Congratulations Viti FC on not only reclaiming top spot in League 2, but also securing promotion into League 1 with three games to spare (two of which are against bottom-placed All Red). Commiserations to Kingsland Athletic (Championship) and Nixon Park (League 1), both of whom had their relegations confirmed as a result of some shock results occurring elsewhere in their respected divisions.
This week I am going to start with the ASFA Premiership, which saw the top two teams suffer defeats and 17 goals scored in just two games. in League leaders Internationale had their winning run come to an end at the hands of the now second-placed Auckland Volcanoes, losing 1-2. Zamantix Rovers, who started the day in second place, ended it in fourth, after a 7-2 hammering by Independiente. Meanwhile, things just go from bad to worse for Auckland Wanderers, who suffered their fourth straight league defeat, losing 6-2 to the now third-placed Bohemian Celtic 1. Interestingly, though Wanderers now find themselves in 6th, only two points above the bottom-placed Bohemian Celtic 2 (who had the BYE this week), they could still finish the season as Champions. Unlike any other team in the competition, they still have six games to play (and 18 points to play for). Win them all and they would finish on 29 points, which could well be enough to take the trophy. Stranger things have happened! let’s not forget that this team once won 42 ASFA games in a row.
Congratulations to City Fringe, who successfully secured their place in the Championship for another year by ending United FC’s ten game unbeaten run with a 4-0 away win. As noted above, the consequences of this unexpected result was the confirmed relegation of Kingsland Athletic, who actually finished their season with a hard fought 3-2 win over the University of Auckland FC. United FC’s shock Loss also allowed second-placed Kiwi True Blues and third-placed AUT FC to close the gap to a single point, with all three teams having to play each other again over the next month. KTB’s 6-0 win against Khukuri means that they have now scored 22 more goals than the league leaders and 32 goals more than third-placed AUT FC. AUT FC were only able to add two more to their tally this week, beating bottom-placed SudAmerica 2-0. Only HNK (11) have conceded fewer goals that these two title contenders this season. Interestingly, City Fringe could yet have another role to play in the title race, with AUT FC still having to play them twice, starting this Sunday. KTB face the University of Auckland knowing that a win will see them take top spot for the first time this season.
HNK Auckland’s 4-1 win over Dalian saw them finish their first season with the ASFA with a rather impressive 14 wins from 14 games, 71 goals scored with only 11 conceded. The Croatian Club can now turn their attention to this week’s Cup Semi Final against the only other unbeaten team across all five divisions, League 2 leaders Viti FC. Viti are also the only team to have scored more goals than HNK this year. The BIGGEST CONGRATULATIONS of the week, however, must go to a team that looked odds on favourites to experience back to back relegations this time last month. AUT FC 2’s 1-0 win over recently promoted Auckland Wanderer 2 not only relegated Nixon Park, but also gives them the opportunity to secure a top half finish. Kamarak finished their season with a 3-1 win over the already relegated bottom-placed University of Auckland Reserves, but could still be caught and overtaken by AUT FC 2 if they can take maximum points from their remaining two fixtures. Unbelievable!
Viti’s involvement in the Cup semi-finals next Sunday means that we will have to wait at least another couple of weeks before we can crown them the 2017 Champions of League 2. Though Double Rum Greenhithe are only 2 points behind the league leaders, their title dreams took a hit this week with a narrow 4-3 loss to U-Striker and are reliant on bottom-placed All Red (played 12, lost 12, goals scored 11, goals conceded 70) winning both of their catch up games against the team that once again top the table. Zamantix Force proved too strong for All Red this week, winning 8-1, whilst Massey Albany ensured that they finished their second ASFA season on zero points despite securing their third win of the year with an 8-2 thrashing of Auckland Unicorns (a team that they would have finished above if they hadn’t been stripped 11 points).
Finally, the match of the day in the Over 35s Masters league was a 4-4 draw between Zamantix Old Boys and Greenhithe City. Waiheke Old Fullas were awarded a 3-0 default win over Pukekohe, whilst the Old Fellas secured a win of the same score line against Serious FC. The Old Fellas may have an eight point cushion at the top, but the third-placed Old Fullas have enough games in hand to ensure that the title race is likely to continue until they face off against each other on the 27th. I could be wrong!