By Bob Pearce / asbpremiership.co.nz
AUCKLAND - Perhaps they should be reinforcing the goal nets at Fred Taylor Park before Waitakere United and Auckland come to the Fred this Sunday with a total of 32 goals between them in the past three weeks.
But then maybe not. Waitakere haven’t conceded a goal in their two ASB Premiership and one O-League games, while Auckland have let in only four.
Their Super City derbies are generally tight with the last regular season clash at the park won 1-0 by Auckland despite losing captain Ivan Vicelich with a rare and early red card.
Waitakere’s scoring spree reached record heights with 10 against 10-man Tefana from Tahiti and continued last Sunday with six in Dunedin’s new stadium. Roy Krishna scored five against the Tahitians and Ryan de Vries and Allan Pearce have also been prolific.
Goals breed goals and strikers ride scoring streaks like cricketers plunder runs when they enjoy a hot run of form.
“I saw the boys’ faces when we arrived at the new stadium and I knew no team talk would be necessary,” said Waitakere coach Neil Emblen.
“Such a great stadium and pitch and they couldn’t wait to get started.
“But it will be a tough game at the weekend. Auckland City have taken the game to a new level. The depth of their squad makes them the team to beat in the Premiership. I took the under-23 squad for a game against them and they gave us a footballing lesson.
“Can we beat them? We can still do it. We’ve got the players who can hurt them but we’ve also got to contain them.”
Waitakere have a fit squad to call on with the only doubtful starter, Aaron Scott, who is on paternity alert and didn’t travel to Dunedin. The West Aucklanders have a bit of payback in mind after Auckland beat them 3-2 in the pre-season charity game at the Fred.
Auckland City’s Premiership campaign doubles as a build-up for the FIFA World Club Cup in Japan next month. But games out west are never just a stepping stone.
Team Wellington gave the Kiwitea Krew a fright last weekend, coming back from 2-0 down to draw level before conceding two goals in the final quarter.
There were some extenuating circumstances. Auckland had played the under-23s a few days before and six of their squad had been in the under-23 camp all week.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx has a big and deep squad and so far has chosen to rotate his players. They are largely injury free, though late Spanish import Andreu is still working up to peak fitness.
“Japan remains our main aim. With a big squad I want to make everybody feel part of it and whoever is chosen is up to the task.
“Waitakere are peaking and we know they’ve got strong players in the attacking third. We’ve got to be prepared for that, but still playing our same style. All these games are tight but I hope it’s a good game for the spectators.”
In the early days of the national league it would have been fair to describe the Auckland teams as “bitter” rivals. Now any bitterness has largely been replaced by respect while the rivalry is as keen as ever.
Alex FENERIDIS and Ian HOGG receive recalls. Halili NAGIME is drafted into the squad
Andy RALPH is unavailable while Ryan ZOGHBY remains on the long term injured list.
James PRITCHETT, Sam CAMPBELL and Liam LITTLE are left out of the squad along with Simon ARMS who returns to the Youth team.
Aaron SCOTT has one eye on the maternity ward with his wife expecting a baby leaving coach Neil EMBLEN with a potential selection dilemma.
Only three players have scored in a ‘Super City’ derby for both clubs – Paul SEAMAN, Daniel KOPRIVCIC and Keryn JORDAN.
Waitakere United have made home advantage pay in recent seasons with five wins, one draw and one defeat in their last seven matches with Auckland on home turf.
Last season’s 0-1 defeat to Auckland at Fred Taylor Park was Waitakere United’s first home loss to Auckland City since 2006.
ASB Premiership - Round 3
1- Danny ROBINSON (GK)
1- Jacob SPOONLEY (GK)
2- Jason ROWLEY
3- Ian HOGG
3- Aaron SCOTT
5- Angel BERLANGA
4- Tim MYERS
6- Chad COOMBES
7- Martin BULLOCK
8- David MULLIGAN
8- Chris BALE
9- Manel EXPOSITO
10- Allan PEARCE
10- Luis CORRALES
11- Ross McKENZIE
11- Daniel KOPRIVCIC
12- Roy KRISHNA
13- Alex FENERIDIS
15- Gagame FENI
14- Adam DICKINSON
17- Jake BUTLER (c)
15- Ivan VICELICH (c)
20- Ryan de VRIES
16- Albert RIERA
22- Matthew UPTON (GK)
17- Adam McGEORGE
24- Luke ADAMS
20- Emiliano TADE
25- Sean LOVEMORE
21- Andreu GURAO
26- Bill TUILOMA
22- Andrew MILNE
25- Halili NAGIME
26- Liam ANDERSON (GK)