This time next week, the global game will have new World Champions. Will it by the French, the Belgians, the Croats or the English that are celebrating at 5am next monday morning? is football really coming home, or are the English fans going to be left dissapointed once again? I’m sure there’s a few players within the KTB team hoping that will be the case? Will it be the HNK Auckland boys calling in sick next Monday? At least FIFA have had the decency to schedule the final for a sunday afternoon, meaning that the ASFA won’t be affected by it.
I’m going to start this week, by looking at the bottom of the ASFA Premiership, where only 5 points seperate the team in 5th from the team sitting in 8th place. These two sides met yesterday, with AUT FC 1 recording their best result of the season, beating Auckland Wanderers 3-1 at Taharoto Park. Independiente’s 6-2 loss at the hands of leaders Kiwi True Blues means that they’re now only a point above AUT, whilst Bohemian Celtic’s narrow 1-0 loss to Auckland Volcanoes leaves them a further point ahead in 7th, albeit with a game in hand. At the top, Internationales 1-1 draw against Zamantix Rovers Deuce leaves the defending champions 6 points behind leaders KTB, with two games in hand. It’s going to be a very interesting finale to the season, with these bottom three teams still to play each other and the top two facing off against each other next week at Seddon Fields. Zamantix Rovers, who sit level on points with Inter, host AUT next Sunday and are still in with a chance of jumping the two teams above them should they slip up. 4th placed Volcanoes travel to Indy next week and are only a point behind Inter and Rovers. Like Inter, Volcanoes have two games in hand over the team sitting at the Summit. Wanderers host Bohemian Celtics in the other fixture, and will be wanting to ensure that they don’t get dragged into the scrap at the bottom.
HNK’s impressive 5-2 win over Bohemian Celitcs 2 ensure that they can enjoy Croatia’s World Cup Semi-Final against England with a seven point lead over their opponents at the top of the league. It’s much tighter in the middle of the pack, with both FC Eagles and United only two points behind Bohs and fifth-placed Khukuri only two points behind them. FC Eagles recorded a 3-1 win over Khukuri, whilst United were gifted a 3-0 win by the bottom-placed University of Auckland, who were unable to field a team.
Two teams scored ten goals in league 1 this week, with league leaders Dalian defeating Double Rum Greenhithe 10-2 away from home and Western Wanderer’s making it 7 wins on the bounce with a 10-1 thrashing of Zamantix Rovers Return. Dalian’s huge win ensures that they now have a 6 point and an 18 goal advantage over second placed Nixon Park, who were able to see off a spirited effort from AUT FC 2 in a 4-2 win. Elsewhere, Kamarak and the Spermwhales both scored 6 in their wins over City Fringe and Zamantix Force. Force’s 6-4 loss to the Whales leaves them eight points behind second placed Nixon Park, and five points ahead of the Rovers Return. Kamarak’s 6-1 win over City Fringe has given them some breathing space over the four teams below them. As with the Premiership, only 5 points seperates the bottom four, many of whom have still got to play each other in the final weeks of the season. Amazingly, having both played 11 games, 8th placed DRG and ninth-placed City Fringe have the same goal difference (minus 25). Next week sees the top 5 play the bottom 5, with Dalian hosting Kamarak, Nixon travelling to City Fringe and the Force hosting Wanderers. Eslewhere AUT host the Whales and the Rovers Return host DRG.
Only two fixtures were played in League Two following the postponement of the Waitakere Rangers game against Albany Green Machines. Aotea Sport Eastern and Saigon enjoyed a ten goal thriller that earned both teams a point with the final score being 5-5. Viet Stars overcame a great effort by All Red to take the three points in a 2-1 away win. Unicorns had the bye. The results don’t do much to the table, with the Stars overtaking AGM, who have somehow only played 7 games this season (two less that the three teams above them and three less than the two teams below them). Win these games in hand and AGM would be challenging Rangers for the title. Looking ahead, I’ve just seen that AGM will have another week off next Sunday, giving the teams abouve them an opportunity to open up a bigger gap.
Finally, in the Masters Conference, the defending champions are back at the summit following their narrow 3-2 win over Zamantix Old Boys and Waiheke Old Fullas 3-3 draw against the Korean Tigers. Only 4 points seperate the top three with third-placed Old Boys having a game in hand. Greenhithe City sit in fourth place following the 1-0 away win against Serious FC, who are now only 3 points above the bottom two teams (who have swapped places). U-Strikers 6-3 win over Viet NZ puts the two teams on equal points. Next week pits the Old Fellas against U-Striker, the Old Fullas against Greenhithe and the Old Boys against Serious FC. Korean Tigers play Viet NZ in the other game.
In sum, there’s still so much still play for at the top and bottom of all the divisions, with the 2018 season likely to go deep into August, if not September, so many of the teams outside of the Premiership. Finals Day has already been pushed back a week to the 15th and there will probably be teams having to play mid-week games under floodlights if we are to finish before the Cricket Season commences.