Auckland United defeated Melville United 2-0 in New Zealand Northern League action. First a quick word about how the New Zealand structure works. In the first phase of the season, teams play in three regional leagues with the top teams qualifying for the national league at the end of the season. Officially all of the teams are amateur but you need only glance at any of the league tables to see that some of these teams are quite a bit more amateur than others. I was planning to wait until the national phase to do reports on the league since there are some very lopsided matchups in the first phase and only one game is broadcast per weekend until the national phase. But this match was broadcast between two teams who look very likely to qualify for the national phase so I thought the match report would be meaningful. Overall the level of domestic football in New Zealand is not very high but almost every single player called up by the all-whites got their start there. Lots of them play in Leagues like MLS, the Danish Superliga, Scottish Premier League, and of course, there’s English Premier League veteran Chris Wood. So it is very much possible to find good players in the league.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: New Zealand
- Age: 19
- Date of Birth: 16/07/2003
- Current Club: Auckland United
- Position: Winger
- Preferred Foot: Right
I remember watching Oliver Fay in an earlier match this season and not being that impressed. In that match, Auckland United was thrashing their opposition but Fay was not involved in many shots. But in this match, cutting in from the left wing, he was a shot-creating machine. Over and over in this match, Fay dribbled inside and fired off shots and crosses. By my count, he had 6 shots in this game, almost all of which were from the left side of the penalty area. I have no idea how didn’t come out of this game with at least one goal but, for me, the most encouraging thing a young attacker can show is consistent shot creation.
Fay is very right footed so it was always pretty predictable where he was going but this did not have any effect on the ability of the Melville defenders to stop him. In addition to his shooting Fay also showed some decent passing. He was very fond of clipping a pass in the opposite direction of the momentum of his body, which often through defenders off. He also played a lot of outside of the foot through balls. Fay has a very strong first touch and dribbling ability. He can turn on a very tight radius which helps him out of tricky situations. His passing and dribbling skills helped him to be involved in the build-up, not just in the final 3rd. He also tracked back to defend quite a bit. He’s not the most physically gifted player of all time but he did put in a lot of work being a two-way player.
Rating – A2
I have now seen Fay play twice. In the first match, he looked like he was just out there to make up the numbers and in the second game, he looked like you could slot him into the Wellington Phoenix lineup tomorrow. So I think it’s fair to say that consistency is an issue. He also only has two goals so far, in a league that has very inflated scoring numbers. So I’m not going to say that he should get a move abroad immediately. But I will say that if every game looks like this in the national phase of the season then someone should be snatching him up. Fay is one to keep an eye on for sure.