In theory, Sunday represented the half way mark in the 2017 ASFA Season, and a chance for each team to reflect upon having now played every other team in their league. From next week onwards, teams who felt like they “shoulda”, “coulda” or “woulda’ beaten their opponents get the chance to right the wrongs of the previous fixture whilst playing that team once more. In reality, if you take a look at the league tables, you’ll note that we have a couple of Premiership teams that have only four league games and only one that has played seven. Next week’s Queen’s Birthday Weekend (QBW) provide the opportunity for some catch up fixtures, whilst those in the lower divisions get the opportunity to play another knockout match in their cup or plate competition.
Week 6 saw four more fixtures postponed, two of which were in the Premiership, whilst the Premiership match between The Patriot and Zamantix Rovers was defaulted due to a lack of player availability for the bottom-placed defending champions. Sadly, the club from Devonport’s season appears to be going from bad to worse when it comes to player availability each week. One team experiencing an upturn in fortunes from 2016, however, is Auckland Volcanoes. Having narrowly avoided relegation last year, they currently find themselves the 2017 Premierships surprise package and in joint-second place with four wins from their opening six games. Bohemian Celtic were the Volcanoes opponents in week 7, in the only Premiership game to take place. They won 2-1.
In the Championship, the top two teams both recorded 3-2 victories with leaders United FC beating Kingsland Athletic and second placed AUT avenging their defeat in the final of this year’s pre-season tertiary tournament by coming out top in the battle of the country’s two biggest Universities. Elsewhere, the Kiwi True Blues rediscovered their shooting boots with a convincing 7-0 win over Sudamerica. Bottom-placed City Fringe also suffered a defeat by seven goals, but that was in a re-scheduled cup fixture against the holders and 2016 championship winners Auckland Wanderers.
In League 1, HNK Auckland recorded their 7th straight league win to extend their lead at the top of the division, beating Zamantix Rovers Return (ZRR) 2-0 at the Croatian Club. Auckland Wanderers’ second team profited from that result and opened up a five point gap between them (second) and ZRR (third) without having to kick a ball, following the UoA’s reserves inability to field a team in their fixture. Dalian secured a 2-1 victory of Kamarak, whilst bottom placed AUT FC 2 secured their first draw and their first victory of the season in their game against Nixon Park. How? It was a re-scheduled Cup fixture that finished 1-1, before the student’s prevailed 5-4 on penalties.
In League 2, Double Rum Greenhithe’s 13-1 win over bottom place All Red see them reach the half way point on top of the league, albeit only on goal difference. Joint leaders Zamantix Force were also involved in a high scoring game against Massey-Albany FC, coming out victorious 6-4 at full time. The former leaders Viti FC not only suffered their first defeat of the season, but were also kept goalless by U-Striker, who recorded a 1-0 home win that now means the top 4 teams are only separate by 1 point. What’s more Aotea Sport Eastern’s 3-1 win against Auckland Unicorns means that the league’s fifth placed team are only two points off the top spot as we enter the month of June.
The Masters league continues to deliver some of the best games of the season, with the leaders Old Fellas beating second placed Old Fullas 4-2, Serious FC beating the Zamantix Old Boys 2-1 and Greenhithe City thrashing winless Pukekohe 7-1. As with League 2, the top five teams of this competition enter the second half of their season with only 3 points between them, meaning it’s anyone’s guess who will be crowned champions come September.
see you all next week… please download the new ASFA App if you’ve not already done so. Every download helps cover the cost of it’s existence!