Last Sunday witnessed saw 5 games played and one default. Boh’s Celtic hosted Kukuri in a fixture originally scheduled for the first week in April, winning 3-1 to finish the season as runners up with 30 points from their 15 fixtures. HNK, who were gifted yet another 3-0 win, finished nine points ahead of Boh’s, having only lost one league game (to Boh’s back in April). Both teams will move up into the Premiership next season with Auckland Wanderers and AUT FC heading in the other direction. The identity of the second League 1 team to be moving up into the Championship will be confirmed this weekend, with the Spermwhales needing three points and to win by two goals against Zamantix Rovers Return to jump above Zamantix Force, who finished their season last weekend with an impressive 1-1 draw against the Champions, Dalian FC.
The Western Wanderers’ chances of promotion were effectively ended by their failure to secure 3 points against Double Rum Greenhithe, a team that was relegated as a result of that 2-2, and their failure to play Nixon during the season (that game was recorded as a 0-0). City Fringe’s 4-3 win over Zamantix Rovers Return appeared, on paper at least, to have been enough to send DRG down into League Two next year, but – as has been the case on far too many occasions this season – their decision to field an unregistered player saw them stripped of the three points earned on the field and punished a further three points for their crime. All of a sudden, DRG’s final game of the season against AUT FC 2 this sunday offered them a lifeline (win or draw, and City Fringe would have to do similar against Nixon Park). In breaking news, however, the wheels would appear to have completely fallen of at City Fringe, forcing them to default their final game of the season against Nixon Park. This not only gifts Nixon a 3-0 win, but also gifts their 2019 league 1 place to DRG, a team who looked destined for the drop as the results came in last Sunday. Will City Fringe look to compete in League 2 next year, or do they have aspirations of denying Old Fellas a three-peat in the Masters Conference? Either way, I’m sure DGR will be relieved that they can now host AUT FC 2 knowing that the pressure is off and the result won’t affect their future (assuming they don’t default or get caught playing an unregistered player).
Having had last weekend off, AUT FC 2 no doubt will be looking to finish their woeful league season with their strongest performance, ahead of their Plate final against Viet Stars the following weekend. The same applies to Western Wanderers who end their epic first ASFA league campaign with a trip to Kamarak, before trying to become the first (possibly only) team from outside one of the top two ASFA divisions to win the Premiership/Championship Plate on finals day.
Tune in next week to see who wins the race for that second promotion spot… Will the Rovers Return be able to help the Force hold on, or will the Whales be playing against UoA FC next year in the Championship?