Tauranga City’s cup run ends in Auckland

Tauranga City took the lead at Kiwitea Street. File Image. SunLive.

Tauranga City’s Chatham Cup run came to a halt this weekend as they were dispatched by one of New Zealand’s top teams at the third round stage.

But the Links Avenue based side gave NRFL table toppers Auckland City a major scare early on before succumbing to a 7-2 loss.

Tauranga stunned Auckland City by taking the lead in the 13th minute after an own goal from the home side at Kiwitea Street.

That simply seemed to spur the hosts, regulars at the FIFA Club World Cup, into action. Reid Drake equalised just minutes later before New Zealand international Cam Howieson put the home side into the lead.

Dylan Manickum stretched that margin to 3-1 before Angus Kilkolly scored a fourth, equalling a club record of 10 consecutive games scoring with late Auckland great Keryn Jordan in the process.

Tauranga regrouped at half-time and threatened a remarkable comeback when Andrew Carter narrowed the advantage to two with 30 minutes left to play.

However, any hope of a resurgence was dampened when All Whites midfielder Howieson completed a personal brace with a well-placed free-kick.

Two late goals from New Zealand futsal international Manickum saw him complete his hat-trick and added an extra gloss to the scoreline.

Speaking to the Auckland City website, their head coach Jose Figueira praised Barry Gardiner’s Tauranga side for their brave performance.

"Tauranga City AFC deserve a lot of credit for the way they went about the game.

"I thought they retained their game plan throughout the match very well and they showed a discipline and an ability to hurt teams on the break at speed.”

Tauranga City will now turn attention back to their promotion campaign in the NRFL Division 1.

They currently sit fourth in the table but just three points behind league leaders Albany United, who they beat 1-0 back in April.

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