Oosterhof double strike enough to hold off Bohs at Michaels Ave

by EAFC Media

A magnificent double strike by Jordan Oosterhof off the bench was enough for Ellerslie to beat Uni-Mt Wellington Bohemian Celtic at Michaels Ave on Saturday afternoon.

An earlier goal by Ben Hughes for Ellerslie opened the scoring before Jordan powered in a volley for his first goal from the edge of the area and then outdid his first goal by grabbing a diving header not long after that – a great reward for Oosterhof who is looking good after shaking off a couple of recent knee injuries in the past two seasons.

In the curtain raiser the young Ellerslie Reserves kept up their good form by notching a 4-0 win over a committed Bohs side who were coached by former Ellerslie stars Lewis and Nick Parke.  In that game Finn Rathbone (the youngest in a long line of Rathbone’s) notched a quality double from left back, a close range strike from Patrick before Shak  grabbed the fourth.

For the First Team Kyrylo Bolharyn stepped up to take Div’s place between the sticks as the latter was in Fiji sorting out wedding plans and Marius Weihrauch stepped up from Reserves after recovering from an achilles niggle to take a spot in midfield.

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The pitch had a good covering of the wet stuff during the reserves game so the surface was at it’s premium condition for the game and it was also a debut NRFL middle for Lee Juno (great to see young talent given a shot in the elite refereeing ranks!).

The game started off with a bang as both teams exploded into their work early and a bit of niggle and tension showing, with Marius getting stuck into his new role in the midfield, hitting tackles and regaining possession – a great shift in a role we have not seen from him before.

The entire first half was a bit of a seesaw battle – Ellerslie edging possession but not finding that clear chance to match the efforts in keeping the ball and while Kyrylo was not overly busy in goal it looked like Bohs could put together a string of passes and cause us a problem if we let our guard down.

When the first half whistle went we had no score and both teams headed to the sheds with something to hold onto for the second half – Ellerslie made a few changes as Ben Hughes entered the field for Rowan and Jordan Oosterhof replaced Denny Twigg and Karar Sohrabi took Olly Chiaroni’s spot on the wing.

Dylan who along with Marius and Aalok started to create a few more chances in midfield and one of those attacking forays ended up with Ben Hughes being played to feet in the box as he found space inbetween the Bohs centrebacks and a nice calm finish low past the keeper opened the scoring records in this match.

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Then up stepped Jordan Oosterhof who made his mark on this fixture with a sweet side volley on his right foot from just inside the box – Jordan has always had excellent technique and a bit of flair so it was nice to see him put both of those things together for that goal.  He wasn’t finished though and only a couple of minutes later he got on the end of a free kick into the box that dropped between the Boh’s defensive line and the keeper and Jordan needed no 2nd invitation to pounce on the indecision and he nipped in and with perfect technique smashed a close range diving header over the Boh’s keeper and into the back of the net.

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So that meant we were up 3-0 and to be honest while we had missed some chances we were were not really running away from the game – we were doing enough to be infront but we were not ramming our foot down on the gas pedal.

Bohs who had battled away for the whole game grabbed a goal back with a nice deft finish on what was probably a half chance but that goal gave them some impetuous to get back into the game and that they did, hitting a few more tackles and grabbing a late 2nd goal to make Ellerslie nervous for the last 5 mins or so of the contest.

However the Ponies held on and grabbed another pre-season win, which while it means nothing on the league table it’s nice to have a winning edge from pre-season.

Next week we have the National U17’s Tournament at Western Springs which will involve a number of our reserves players so we don’t have an official game scheduled but we may do an inter-squad game.

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Ellerslie take tight win in Pre-Season against Franklin Utd

by EAFC Media

Saturday afternoon saw Ellerslie AFC travel to the Drury Sports Complex to take on Franklin United who have had a shake up in the off season but still have our favourite non-Ellerslie GK there in Jason Mann.

Ellerslie vs Franklin has become somewhat of a pre-season tradition since the Bledisloe Park based franchise entered the NRFL and the encounters always tend to be three things:

1) – Very friendly before the game with mates to catch up with
2) – Feisty during the game, there is always a bit of drama
3) – Tight on the scoreboard

Todays match at the scenic Drury Sports Complex was no different with Jason Oliver, Jason Mann and Ben Fletcher the Franklin fella’s with the most obvious Ellerslie roots.  Jordan Oosterhof and an unidentified Franklin player provided the fiesty moment for referee Marc Lindsay and the final score of 3-2 to Ellerslie (including a suspect potentially offside goal) ticking the close scoreboard criteria.

For Ellerslie in our 4th First Team warm up game it was pleasing to see some work on our general shape play had paid off early on with the ball being moved around nicely on a pitch that was nice to play on (despite the lack of a cooling wind in the heat).

However we conceded first which has become a bit of a problem as we are definitely a better team playing with a lead when Jake McCoy used his height to his advantage when left relatively unmarked from a corner.  The tall Franklin striker made no mistake and buried his header to open the scoring for the afternoon.

Ellerslie did strike back – I don’t have a record of the goalscorer but this goal looked like there could have been an offside player but extremely tough for referee Lindsay to adjudicate with no assistant referees to help him out.  The goal itself came from a bit of a scramble in the box with Ellerslie putting plenty of players forward.

I think the next goal was also to Ellerslie via Dylan Horgan as he snuck a low hard shot under Jason after being left all alone by the Franklin backline – the next goal was of real quality as Franklin leveled the game with a sweet low right foot shot that curled out of reach of Div and into the bottom corner of the goal.

Dylan grabbed a 2nd goal and our third to seal the win on a hot afternoon after both sides had a player forced to the sideline due to misbehavior – luckily no-one got injured and we played on.

Hard to judge improvement week to week in pre-season but from what I saw I felt like there was better shape from the team and the workrate of players was starting to get better but still some way to go before we can tick off the ready for 2019 box.

For the Reserves a perfect storm of injuries, sickness, un-availability’s and a lack of direction cost the Reserves any chance of a proper build up to this game and combine that with playing in the hottest part of the day meant this game was always going to be a battle.  Full credit to Ben Shaw though who took one for the team and played as our 11th player in the Reserves after playing in the first team game beforehand – great stuff.

I didn’t see this game as I had to swan off to a wedding but I’m told a reasonably comfortable 4-1 win for the Monju led Reserves was what played out.  Looking forward to seeing what this talent packed reserves team can do this season with ability and youth left, right and centre.

Next up for both teams is somewhat of a local derby as we host Uni-Mt Wellington Bohemian Celtic at Michaels Ave on Saturday – details below.


9th March
Ellerslie vs Uni-Mt Wellington Bohemian Celtic
3pm Kickoff – Michaels Ave Reserve
(12:30pm kickoff for Reserves)


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Manickum takes up 1st XI challenge at One Tree Hill College

by EAFC Media

Former Ellerslie AFC First Team star Dylan Manickum has been appointed the new coach of the 1st XI at One Tree Hill College in Penrose – Manickum is currently starring in the ISPS Handa Premiership with frontrunners Auckland City and is a current Futsal White.

Chatham Cup - Ellerslie AFC v Central United, 3 June 2013

Dylan in action for Ellerslie against Central in the 2013 Chatham Cup

Manickum replaces Tim Payne as the coach of the 1st XI and as Director of Football at the Central Auckland school, and as part of a closer ongoing relationship between OTHC and Ellerslie, our Director of Football Fred de Jong was crucial in connecting Manickum with One Tree Hill College.

OTHC was identified by de Jong as a critical cog in our development plan and was all too happy to strengthen a relationship between the two parties that goes back a long time, with a substantial list of OTHC students that have played Men’s First Team football for Ellerslie including: Tony Goldsmith, Warrick Hart, Bruce Gibb, Pravez Mohammed, Tevin Smith and more recently Andre Fruh.

Those with good memories will remember before the turf was installed at Michaels Ave that our club office was at One Tree Hill College and all our trials used to be held there – so it’s good to working so closely with the premier high school in our area for the betterment of the players.

EAFC Media caught up with Dylan quickly to ask him a few questions.

Firstly congrats on the coaching role – this is your first role at this level, can you tell us what kind of play we are going to see from your team?

Thank you. Well ideally I hope to play an attractive attacking style of football because that’s how I like to play. Keeping the ball and going forward quickly when possible. It hard to tell exactly what will be the best for the team at this stage though as I haven’t had a chance to assess the team and what players we have available just yet.

What are your goals for the team this season?

I would like to build on the good performance put in last year by Tim and the team. So to battle again for promotion is the goal. (They finished 3rd in A2 last season)

You have done a lot in your playing career so far – what’s in store for you on the playing side for 2019?

Currently I’m in the Solomon Island with Auckland City FC starting our OFC champions league campaign so if all goes well the rest of the OFC campaign. Also finishing up our League campaign with ACFC we have finals in April. This year I will also have a lot of Futsal on as we have World Cup qualifiers in October.

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Dylan plays a crucial pass for Auckland City in the Club World Cup

After Dylan has spent a bit more time in the role and closer to the start of the Schools season we will get back in touch for a bit more information – stay tuned!

The relationship with OTHC as mentioned previously is important to the club as part of our new strategic plan which is centred around the well-being of players, particularly in relation to managing players workloads, something we believe is unique in the Auckland Football landscape.

For more information about our player-centric development program contact one of the Football Directors – details below:

Director of Football – Fred de Jong (seniorcoaching@ellersliefootball.org.nz)

Director of Coaching – Ryan Shiffman (coaching@ellersliefootball.org.nz)


STATS:

Warrick Hart                       100 Games, 62 goals
Dylan Manickum              50 Games, 8 goals
Tony Goldsmith*             41 Games, 1 Goal
Bruce Gibb*                       10 Games, 0 Goals
Pravez Mohammed*      3 Games, 0 Goals
Andre Fruh                         2 Games, 0 Goals
Tevin Smith                        2 Games, 0 Goals

* some stats missing


 

Norwest keep unbeaten run against Ellerslie alive… for now!

By EAFC Media

Our first official pre-season game for our 2019 Women’s First Team saw a composite Ellerslie team made up of First Team and Reserve team players take on Norwest Utd who in last years conference were the only team not be beaten by Ryan Shiffman’s Ellerslie side.

At the bright and early time of 9:15am on the Michaels Ave turf the Ellerslie side rolled out a team including young guns Charli Collard, Maddy McCormick, Scarlett Hunter, Lyric Davidson, Heleana Danesh-Clough and Tayla Hawes to supplement a team which had committed a few players to the Waiheke Football Fix tournament yesterday.

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Norwest themselves were a little light on numbers and only had 1 sub for this game – however knowing how Norwest troubled us last season we knew we were in for a tough game regardless.

Early on it looked like Ellerslie could run away with the game as we spent a good 10 minute period camped in the Norwest end of the field but couldn’t find clear chances very often (mostly due to some excellent defensive work from Norwest’s #5) and when we did find a clear chance our finishing escaped us or the  Norwest Keeper pulled out a great save.

As the game matured you had the funny feeling that Norwest would make us pay after dominating for so long with no reward and true to script they grabbed a nice goal and then put their foot on our throats and enjoyed a very dominant spell in the game, picking up 2 more goals including a nice blind header at the front post.

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Ellerslie came back and edged the 3rd period however and we did grab a goal off the boot of Anita Trudgen who ran and ran and ran despite playing every minute yesterday in the tournament – a real machine!

So plenty to work on for Ryan and his team and with AFF/NFF Conference newcomers Beachlands Maraetai up next before we take on NRFL Premier League side Hamilton Wanderers in Hamilton on the 10th March.

Details:

Ellerslie AFC 1, Norwest 3

Photo’s by EAFC Media

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Birkenhead retain upper hand in annual pre-season friendly

By EAFC Media

Paul Hobson’s Birkenhead are somewhat of a standard in Winter Football in Auckland and playing them every pre-season can be challenging but also important in terms of figuring out your place in the scheme of things.

This time we had two games as the Reserves provided the entertainment (and they did) in the curtain raiser before the two First Teams locked horns afterwards, and while Ellerslie lost by the same margin as the same game last season (5-0) I thought there were times when we competed and even marginally dominated, but there were also periods when we really struggled.

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More about that later – we have a cracking reserves game to disseminate first with goals galore – so much so I’m not even sure I have the final score correct – but I think I’m close.

Early signs for the Ellerslie reserves were promising as Ben grabbed a very early goal and the first 5 minutes looked like a complete mis-match however Birkenhead in true fashion hit back strongly and took the lead with 3 quick goals.  So 20 mins into the contest and it looked like Birko would run away with it.   However credit to the Ellerslie team they dug in and pulled themselves level by the end of the first 30min period of play.

6 goals in 30 minutes seemed crazy even by Pre-Season standards but that wasn’t the end of the crazy goalscoring as Ellerslie re-took the lead immediately from the restart in play for the 2nd period – two more goals in that period after great assists from Finn Rathbone.

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The last 30 minutes saw Ellerslie grab 2 more goals before Birkenhead finished off the scoring with a counter-attack against a tiring Ellerslie team.  Probably a match that will give both coaches a few things to think about in terms of defence but also good to see the back of the net bulge 12 times.  The fans must have enjoyed it though.

 

In the main game Ellerslie played in all yellow as Birkenhead only had black shorts and like the Reserves I thought we started well but just couldn’t make the breakthrough we were after – Birko were as expected solid and efficient and with some players still to come back in to their team.

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Birko did grab a goal in the first 45 to lead 1-0 but Ellerslie battled hard to keep it at just one – but in the second half I don’t know if it was mental fatigue or physical fatigue but we hit a wall and Birko moved up a few gears and starting popping goals in at fairly regular intervals.  While we were not blown off the park like we were against Birko last season we slowly got picked apart by the Premier League team.

I’m sure the coaches will be looking at the video over the weekend and some training sessions sorted in regards to defensive transition – plenty to work on ahead of another Pre-Season regular game against Franklin United (details below).

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Details:

Ellerslie Reserves 8, Birkenhead Reserves 4
Ellerslie AFC 0, Birkenhead United 5

Next Game:

Ellerslie AFC vs Franklin United @ Drury Sports Complex – 12noon kickoff – 2nd March
Ellerslie Reserves vs Franklin Reserves @ Drury Sports Complex – 2pm kickoff – 2nd March

Photo’s by EAFC Media and Enzo Giordani

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Bucklands Beach and Ellerslie AFC can’t be separated in Pre-Season match

by EAFC Media

If last weeks first pre-season hit out was effected by the “warm weather” – Yes Simon it’s warm, climate change is real, deal with it – then this week’s weather ailment was an unusually strong wind – It was still hot but the wind made it hard to play….. and hot.

Saturday saw Ellerslie host Lotto NRFL Div 1 new boys Bucklands Beach for a double header friendly at Michaels Ave with the Reserves kicking off at 1pm and the First Team at 3:30pm.  The Reserves were having their first official hit out of the pre-season and new coach Seb (media release pending…) had a young team to work with, as skipper Mike Glenny and midfielder Monju were the only players over 23.  Still the game started well and Ellerslie opened the scoring early on as a trialist finished off a nice 1v1 with the Bucklands Beach GK.

Bucklands Beach did hit back and level the game before Ellerslie were given the opportunity to take all 3 imaginary points when they were awarded a penalty and veteran Monju stepped up and made no Krishna of the penalty.

Not a bad hit out for the young lads in the Reserves – it will be interesting to see how they fare next weekend against the conveyor belt of youth talent that is Birkenhead – more on that later.

In the first team game Ellerslie drafted a couple more trialists into the match day squad as a few familiar faces lined up for the opposition – with one of them in particular set to burn his former club as he opened the scoring with a very nice left foot strike from just inside the box which whistled past Div and into the net at the far post.  Bucklands well rewarded for some slick play in the buildup to that goal that evaded the Ellerslie press.

Again Ellerslie had some slick buildup at times in the game but similar to the game against Onehunga Mangere we couldn’t transform that play onto the scoreboard.  Bucklands Beach I’m told had been working on their defensive shape during the week and it showed as we struggled to break them down at times – however Dylan Horgan who sat out Tuesdays game with a slight strain cracked off a shot from a similar position from the games opening goal and while he got quite a lot of the shot, the GK managed to get down to block but the rebound fell straight to Art Twigg who made no mistake poking home from about 0.46 of a meter (or about 23 Jelly beans end on end – if that makes more sense to you).

The moment of the game from an Ellerslie point of view was a moment that officially never happened – Dylan picked up and ball and drove across field in the space between the Bucklands midfield and backline before playing a perfectly weighted pass into a channel for Karar to run onto and slot home past the GK – however the Bucklands player doing the line had his flag up instantly and the referee had to disallow what was a textbook goal.

That meant this game petered out into another draw – with again some promising signs for the Ellerslie team and a few things to work on as well.

Our next challenge is Birkenhead United (yes our annual Ellerslie v Birko pre-season game) at Michaels Ave, details below:

Ellerslie vs Birkenhead
23rd February 2019
Michaels Ave Reserve
1st Team – 3pm
Reserves – 1pm

 

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Ellerslie AFC and Onehunga Mangere play out stalemate in sweltering heat

by EAFC Media

“Bloody hell it’s hot” was the catchphrase of the players in last nights NRFL warm up game for Ellerslie AFC as they hosted Onehunga Mangere at Michaels Ave Reserve.  The other commonly heard phrases were “Aw Ref” and “Sorry, bad pass“, which was to be expected in the first warm up game for both teams for the 2019 season.

Ellerslie fielded a starting team that was mostly players from last season, with a few new trialists thrown into the mix and Onehunga Mangere (who had appointed Geoff Cooper as their new coach quite recently) fielded a large amount of players who were on trial for OMU.

The game was played in 3 x 30 min periods with Ellerslie holding the upper hand in the first 30 minute period after scoring a header from a corner early on in that period.  A flurry of missed opportunities (as is somewhat expected in pre-season) followed.  Geoff Cooper will however be pleased in the way his newly formed group of OMU trialists (including some ex Premier League, National League and International Representatives) bounced back in the 2nd and 3rd periods, dominating large periods of possession – without really putting in a final pass or getting a shot off.

Onehunga Mangere’s equaliser came in the 2nd period when a threatening cross was put in from their right wing side and the Ellerslie fullback in attempting to clear the ball got his body shape slightly wrong and ended up putting a strong header past the Ellerslie GK.

Ellerslie still had the bulk of the chances in the 2nd and 3rd period including one excellent chance where one of the Ellerslie trialists picked up a loose ball in broken play and skinned the last defender before putting his shot over the goal when 1v1 with the OMU goalkeeper.

All in all a decent hit out for both teams, but Ellerslie’s domination of the chances perhaps only down to the fact we had been going a week longer than our opposition who if they can keep their trial team together for the season will be a strong contender.

Ellerslie move onto another challenge this weekend as we host Bucklands Beach at Michaels Ave on Saturday for what should be another set of interesting pre-season matches as Fred, Terry, Sebastian, Marshy and Kris get another look at the players.

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NRFL Pre-Season
Ellerslie AFC vs Onehunga Mangere Utd
Michaels Ave # 1
12th Feb @ 7pm

Final Score:
Ellerslie AFC 1, Onehunga Mangere 1

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Far from a Shore thing

Playing at Allen Hill is always a bit strange – I wouldn’t say cursed although results there have been a little tough to get against Shore recently, but mostly that’s just because they have had some good players more than anything else.

On Saturday we had a classic Allen Hill moment, players were late, lost and no showed – mostly for the reserves which was a shame as a win against a tough Shore team would have put some real pressure on Fencibles, instead it looks tough to catch them now.  During the week I tried to prepare the players for the travel component of the North Shore challenge, I warned them about allowing extra travel time and I posted up both names, being Allen Hill Stadium and Dacre Park for the millennial’s to use for their google search (actually I’m pretty sure once they do a google search it tells them the travel time as well – maybe that’s not that useful once you have already left late…)

Still I’m confident my instructions stopped one player from heading to QBE stadium by mistake……

On a more serious note we did have players unavailable for a genuine and scary reason as Reserves player John Murphy who was a key part of the club last season and had just returned from a 6 month sabbatical and was preparing to don his Ellerslie colours for the first time this season was hit by a taxi on Friday night and was probably lucky to only suffer a badly broken leg – A bitter blow for John but he had the support of some of his teammates in Adam Barkley and Joe Junge who recused themselves of playing duties to be with their teammate and friend through his Hospital and Surgery experience, John’s family are still overseas so it was very important for Adam and Joe to be there!  We didn’t announce this news to the teams before their games as we didn’t want to distract them too much – some people knew and I’m sure we all wish John all the best with his recovery.

So to the Reserves game – a tough challenge against a Shore team who beat us in the end quite convincingly in the first round and on what was a very tricky pitch as well – it had drained well but was still soft on top and hard underneath which made footing a bit of an issue at times – some of the younger guys with only the one pair of boots struggled even more!!  In team news there was a welcome back to the squad for Rowan Corbett who had been on holiday and Alex Arnold who made his first start in Reserves, a well-deserved start.

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The game started well with Ellerslie doing well with the ball and creating a few opportunities across the front three of Rowan, Karar and Leon with Monju in behind them in the 10 role.  To be fair we probably wasted a couple of chances but also should have ended up with a man advantage when the Shore GK raced out to challenge Monju outside the box – was it not for the foul Monju would have had the ball on the edge of the box with only a defender who had retreated into the goal to beat – the definition of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.  (for those who are yelling at your screen now that the GK wasn’t the last man, stop reading now as you need to go pick up a copy of the laws of the game and catch up).   The referee however either didn’t want to effect the game so early or is still operating on the now defunct laws – either way the end result was only a yellow for the GK .  That didn’t slow us down initially as we kept pushing for a goal and a nice ball forward that was flicked on by Monju to Rowan who sprinted clear and finished well past the GK to open the scoring.

That was the extent of the scoring in the first half – as Rowan took his leave to sit on the bench for the First Team and U17’s player Andre Fruh took a spot in midfield and we shuffled the team around to suit.  Shore did come out better in the second half, and as the game wore on we weakened, something that is systematic of not having a full bench and also there has been a noticeable drop in training attendance from a few players in the reserves so conditioning is not maybe where it should be.  When Shore equalised we did stage a mini revival but not long after that Luke MacKay got hit by the cramp demon and had to be replaced, Nick Shaw came in for him into a midfield role and Karar I think dropped to fullback.  Our last sub saw Marshy enter the game for Karar who was required for First Team duties, a well deserved call up again for Karar who has made massive leaps with his game this season.

Shore grabbed another two goals in the second half to win the game – I don’t have the times or scorers as the Referee didn’t have access to comet so has not filled in the info on the match report.

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The result makes it tricky for us to hunt down Fencibles at the top of table and also means staying in second may be a challenge with third place Waiheke coming to Michaels Ave this weekend – a crucial fortnight for the Reserves so seeing good numbers at training would be a good start!

For the First Team we faced a bit of a challenge – with Dan McLean away we called up Seb who has been immense for the Reserves this season and has performed well for the First Team whenever called upon so it was great to see him pick up his 46th First Team appearance – Adam Scott kept his place in the side and Conrad returned in midfield as did Jordan Bresler.

Early on in the game we looked ok and moved the ball around reasonably well on the tricky pitch and Shore pressed us high to find an early error, which was not forth coming.  However in the 20th minute a couple of defensive lapses combined with some good play from Shore cost us a goal.  Rahman Bashir started the attack on the left flank and was well tracked by Sam Twigg before he passed the ball inside to Sam St De Criox who had not been tracked by Dylan – Sam made an excellent 1st time pass to Sean Latimer who had dropped off our backline and turned and played a little dinked ball over the backline to Sam St de Croix who had made a run from deep and had enough space to control Sean Latimer’s excellent pass and finish inside the right hand post – a nice little goal  but one that could have and maybe should have been stopped at several points.

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At halftime we spoke about how we were going to get back into the game – we had looked decent in midfield in stages with Dylan getting the ball in some good areas and Sam proving a threat in behind his fullback – we just gave away a lot of ball in the final third which released the pressure on what was a solid but not spectacular backline for Shore.

The second half however was not kind to us and we regressed and as the game wore on we struggled more and more – of course it could have been worse as only 3 minutes into the second half the referee awarded (harshly in my view) a penalty to North Shore after Rahman Bashir got inbehind us and chopped the ball back in the box and lost his footing as Jordan came in to shut him down – was there a little bit of contact, I didn’t see much but the referee was certain.  However the footy gods were smiling on us a little and Conor Tracey with all his experience made what we thought was a crucial save to deny Sam St de Criox a second goal.

Sam St de Criox didn’t wait long to make up for his effort from the spot as he slammed home a nice outside of the foot shot after a patient buildup that saw our midfield pulled to one side of the field and an intelligent ball to a late run from Sam saw him with the chance to bury his shot which he did well – this goal triggered a few changes as we brought on Ben Shaw and Rowan Corbett to try and shake a goal loose from the tree and mount an unlikely comeback

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Unfortunately all that happened is that Shore grabbed a third goal to kill off the game – this one was a little unlucky as a deflected pass wrongfooted Seb and then Sean Latimer who had two assists at this point managed to beat our last defender and beat Conor in goal with a nice angled strike.

Not an ideal game for us but Shore are a very decent side and with Sam St de Criox they have a gem of a player – Shore certainly belong in the argument for second place with Waiheke and MAP the other serious contenders in my mind.

This weekend we get to see promotion hopefuls Waiheke up close and personal in what will be a tricky set of games for us – check it out at 12:30pm for Reserves and 3pm for First Team at Michaels Ave Reserve.

Round 15 – How the West was won!

Ellerslie AFC vs Oratia Utd
Parrs Park

30th June 2018
NRFL Div 1 Reserves @ 12:30pm
NRFL Div 1 @ 3pm

A season defining set of fixtures for both Ellerslie First Team and Reserves for completely different reasons, but a trip to Parrs is always a challenge no matter what the scenario – see last years game for a prime example of that.

Reserves kicked off our away day with their fixture on the turf at Parrs Park on a crisp sunny winters day – perfect conditions for football!  A few changes in the team as well with GK being the problem position of the day as Lloyd was away on work, Jason was injured and all of our young keepers either injured or at a school game.  So we had to ask the team for someone to put their hand up, and it was no surprise that Grant Marshall took the challenge on board – more on that later…

Back into the starting team for this game were Victor, Luke MacKay, and Adam Barkley after a long injury layoff.  We also continued our youth development policy with Nick Shaw, Alex Arnold and Taylor Smith all coming into the team from the u17’s.

We also saw the return to the team for Joe Junge who played an impressive second half cameo!

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The game started well for us and very early on we were 2-0 up thanks to a great third man run from Adam Barkley who finished off his 1v1 easily and then a very technical goal to Josh Lai as he hit a side volley that dipped under the cross bar after a very good cross from Leon.

There were a few dicey moments at the back as Marshy settled into his role – a couple of dodgy moments when playing out had Ian the coach and Marshy the assistant coach with some tactical problems to resolve!

At the other end though things were pretty rosy as Karar grabbed a poachers goal after being the first one to a loose ball in the 20th min and then slammed a very nice low hard shot on the break past the Tia GK only 5 minutes later to increase the score to 4-0.

Tia took advantage of a bit of miscommunication at the back just prior to halftime to score their goal and ruin Marshy’s clean sheet!

At halftime we took off Adam Barkley who in his first game back was very sharp but feeling a little sore so no risks were taken there and Josh Lai who had first team duties was given a break.  In their places we brought on Joe and Connor Lewis into our forward line!

Because of all the changes the second half got a bit scrappy and while we had some chances we just couldn’t put them away until Joe got his first in the 73rd min and not wanting to miss a beat in his comeback game grabbed a second in the 95th min of the game.

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Second half appearances from Alex Arnold (a semi-seasoned Reserves player now) and debuts for Nick Shaw and Taylor Smith was pleasing to see and all three players handled themselves well – a testament to their work with the U17’s and Seb this season.

Reserves Table

That win puts some pressure on Fencibles who still lead the league on goal difference (and a game in hand) from Ellerslie and Waiheke sit in 3rd just 4 points back.  A big game this weekend as we take on middle of the table Forrest Hill Milford who have proved tricky and Fencibles face up against a MAP side who are good enough to beat anyone on their day, good luck to MAP!!

TIAvELL Res


For the first team game there were also a bunch of changes as Rowan and Denish were unavailable and Fred and Terry shuffled the lineup a little as well.  We welcomed back Denny Twigg to the starting lineup and Lex to the bench both after long injury breaks.

The surface at Parrs Park on their #1 was in great condition, clearly the club takes great pride in looking after the surface and they have done a stellar job – easily one of the best pitches, probably only behind Gower Park.  It’s great to see so many superb fields, credit to council and their team for sand-basing these grounds!

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The game itself was a curious mix of cagey and open – with both teams preferring to spend little time with the ball in their backline or deep in midfield – the preferred option was to get the ball forward as quickly as possible, Oratia preferring to play a little more on the counter and Ellerslie a little more front foot.

The end result was a bunch of chances, or almost chances throughout the game – Ellerslie with a couple in the first half, most notably to Art who ended up with a 1v1 with the keeper early in the first half but the ball wouldn’t sit for him so he tried a lob over the keeper which went just over the bar – Alex Clark with our other chance from a free kick that the Tia keeper saved well.

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The home side were not without chances as well – a couple of very good close range blocks Ellerslie defenders stopped them from scoring, the second ball from set piece play looking particularly strong for the Green Machine.

Halftime the focus was very much on reacting to second phase play, as the game was being well contested for any partially secured ball and Oratia def were getting the better of that kind of play.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
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Second half was more of the same, I think from my position behind the goal Ellerslie were attacking it looked like we were more dominant in the second half, but for large periods we didn’t have the right key to unlock the Oratia’s door of defence.

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A couple of subs entered the game in the shape of Lex and Josh Lai (for Denny and Dylan respectively) and it was Lex who all of a sudden made us look more dangerous and it came as no surprise when he opened the scoring with deft flick header after some good work by Art in the box and a dinked ball towards the back post.

That goal spurred Oratia into action and the tempo of the game went up several notches, Mr Black the referee however did a good job throughout the game and while he had to dish out a few cards as the game came to it’s conclusion he was always in control of the fixture.

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Josh Lai created the second goal after he was released down the left and chopped back onto his right foot and slid a ball across the box to Sam who slammed a low shot into the back of the net, the keeper got a good chunk of the shot but the power of the shot was enough that he couldn’t keep it out.

At 2-0 Ellerslie felt comfortable we could see it out and despite a few anxious moments we were able to defend the onslaught from a desperate Oratia side who to be fair to them played pretty well, defended with heart and attacked with a clear game plan in mind – sometimes things just don’t fall for you.

League Table FT

The three points however was valuable for Ellerslie as it takes off a bit of pressure for the next couple of games which are almost exclusively against teams chasing promotion spots, starting with FHM who have had a bit of a rough patch of form by their standards this weekend at 5pm at Michaels Ave!

TIAvELL FT

Round 12 – Bend it like… Clark?

Is the curse of the coast finally broken? Two back to back wins over Hibiscus at Stanmore Bay seems to indicate that this once impossible venue has become, well, possible.

Round 12 signified the start of the second round for the Northern Region Football League Division 1 and for us that meant a trip to Stanmore Bay, a location that despite it’s obvious attractions has never been a place we have looked forward to visiting. A First Team record (excluding today’s result) of something like 4 or 5 losses and 1 win.

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That solitary win came in the opening round of the 2017 NRFL Div 1 season when Ellerslie romped to a 4-1 win – you can read more about that here – thanks largely to a goal and top performance from Adam Barkley.

It’s not just the First Team who have experienced issues on the coast, the Reserves have had some rough results here as well – but in recent times the Reserves have gained the upper hand and that was no different today as the Ian Davidson and Grant Marshall led reserves (who were a little light on numbers again) got home comfortably.

Monju opened the scoring, playing in a higher midfield role than he normally does as he got on the end of a nice ball over the top – before swiveling and looping a nice volley over the stranded keeper.

We did have the ball in the back of the net a second time in the first half – however a late offside call meant the impressive Josh Lai was not able to cap his excellent game off with a goal.

So halftime saw us head into the sheds with a narrow 1 goal lead despite our dominance in large periods of the first 45 we just couldn’t find the elusive second goal – but mercurial skipper Michael Glenny went about changing all that late in the second period – more on that later.

A debut in the reserves came for Alex Arnold who skippered our U17’s team at the Auckland City Youth Development Trust tournament – he replaced Josh Lai who had first team bench duties to attend to and immediately impressed the senior players in the reserves with his tough-nosed approach and his tight marking – certainly a player for the future!

Aaron entered the game in the 69′ min as he replaced Adam Scott who through a series of solid performances had earned a bench spot and then Marshy replaced Seb with 9 minutes of regulation time to go.

That’s when Mike struck with his first goal for several seasons – up in the box for a corner that was not cleared properly from Coast and Mike’s “ex midget goal scoring sensation” instincts took over as he calmly toe poked the ball home to double the lead, much to his delight.

Sadly for Mike a youngster was about to steal his limelight, Will Sargent who reluctantly plays fullback (very well I might add) and in this game had also played on the wing showed absolute disrespect for his captain as he scored a worldie in the 2nd minute of added time with a thumping shot from at least halfway, over the Coast keeper and into the back of the net, a quality strike!

All in all a efficient performance against a tricky Coast side, with the coaches glad to take 3 points and focus on a key game this coming weekend against a MAP team we were lucky to take a point from last time.

More Photo’s here

MATCH DETAILS:HBCvELL Res


The First Team game was up next and there were a couple of changes in the team due to injury and suspension – Tariro took a knock to his knee against Melville on Monday so Aalok grabbed his first start in Ellerslie colours and Jordan Bresler made his full return from injury replacing Ben Shaw who picked up his 5th yellow card in Monday’s cup game.

The start of this game was very cagey with both teams feeling each other out – Hibiscus intent on building up from the back and pulling us over to one side of the field so they could expose the other side, with pace on both flanks. We had some good moments going forward which also exposed Fletcher in goal who did not look comfortable right from the get go – in one particular play he scuffed out a backpass which went straight to an Ellerslie player who tried their luck on goal but put it over. Fletcher started giving his team a serve before a member of the Coast deck started calling him out on his mistake – quite comical all round.

It wasn’t until the 39th minute (which is a period of the game when we normally would concede) that we took the lead with Alex Clarke making his first league start in 2018 smashed a free kick over (or around) a very short wall and into the goal – I can’t remember the last time we scored a direct free kick* so this was very surprising and of course very welcome.

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ALL THREE ELLERSLIE GOALS

*Its probably not that long ago, I just have a poor memory for these kind of things.

Apart from the goal the only other action of note was when Fletcher collided with Rowan “The Beast” Corbett just prior to halftime and the former came off much the worse with pretty bad ankle injury – To be fair he battled on for the remainder of the half and all of the second half but I can’t help but think it was hindering him somewhat.

Coast did make a change at halftime as they brought on Dan Cyra for Dan Fennell in presumably an attacking move to kick start a comeback but that work was all undone by a combination of back luck and calm finishing. Rowan grabbed a real poachers goal as he raced onto a flicked on clearance and showed plenty of composure to slide his shot past Fletcher in goal to double the lead.

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Coast responded to that 2nd goal by bringing on more pace in Trent Mayes – who some consider the quickest player going around in NRFL – however it just wasn’t the home teams game and courtesy of another free kick masterclass from Alex we sealed the points in the 78th minute with a beauty of a free kick (which you can see in the video above).

Some of the social media reaction to Alex’s double

So that was this game all done and dusted – well almost – a trip to the Coast is never complete without a trip to the curry house – this time a new venue (Big Tikka) which was very well enjoyed by all involved.

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More Photo’s here

Some big games coming up, this weekend both teams host MAP in games that are very important for very different reasons for the First Team and Reserves – come on down and check them out:

Saturday
Michaels Ave Reserve
Reserves @ 2:30pm, First Team @ 5pm

MATCH DETAILS:HBCvELL First.JPG