Auckland City racked up Northern League win number 18 in the midweek rain as they beat Manukau United 3-1 at the Croatian Cultural Club.
In a game rescheduled to help ease the Navy Blues fixture jam, the newly-crowned league champions took an early lead when Mario Ilich headed home a free kick in the 10th minute.
Manukau levelled in the 16th minute when Keegan Linderboom headed into the City net.
City regained their lead in the 24th minute when a slip on the wet pitch by Manukau goalkeeper Nathan Garrow allowed Reid Drake to steer the ball into the net.
Turning round at half-time with City leading 2-1, Manukau came back with a strong second half performance, putting the home side under pressure for spells.
But Matt Ellis made sure of the win in the 78th minute when he dodged several Manukau defenders, turned and crashed the ball high into the net from just inside the penalty area.
The win stretches City’s lead to 20 points, with the side having taken 55 from a possible 57 points.
And with only three games to go, only one question remains: can they go through the Northern League season unbeaten?
It certainly looks that way.
Main photo: Auckland City … coasting to the title. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Game played on Tuesday July 19, 2022
Auckland City 3 (Mario Ilich10′, Reid Drake 24′, Matt Ellis 78′)
Manukau United 1 (Keegan Linderboom 16′)
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