Fun fact: Of the 37 teams still competing in the 2017 ASFA Season, only 1 was playing their 12th league game of the season last week (week 12). We still have 4 teams that have only played 8 games, and 1 who has only played 6 league games all season. It’s going to be a very busy August for some, assuming teams will not agree to share the points.
The league which has seen the least number of games played this season is the Premiership, which for the first time in over two months has a new team sitting at the summit. Internationale’s 2-0 away win over long-time leaders Zamantix Rovers sees them take the top spot by a point (plus a game in hand). Auckland Wanderers suffered their third successive loss, but remain in third place on goal difference. This week it was Independiente who took the points with a 4-1 victory. In the Bohemian Celtics derby, it was the number 1 team who came out on top with a narrow 4-3 win. Seven points is all that separates the seven teams left in this competition, with plenty more still available to all teams over the next month. Interestingly, it’s the team that now finds itself at the foot of the table who has the least number of games left to play (2). 3 teams have 4 games still to play, whilst Wanderers are somehow only half way through their season.
The postponement of the AUT FC vs United FC fixture not only allowed Kiwi True Blues to regain second place, albeit on goal difference, but also denied the unbeaten league leaders the opportunity to open a 7 point gap on their nearest challenges. KTB’s 9-1 thumbing of Kingsland Athletic will give them confidence going into the last month of the season, and puts them in a strong position should the title be decided on goals scored. If AUT win their game in hand then their season ending game against United could well be the game that decides who will be the 2017 champions of the Championship. Khukuri’s 1-0 win over SudAmerica ensures that they’re only 3 points behind the teams sharing second spot, whilst City Fringe moved out of the relegation places for the first time this season with a 4-2 victory of the University of Auckland. The fight at the bottom is even closer than the fight at the top.
In League 1, the games played column looks a lot more normal for week 12 of the season, with the majority of teams having played 11 games, and only a couple having played 10. Champions-elect HNK Auckland continue to hand out valuable lessons to their opponents, adding another 9 goals to their goals-scored tally at the expense of the AUT FC second team, who did at least manage to add another 1 to their own tally to ensure that they have now scored as many goals as the title chasing AUT first team (20). Nixon Park ended their dismal run of form and moved off the foot of the table with a 5-0 win over Dalian FC, whilst Auckland Wanderers reserves remain 9 points behind the league leaders (with 9 points to play for) following their 3-0 win over Kamarak. If they are to cause the biggest upset in the history of the ASFA and take the title on goal difference, however, they will not only have to rely on HNK failing to win another game, but also win all their remaining games by more than 8 goals. I mean no disrespect to the Kamarak FC boys but something tells me that the league 1 title will be won at the Croatian Club this coming Sunday, assuming the rain doesn’t lead to even more postponements.
They may be unbeaten and have scored more goals than the combined total of the teams sitting in second and third place on the table, but league 2 leaders Viti FC (25 points) are somehow still only six points ahead of fourth placed Zamantix Force, the team they narrowly beat 3-2 in this round. Sadly, both Double Rum Greenhithe (2nd, 23 points) and U-Striker (3rd, 21 points) were once again denied the opportunity to take the field this week due to no fault of their own. Both teams were awarded 3-0 wins over a couple of teams who are still desperately short of players. All Red and Auckland Unicorns did get to have a game, with the Unicorns taking the point with a 4-1 away win that leaves them only 1 point off fifth placed.
Two postponements, provided Zamantix Rovers Old Boys with the opportunity to claim the award for being the only team to have played 12 games at the 12th week point of the season. Their 2-0 away win over Serious FC was also enough to see them draw level on points with League Leaders, Old Fellas, and open a six point gap on third placed Old Fullas, who they get to play this coming Sunday.
Game of the round 13 has got to be Auckland Wanderers versus Zamantix Rovers, although I’m sure the best place to be at 4.00pm this Sunday will be the Croatian Cultural Club. Listening to the rain lash down outside, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have another week of ground closures to deal with.