Firstly, a quick reminder that there are no league games scheduled for Easter Sunday, but that we do have a number of teams involved in Chatham Cup action over the easter-ANZAC day break. A great chance for team’s not involved to go and show there support for the ASFA (and to check out the other teams that you’ll be playing later in the season). Check out the cup/plate page of the website for more details.
Week 2 brought the first postponement of the season, and the first official challenge from a team who lost a game in which they suspected that their opponents had fielded at least one ineligible/unregistered player (their suspicions were proven to be correct and they have been awarded all the points). Please let that be warning to all team managers thinking about ignoring/breaking the rules. Even if you win the game fair and square, there is always the chance that your opponents will be upset and try to challenge the result. Those found guilty will not only lose the points, but are likely to also be stripped of a further 3 points as a penalty. Last year that cost a team the League 2 title.
Results wise, there were 33 goals scored across the six Premiership Challenge fixtures, with early leaders Bohemian Celtic’s scoring eight of them against the University of Auckland. Zamantix Rovers handed HNK their first league lose in a long time with a 2-1 home win, whilst FC Eagles shared the points against Internationale with a 2-2 draw. The match of the day, however, has to be the Spermwhales versus Dalian, with finished 4-3 to the away team, giving Dalian their first three points as a newly promoted Premiership team. Eslewhere there was a convincing win for Independiente (5-0 against FC Khukuri), and a 3-0 win for Auckland Volcanoes against Auckland Panthers (despite the Panthers winning the fixture 4-2).
In League 1, there were 19 goals scored in just two games. It looks like it’s going to be another tough season for AUT FC, who suffered their second heavy loss of the year, this time at the hands of their Albany Utd stablemates Albany Green Machine. The score? 13-1. Zamantix Force edged Double Rum Greenhithe 3-2, making it two wins from two games and ensuring they go into the Easter break sitting on top of the table. Zamantix Rovers Return and Waitakere Rangers were involved in the first 0-0 draw of the season, something of a rarity in Sunday League. Lasy year we had less than 10 scoreless draws across the whole season.
In League 2, there were 26 goals scored across the four fixtures, with Viet Stars helping themselves to nine of them in their 9-5 win over an Exit Trials team that featured a player who, like me, ran the waterfront half marathon earlier in the day. CJC Eagles NZ secured their second win of the season with a 4-1 away win against Viti All Stars. Asian Auckland United beat All Red 3-1 to secure their first ASFA points, whilst Ghurka also got their first ASFA win with a 2-1 victory over Sigatoka.
Ranui-Swanson and Hougarden United were involved in an 11 goal thriller that live long in the memory, with visitors Hougarden ending the fixture as 6-5 winners on the day. Flatbush also scored five at home against Serious FC, but restricted their visitors to 3 goals to secure their first 3 points of the season. Defending champions, Old Fellas looked impressive in their 4-1 win over Zamantix Old Boys and move up into second spot behind new boys Food4Less Oratia United, who secured their second win of the year with a 2-1 home victory against Korean Tigers. U-Striker beat Waiheke Old Fullas 3-1 in their first outing of the season, having had the bye last week.
Looking ahead to the 28th of April, the four fixtures that stand out to me as being games worthy of watching are: Boh’s Celtic versus Panthers in the Premiership, Waitakere Rangers versus Western Wanderers in League 1, Exit Trails versus All Red in League 2 and Waiheke versus Greenhithe City in the Masters Conference.