Auckland City youngster Maro Bonsu-Maro has come off the bench to score a late winner over Hamilton Wanderers to continue the Navy Blues’ perfect winning record in the ISPS Handa Premiership.
It looked like Ricki Herbert’s much-improved Wanderers would be the first team to take points off the defending champions this season when the visitors went down to 10 men in the 56th minute after Dylan Manickum was sent off.
But Bonsu-Maro entered the match in the 81st minute and scored the winner with three minutes remaining to break Wanderers’ hearts at Porritt Stadium. The fourth-placed Wanderers had fought valiantly and felt they deserved more from the match.
Auckland City Coach Ramon Tribulietx paid credit to Bonsu-Maro, the 21-year-old Cook Islands striker, who came on in the closing stages and made a difference.
“We needed our substitutes to give us something extra and we needed a player to make runs in behind or be able to hold the ball up,” he said.
“Maro has worked very hard to understand what we are about and he tries to learn. He's very young but he’s got a great attitude and he got his reward. It was a very tough game and we have to be pleased with the effort we put in with just ten men in the second half. The players deserve big credit for the effort they put in under the circumstances and they've got themselves a very big three points.”
The win sees Auckland City continue their perfect start to the season where they have won six from six and have a goal difference of 11. They jump out to a four point lead over Team Wellington and they have a game in hand over Jose Figueira’s team who head to the FIFA Club World Cup this week.
Southern United also left it late to secure the three points against the Wellington Phoenix Reserves at Newtown Park in Wellington.
The Paul O’Reilly coached team took the lead when a looping effort evaded the keeper Zac Jones and found the back of the net. It was ruled to be an own goal from Boyd Curry.
The Phoenix came back into the game when Curry got his name on the score-sheet for the right team. Wellington earned a corner and Curry was on hand to finish with a powerful header.
It looked like the points were going to be shared in the capital before Southern forward Garbhan Coughlan popped up at the back post to tap home the winner in injury time.
Southern, who finished fifth last season, recorded their third win of the season to climb to fifth on the table and they have a game in hand.
Meanwhile down in Tasman, Hawke’s Bay United delivered their best 45 minutes of the season when they scored four unanswered goals to blow Tasman United off Trafalgar Park.
The Brett Angell coached team, who had Paul Ifill returning to his old club, found their best form to remind everyone of their quality. Frenchman Maxime Oliveri scored in the 8th minute and a minute later Sam Mason-Smith tapped one in from close range.
There was more to come from the visitors when Jorge Akers continued his goal-scoring form and Sho Goto made it 4-0 before half-time. It was a sublime start for Hawke’s Bay which Andy Hedge’s team had no answer for.
The home team rallied in the second half and scored two quick goals through substitute Max Winterton and Kiernan Hughes-Mason midway through the second-half, but the damage was done in the first half and Hawke’s Bay United claimed a valuable three points on the road. They move to seventh on the table.
But the main talking point of today was Bonsu-Maro’s late winner for the Navy Blues. It keeps them at the top of the ISPS Handa Premiership table and the team to beat leading into Christmas.
ISPS Handa Premiership Match Week Eight Results:
Hamilton Wanderers 0Auckland City 1 (Maro Bonsu-Maro 87’)HT: 0-0
Wellington Phoenix Reserves 1 (Boyd Curry 52’)Southern United 2 (Own Goal – Curry 37’, Garbhan Coughlan 90’ + 2’)HT: 0-1
Tasman United 2 (Max Winterton 66’, Kiernan Hughes-Mason 70’)Hawke’s Bay United 4 (Maxime Oliveri 8’, Sam Mason-Smith 9’, Jorge Akers 30’, Sho Goto 34’)HT: 0-4
Waitakere United 0Eastern Suburbs 2 (Andre de Jong 59’, 86’)HT: 0-0
Team Wellington 1 (Own goal – Liddicoat 44’)Canterbury United 1 (Maksym Kowal 75’)HT: 1-0
For the ISPS Handa Premiership table click here
Article added: Sunday 02 December 2018
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