Before the weekly round up the results from the Queen’s Birthday Weekend, I want to address some of the comments being made on Facebook and Messenger about the lack of AFF referees this season. I know it’s upsetting to everyone involved, although we rarely hear anything from the winning players and managers (funny that?). The ASFA Exec are doing all they can to try and rectify the situation as quickly as possible, but the AFF appear to have lost a load of referees (possibly a consequence of all the grief and abuse, or maybe they’ve gone looking for somewhere they can afford to buy a house?). There are also more Metro Games being played on a sunday afternoon than ever before, as more and more teenagers are choosing to stick with the global game rather than those other versions of football that use the funny shaped ball, let you use your hands and let you run through, rather than around, your oponents. Personally, I suspect that some referees would rather take charge of a bunch of teenagers who are trying to impress their dads than a bunch of dads who start acting like their kids the minute they cross that white line and hear the whistle go. You all know of whom I speak!
If you want to help the ASFA get more referees then some of our multi-cultural community need to start appreciating the ones that we still have and, more importantly, to start respecting their authority and the decisions that they make during the game (even those that are blatantly wrong and have just cost you the game). As for all the home team heroes who have kindly agreed to referee the games at the last minute, especially those who would much rather be playing, please do the decent thing and offer to shake their hand at the start and the end of the game, regardless of the final score or if you think they are to blame for your teams inability to claim the three points. Even better, offer to buy them a drink (after the game!). Please remember that those who volunteer to take charge of the game are doing it so that you don’t have to, and so that you can spend your sunday afternoon doing what you have paid to do (and hopefully what you love doing). Just take a moment and think of all the reasons that stopped you from putting your hand up and offering to do it. Think of all the bad decisions that you’ve made on the football field, and remember that no referee equals no game (they are the most important people on the field of play and they’re probably going to get it wrong as many times as you lose possession or fail to put the ball in the net when it seems easier to score than not). Let’s be grown up about this and build a reputation as being the sunday league competition that the Referees actually want to be involved in. Some of our teams could start by ensuring that they’ve got the field ready fifteen minutes before kick off (nets and corner flags etc…), that they’ve filled in their team cards correctly and that their players are all wearing the right kit (I have seen keepers wearing hoodies this season and players wearing necklaces that should have been removed before kick off). Don’t take your frustrations out on the poor bloke trying to be everywhere, see everything and please everybody, and don’t walk off the field at the end of the ninety minutes feeling cheated because the home team referee has ruined your weekend (because without the ref, the game wouldn’t have even started and you wouldn’t have got to make that awesome tackle, or played that amazing pass, or nearly scored that screamer!).
Anyway, that’s the lecture over for another season… It’s been brewing for a couple of weeks now as I watch the messages come in every Sunday night. I for one feel much better for getting it off my chest, even if it’s highly unlikely to make a jot of difference or ever be read by those who, despite all the warnings, continue to use sunday football as an opportunity to do and say things they wouldn’t dare do or say at home. If I have inspired any of you to consider becoming a referee, then please contact the Division Rep for more information (please!). If not, then please remember that they are in charge and that their decision is final.
Enough said, it’s time to look at those results (about bloody time, i hear you cry!). 🙂
I’ll start with two Premiership teams that probably don’t know what all the fuss is about, having both managed to win the Championship and League 1 titles on their way into the league that thankfully still gets referees (for now at least). Kiwi True Blues hosted Auckland Wanderers but had to settle for a point with neither team managing to add to their season’s goals scored or goals conceded tally. 0-0’s are pretty rare occurances now (in any division), so I hope that defenders and goalkeepers were allowed to enjoy the moment at the end of the game. And they weren’t the only teams to keep clean sheets, with second-placed Internationale, third-placed Zamantix Rovers Deuce and Sixth-placed Bohemian Celtics all getting in on the act. Inter’s 4-0 win over bottom-placed AUT FC 1 keeps them ahead of Zamantix on goal difference and ensures the gap to league leaders KTB was reduced to only 4 points (with two games in hand). Zamantix’s beat Auckland Volcanoes 3-0, whilst Bohemian Celtics leapfrogged Independiente with a 4-0 win that keeps things interesting at both ends of the table. AUT host KTB this weekend, whilst Inter travel away to Boh’s and Zamantix travel in the oposite direction to play Indy. Wanderers host the Volcanoes in the other fixture.
There was only two catch up games in the Championship, with HNK Auckland’s comfortable 7-2 away win over United FC ensuring that they have replaced Bohemian Celtics 2 at the summit of this six team league. Khukuri were gifted their second win of the season following the University of Auckland’s decision to Default (3-0). Let’s hope the Uni boy’s can find enough players to field a team against Boh’s Celtic next week. Elsewhere FC Eagles host HNK and Khukuri host United.
Dalian appear to already have one hand on the League One trophy, following a 5-3 victory over second placed Nixon Park that makes it nine wins from nine and opens up an eight point gap at the top. Third-placed Zamantix Force are a further 11 points behind the runaway leaders despite their impressive 5-2 win over Zamantix Rovers Return. Things are much tighter at the other end of the table, with Western Wanderers securing their second successive 5-1 win to move out of the relegations zone for the first time this season. Their opponents, AUT FC 2, slip to the bottom of the ten team ladder, two points adrift of ninth-placed Double Rum Greenhithe, who shared the points with sixth-placed Kamarak (1-1). City Fringe enjoyed a much welcomed 3-0 win over the Spermwhales, ensuring that they now sit level on points with Kamarak, and one point ahead of Western Wanderers (their next opponents). The Whales are scheduled to host Dalian next, whilst Nixon face off against ZRR a couple of hours before Zamantix Force host AUT on the same field (I hope my friend Lazlo will be their to catch all the action for me). Kamarak and DRG get to play a rematch in the other game.
The Waitakere Rangers maintained their five point gap at the top of League 2, following a 2-0 win over bottom-placed Auckland Unicorns, who find themselves on minus 3 points but have one or two games in hand over those above them. Second-placed Saigon’s 8-2 away win over Albany Green Machine has to be one of the results of the round, whilst Aotea Sport Eastern narrowly overcame All Red 3-2 in the other fixture. Viet stars had the bye. Next week sees them travel to play the Unicorns and the Rangers host ASE. AGM travel to All Red in the other game, whilst Saigon get the week off.
Waiheke Old Fullas sit at the top of the Master Conference for at least another week having edged Serious FC 3-2 at home, whilst Zamantix Old Boys are only two points behind in second place following a 3-0 win of Korean Tigers. The Viet NZ versus Old Fellas came failed to make it to the end for reasons still unknown, whilst the U-Striker versus Greenhithe City game finished 1-1. Top plays bottom next week with the Old Fullas hosting U-Striker. Elsewhere Serious Host Viet NZ, the Old Fellas host the Tigers and Greenhithe host the Old Boys.
Thanks for sticking with me, and sorry for failing to find the time to post this sooner. I promise to update the league tables tomorrow. I’m only a volunteer who, like the rest of us, has a family and a full time job to juggle. Over the next couple of weeks i’ve also got to find time to watch England throw it away (but i know they can play) and support Morroco (managed by a french man who failed to last a season as the manager of Cambridge United the year we were relegated into the Conference). That’s right, the FIFA World Cup kicks off in the early hours of friday morning and I hope that all of the ASFA teams are taking this opportunity to run a friendly sweepstake to raise money for all the financial penalties that typically get dished out over the second half of the season.