Sunday, February 25, 2024

Local derby action packed

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Last Saturday’s game saw the men’s first teams from Fencibles and Bucklands Beach go head to head. Photo supplied: David Joseph/

Football in east Auckland came to a new level of excitement on Saturday when the men’s first teams from Fencibles and Bucklands Beach took each other on.

This was the beginning of the second round of NRFL Division1, so the second time they have faced each other (BBAFC came from behind to win the first encounter at Riverhills 4-3). On Saturday they won 2-1.

The two clubs brought a new meaning to derby football in east Auckland.  A crowd of more than a couple of hundred surrounded the pitch at Lloyd Elsmore, the home ground of Bucklands Beach. There were groups of passionate and vocal supports from both clubs cheering their teams on enthusiastically with the odd bit of heckling the opposition.

Saturday’s game turned out to be as close and tense as the first match (full of tension).  It was a tight first half, back and forth where both teams had some good chances, Bucklands down the sides with James Hoyt and Josh Smith, Fencibles in the middle with Horace James.

A new ruling this season in the NRFL is the temporary dismissal.  After a bit of back chat to the ref Carl Watkins, Fencibles’ Horace James found himself in the sin bin for 10 minutes.  However Bucklands weren’t able to capitalise on Fencibles being down a player.   The teams went into the changing rooms at half time 0-0.

Bucklands started the second half well and applied some great pressure and were rewarded in the 61st minute when Iwa Shaker was able to put one past the Fencibles keeper Fergus Connolly.

Fencibles fought on strongly with a lot of go-forward and after a scramble just inside the goal box and a Fencibles player going down, Watkins pointed to the penalty spot.

Horace James confidently slotted the penalty past Bucklands keeper Robert Martinkovic to equalise.

The excitement and tension went to a new level on and off the pitch. Bucklands coach Rudy Mozr made a substitution bringing on young Isaac Harraway who brought some fresh energy for Bucklands.

Chasing a ball on the far edge of Fencibles box, he was brought down.  Again referee Watkins blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot, this time for Bucklands.

Ben Culpan for Bucklands stepped up and scored, just as he did in their first encounter.  Fencibles continued to fight on, pushing forward, creating a number of opportunities, Bucklands kept pushing them back and looking for the break away.

Josh Smith of Bucklands was unlucky not to score having skipped around Fencibles keeper Fergus Connolly only to hit the post.

After 5 minutes of extra time, which seemed like a lifetime to the Bucklands Beach faithful, the game came ended with Bucklands Beach wining 2-1.

“Saturday’s game exhibited quality tough football, great atmosphere, high tension, passionate club pride…this can only be good for football in east Auckland,” said Paul MacKenzie, senior convenor at BBAFC.

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