I’ll kick things off this week with the weekend’s ASFA relevent Chatham Cup results. On Saturday, on the North Shore, Internationale failed to score a goal for the first time in long, long time, losing 6-0 to a very strong Forest Hill-Millford side. HNK were also unable to beat their opponent’s keeper, losing 2-0 to NRFL 1st Division side Waitemata. The University of Auckland FC matched their hosts Taupo FC for two hours in a game that finished 1-1 after extra time. Sadly, unlike the FA Cup, there are no replay’s and the game went to a penalty shoot, in which Taupo prevailed 4-3. Kiwi True Blues’ Chatham Cup adventure is also over for another year, following their 3-1 home defeat against Tauranga. I hope they’ll all have taken a lot from the experience and that their collective success in the pre-liminary round will have encouraged other ASFA teams to consider entering this famous competition in 2019.
In the Premiership, Auckland Wanderers’ 3-2 win over Independiente sees them move into third place, level of points with leaders Inter and second-placed KTB. Indy find themselves in 6th, on 7 points. Bohemian Celtic’s edged AUT FC 1 on the artificial at Ashley Reserve in the other game, ensuring they are only a couple of points behind Indy, whilst the Student’s are still looking for their first point of the year.
In the Championship, FC Eagles’ 3-1 win has not only seen them close the gap to league leader’s Bohemians Celtic 2 but also open up a 4 point gap between them an their opponents, United FC, who remain in third place. Boh’s Celtic remain on top, and still unbeaten this season, following their 2-2 draw with fifth-place Khukuri.
Dalian FC remain unbeaten at the summit of League 1, following their 6-2 home win against Double Rum Greenhithe. The league leaders have a two point and ten goal advantage over second placed Nixon Park, who are also yet to taste defeat having comfortably beat AUT FC 2 7-1. Zamantix Force lost 3-0 to Spermwhales, but remain in third, six points adrift of Nixon and a point ahead of their opponents, who made it 3 wins from 3 games since their move from the Championship. Zamantix Rovers Return handed the Western Wanderers their third successive League 1 loss with a 4-2 home win and remain in 5th place, level on points with the team above. Kamarak’s 3-0 away win saw them swap 6th and 7th place with their opponents City Fringe.
Viet Stars’ dream start to their first ASFA campain continues with their 2-1 away win against Albany Green Machine ensuring they stay unbeaten and ahead of Waitakere Rangers at the top of League 2 on goal difference with a game in hand. Rangers also prevailed 2-1 away from home against third placed Saigon. Aotea Sport Eastern beat bottom-placed Auckland Unicorns 4-2 in the League’s other game, whilst All Red had the week off.
Only two points seperate the top 4 teams in the over 35s Master Conference, with defending champions Old Fellas now sitting at the top following their 4-1 win over Serious FC. Zamantix Old Boys are only a point behind them in second place, having beaten last week’s leaders Waiheke Old Fullas 4-2 at Bill McKinley Park. Korean Tiger’s 6-3 away win over U-Striker sees them remain in third place on goal difference, whilst their opponents now sit at the bottom of the ladder, following their loss of 3 points for fielding ineligible players in an earlier round. Viet NZ, who have also been deducted a point, still sit 1 point ahead of U-Striker in 7th, having secured a valuable point in their 3-3 draw with Greenhithe City.
As noted several times on Facebook, the longer than normal grace period is now over and hard earned points will be lost if your team fails to follow the procedures explained to everyone at the AGM, and via email, and, again, on our facebook page. Results must be phoned in by the home team before 7pm on a sunday, and a clear photo of your correctly completed and signed team cards must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight the following Tuesday. Please do not send them in to our facebook page. Each team will receive one warning (w) before points are deducted. The warnings and points lost are shown on the league tables, which can be found on Facebook and on our website (on the home page of each of our ASFA divisions).
Whilst the ASFA is no longer represented in the Chatham Cup, next week sees the welcome return of the ASFA’s two knockout cup competitions, which provides Championship teams the chance to upset those in the Premiership and those in the Masters Conference the opportunity to compete against those in Leagues 1 and 2. Like the Chatham Cup, there will be no replays. Teams level after 90 minutes will play an extra 30 minute before going to penalties if the scores remain tied. All Round 1 Cup losers will be automatically entered into the two ASFA Plate competitions. Both the Spermwhales and Western Wanderers will have the opportunity to face Premiership opposition, however, as their demotion to League 1 was confirmed after the first round draw was made.
Although I can’t see the Whales or the Wanderers upsetting Auckland Wanderers or Indy, their fellow newbies FC Eagles will surely be looking to take the scalp of their Premiership opponents, AUT FC 1. Elsewhere in the Prem-Champ Cup, 2017 winners Inter will be looking to bounce back from their Round 1 Chatham Cup loss when they travel to Michaels Ave to play 2016 and 2017 ASFA Plate winners, Auckland Volcanoes, whilst HNK will surely be looking to avenge their earlier league defeat against league leaders Boh’s Celtics 2.
There will be at least one of the Masters Conference teams in the draw for the second round with Zamantix Old Boys playing Korean Tigers for the second time this season (their round 1 fixture ended in a 2-2 draw). Elsewhere, League 2 side All Red face a tricky tie away against Viet NZ, whilst League 1 side AUT FC 2 have to travel over to Waiheke to play the Old Fullas. Nixon Park scored the only bye of the round.