in a good corner and Alex who was winning a lot of aerial ball just couldn’t reach this one properly and it skimmed off the top of his head and down the back of the net.

Halftime came and went and the game continued to be fast paced but error ridden as both teams created chances but too many poor crosses or last pass options let both sides down, there were still moments of quality but just not enough to lift the overall level of the game out of the bottom of the table scrap we thought we would all see – however both sets of players were working their butts off and there was no shortage of desire and passion.

In the 74th minute the moment of quality we had been waiting for arrived, as Brennen attacked a half cleared cross on the edge of the area, he is aggressive at the best of times and this was no different as he smashed into the shot and got perfect contact to see the ball fly into the top left corner of the goal, across the helpless Metro keeper.

That sparked a pretty big celebration from the Ellerslie players and supporters, many of which were the reserves who had stuck around to cheer on their mates.

Unfortunately one of our other weaknesses this season is conceding or looking vulnerable straight after scoring and this played out again as we held the lead for only 6 minutes before the much talked about Andrew Abba slammed home a screaming shot from their right wing – two pretty decent moments of quality from Ellerslie and Metro just 6 minutes apart.

Ellerslie in my view pushed on and looked the more likely to win it in the last 10 minutes of the game, we squandered a few chances and then the AR denied us one as well when he ruled that Alex’s header didn’t cross the line – begrudgingly both teams had to accept that the football gods had a draw in mind for this one.

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Ellerslie pile on the pressure late in the game

Plenty of things for both teams to work on for their respective games next week, Ellerslie have a chance to leapfrog Waitemata if they can get all three points while Metro have a chance to drag Oratia right into the relegation battle after they dropped below Ellerslie on goal difference after this result.
Capture.JPG


Ellerslie AFC: 25-Mann, 36-Priestley, 15-Poelman, 16-Ljungberg, 8-Scott, 17-Benefield, 6-Dalton, 24-Wallace, 10-Barkley, 20-Crawford, 11-Witteveen
Subs not used: RGK-Dartnall, 5-Horgan
Goals: Crawford (11′), Priestley (74′)
Cautions: Dalton (66′)

Metro FC: 1-Lorusso, 4-Perico, 8-Featonby, 5-Clark, 6-Peters, 7-Campbell, 11-Scott, 17-Shaw, 13-Mohammadi, 15-Banks, 12-Abba
Subs not used: 21-Casey, 9-Blackburn, 16-Brebner, 3-McCasey
Goals: OG (19′), Abba (80′)
Cautions: none

NEXT GAME:
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Foggy Auckland day clouds controversial finish to contest.

Manukau City vs Ellerslie AFC – Walter Massey Park, 17th June @ 3pm

For those of you who attended this game on Saturday you will know what we are referring to in the title of this report – and it’s a bloody shame as neither team really deserved to have their afternoon clouded by this kind of issue, but it’s one that is not going away quickly.

Before we continue into the game and the issue above I would like to state that I was very impressed with the welcomeness and respect to football Manukau City as a club showed – they may be hamstrung by some of their facilities, but they don’t let that effect them and they box on strong.  They also welcomed us as a fellow club and not mortal enemies which we have encountered a couple of times this season.  On the field they played good solid football and while they at times were not flashy, they were effective and disciplined (mostly) and tough to break down consistently.

For us we knew facing a top team would be a chance to test ourselves before our big test this coming weekend against a resurgent Metro side – and that we did.

I won’t delve into the match too much as we need to keep our powder dry for this weekend but what we brought to the field lads from # 1 to # 11 (ok from number #25 to number #40) in terms of energy and passion was spot on – sure there were a few mistakes still but play like that and believe in yourself like that – points will come.

In the game Manukau started attacking the goal at the Massey Road end of the park and were rewarded for some sharp play on the 15th minute mark of the game when Jeremias Perez found enough space to squeeze off a shot from outside the box which left Jason with no chance as it flicked off the inside off his right hand post and into the goal.  Such was the crowd of players between Perez and the goal that Jason would have had his vision of the shot blocked for the majority of it’s path.

We continued to play after that setback and there were a few opportunities that we just couldn’t convert, but signaled that we were threatening – one instance in particular stands out in the first half, Sangster was the architect as he got around his struggling fullback and put a peach of a ball into the box along the ground bisecting the 6 yard box – unfortunately neither Andy or Rowan were able to convert this cross.  We also had a pretty handy free kick which Luca ended up taking and putting just over Manukau’s right side goal post.

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Luca’s free kick

Halftime was a chance to get a breather after a lot of hard work in the first 45mins – the entire team worked their butts off executing the game plan and we fueled them up with some sugar and some H20 and sent them back out for some more.

We started the second half with the same kind of passion and determination as the first, however we were undone for Manukau’s second goal by a piece of brilliance from the home sides top scorer and talisman Andre Estay as he bravely won a header over both Jason and Freddy to double the scoreline.

We threw some fresh legs on – not because the players on the field had not played well, but more to give us an extra couple of percentiles of energy for the last portion of the game.  Alex and Alex as our subs did just that and our goal came from the boot of Alex Clark who is back for a second stint at Ellerslie after being away at College and with Assistant Coach Nick Russo at OMU in his college break last season.

Alex found some space inbetween the lines and Sangster found him with a nice pass, and Alex finished well with a low shot that found the space between the GK’s dive and the upright – then all hell broke loose!

What kicked off all the fuss was our perception that the Manukau Keeper had intentionally elbowed our scorer Alex Clark in the throat as he was trying to collect the ball to expedite the restart of the game – however after having several conversations over the past couple of days I believe any contact by the keeper was probably accidental, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.  However at the time our players certainly did not and there was a bit of a melee in the box as players “discussed” the actions of the GK.  Typical of football players were in each others faces but I must stress I never saw anything from either side which warranted any further action.

That’s what made what happened next as such a big surprise – after carding the keeper he then turned to Luca and issued him with a straight red card, and told him it was simulating a headbutt?  What?

That really caused our frustration level to bubble over – we are not a dirty team, infact I think we are a little too nice most of the time – we probably have less cards this season than points, but this was a blow and it’s something we are not happy to let go of anytime soon, letters and emails have been written to AFF and they will continue to be written.

Post game our coach spoke to both the referee and a player central to the issue from Manukau who both said there was no contact – and then low and behold when the referee’s report comes back from AFF the story has changed, why?

Anyway there was a little more action in the game to round out before the final whistle – Ellerslie are pushing on, desperate for the equalizer and having to do this with a man down was probably a little too much to ask and Manukau had several chances to burn us on the counter, finally taking the hardest chance in the 94th minute as their leading scorer pulled out an epic chip from some way out.

Frustrating as it was to lose the game we were against a good team and they scored some good goals and it would be unfair to say they didn’t deserve to win – it just rankles that in a game when upsets are common and the best team dosn’t always win that we could have nicked a point had the referee not ruined that chance.

In the post match Hone spoke well and was very appreciative of the contest between the two sides, interestingly enough Kevin Fallon was absent during the speeches but found time to write the following about the game in his blog on the Manukau City facebook page:

On Saturday Ellerslie AFC came to Massey Road to win. They tried but in the final analysis were beaten by a better team. In a game that saw referee (Mr Chris Lamberth and son) officiate at a high level Manukau City proved too skilful for the visitors. All the goals were good but the last two by Andre Estay were sheer class. What a way to end a football game with Estay’s 94th minute forty yard, wonder goal.
I think the referee’s name is Andrew Lamberth just FYI

All we can do now is focus on what is a key clash against Metro, with or without Luca.
It’s in our own hands!

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Estay’s first goal

MANUKAU CITY: 22-Mannes, 13-Abba, 5-Day, 3-Fowler, 6-Money (17-Frank 82′), 20-Perez (21-Shravan 76′), 18-Shah, 8-Ruka, 10-Estay, 7-Chauarria (19-Shaheed 87′), 9-Berlim
Subs not used: 1-Vasques, 11-Konusi
Goals: Estay (51′, 90+4′), Perez (15′)
Cautions: Money (49′), Mannes (85′)

ELLERSLIE AFC: 25-Mann, 23-Ortali, 36-Priestley, 16-Ljungberg (43-Milosevic 83′), 15-Poelman, 26-Shohei, 17-Benefield, 10-Barkley (28-Clark 62′), 24-Wallace (11-Witteveen 62′), 20-Crawford, 40-Corbett
Subs not used: 1-Huysmans, 5-Horgan
Goals: Clark (85′)
Cautions: none
Dismissals: Ortali (85′)