94 goals in 17 games is an average of 5.5 goals a game, and there were 9 games last weekend where the back of the net was hit 6 or more times!
In theory, this should have been the final round for those playing in an 8 team division. In theory, this week’s round up should be full of congratulations and commiserations. In reality, there are only 4 teams that started August knowing they will be playing different opposition in 2018 and most teams will be playing their first of many catch up games on Sunday. Congratulations to Auckland Wanderers 2 for securing second place in League 1 and a place in the Championship in 2018, and to Double Rum Greenhithe for securing one of the top two places in League 2 and promotion into League 1 next season (the title however is still up for grabs). Commiserations to SudAmerica, who will be dropping down into League 1 next year, and to the University of Auckland Reserves, who can no finish no higher than their current placing at the foot of League 1.
To mix things up again, I’m going to start this week’s round up in the Masters League, where 27 goals were scored in only 3 games. Greenhithe City scored 5 goals against Waiheke Old Fullas and yet still ended up losing by 2 goals (5-7). League Leaders, and title favourites, Old Fellas scored 5 goals against second place Zamantix Rovers Old Boys, but only conceded 2, extending their lead to six points with three games still to play. Serious FC scored 7 goals against bottom-placed Boys to Men Pukekohe, who have now conceded 75 goals in their thirteen games.
Viti FC’s 5-1 win over U-striker means that they are still the firm favourites to finish on top of League 2, despite them currently lying in second spot, a point behind leaders (and promoted) Double Rum Greenhithe, who beat bottom-placed All Red 4-1 to continue their own red hot form. Technically, third-placed Zamantix Force, who comfortably beat Massey Albany 7-2, could finish in second placed but they are reliant on Viti failing to score anymore points/goals in their remaining 4 games and failing to submit their match cards. Viti need a point at home against Aotea Sport Eastern on Sunday to secure their promotion. Aotea Sport Eastern warmed up for this game with a 3-2 win over Auckland Unicorns last weekend in the battle for 5th and 6th placing.
As already noted, the top two spots in League 1 are now locked in, with Auckland Wanderer’s second team securing a 3-0 win over the bottom-placed UoA reserves. Champions HNK Auckland maintained their perfect record with a 3-1 win over third-placed Zamantix Rovers Return, whilst sixth-placed AUT FC’s hopes of survival were given a huge boost with a 2-1 win over seventh-placed Nixon Park. The students, who were winless and rooted to the bottom for the first two months of the season are now in control of their own destiny, with 2 games in hand over the team 1 point below them in the league. The two teams play each other for the third time this season on the 20th, with the students having also knocked Nixon out of the cup. 5th placed Kamarak secured a 3-0 over 4th placed Dalian in the other game, ensuring they stay ahead of AUT on goal difference.
Goal difference is also all that separates AUT FC’s first team and a place in the automatic promotion spaces, although they also have more games to play then those around them. For the second season in succession AUT did the double over the University of Auckland FC, securing a 2-1 home win that keeps them level of points with second-placed Kiwi True Blues, who comfortably beat the now relegated SudAmerica 6-0. League leaders, and title favourites, United FC beat Kingsland Athletic 4-2 to maintain their 4 point cushion at the top. City Fringe’s destiny is in their hands, following a 3-3 draw with Khukuri that leaves them two points above Kingsland with three games in hand. Kingsland’s one remaining game is against the UoA however, where as City Fringe’s have to play AUT FC (twice) and United FC for a second time.
Finally, in the Premiership it has certainly been a season of two halves for early favourites Auckland Wanderers, who suffered their third straight league defeat of the season, losing 5-1 against the league leaders Internationale. Inter’s win give’s them a healthy seven-point lead at the summit and an even healthier goal difference that is now in double figures. Wanderer however have now dropped to joint 5th place, having scored the same number of goals as they have conceded in their seven games. Only goal difference keeps them above sixth-placed Independiente, who drew 1-1 against fourth-placed Bohemian Celtic 1. The Auckland Volcanoes versus Bohemian Celtic 2 game was postponed, whilst Second-placed Zamantix Rovers (who are still yet to play Wanderers this season) had the BYE.
So, as we officially enter extra-time, there is still so much yet to be decided. Tune in next week, to see if Viti are, as predicted, confirmed as the second team to secure promotion into League 1 next season, and whether Auckland Wanderers can end their dismal run of form.