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Central Auckland Soccer
Herewith my weekly "Central Auckland Soccer" column, which I've sent through to the
Central Leader religiously each week during the winter season since 1992.

Local Sides Take Massive Strides Towards Titles
by Jeremy Ruane
Onehunga Sports and Three Kings United took massive strides towards winning their respective Lotto Northern League titles on the weekend, with "The Green Machine" now just five points away from clinching their maiden top flight title.

Sports trounced Manurewa 5-0 at Waikaraka Park to maintain their advantage at the top of the Northern Premier League, Jordan Vale leading the charge with a brace of goals as relegation was confirmed for the beaten side.

Across town in a game transferred from Keith Hay Park to Shepherds Park, Three Kings did Onehunga a massive favour by downing second-placed Birkenhead United 2-0, thanks to strikes from Mitchell Nash and Cameron Howieson.

That win did Three Kings a massive favour as well, as it lifted them out of the relegation zone and left their fate well and truly in their own hands, given their last four matches are against their fellow contenders in the race to stay in the Premier League.

Central United aided Three Kings' cause by thrashing Hamilton Wanderers 5-0 at Kiwitea Street, where Armin Pasagic's two goals fired him to the outright lead in the race for the Golden Boot - he has struck fifteen times so far this season.

Bay Olympic were the only local side to lose in the Premier League this week, Jared Colligan's late penalty not enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat at ten-man Glenfield Rovers.

In Lotto Northern Premier Women's League action, reigning champions Three Kings came from behind to down co-leaders Eastern Suburbs 2-1 at Keith Hay Park to edge three points clear, although "The Lilywhites" have a game in hand.

Tayla O'Brien opened the scoring for Suburbs on the quarter hour, but Rebecca Burrows transformed the match with a remarkable solo goal five minutes before half-time.

Lily Dowsett struck what proved to be the winner seven minutes into the second half of a tight
contest which saw United hanging on for victory at the end of a contest which ultimately hinged on which team showed the greater desire for victory.

On Friday evening at Seddon Fields, Western Springs were denied a share of the spoils by a last-minute Laney Strachan goal which clinched a 2-1 win for Glenfield, after Katie Rood's opening goal for the visitors had been matched by Maisy Dewell's strike for "The Hoops".

The same venue should have hosted the local derby between Springs and Mt. Albert-Ponsonby next evening, but Mother Nature influenced proceedings to postpone that First Division clash until Tuesday evening from 7.30pm at Seddon Fields.

Metro, meanwhile, fought back from two goals down to draw level with Hibiscus Coast at Albie Turner Field, only to be beaten by a late sucker-punch as they went after the winning goal themselves - 3-2 to "The Coasters" the final score.

Onehunga-Mangere United also suffered a 3-2 loss at second-placed Waiheke United in their Second Division encounter, a result which means they effectively need to win three of their last four matches to have any hope of retaining their place in the competition for next season.

Only seven of our ten local teams are in action this weekend, with Three Kings' trip to Claudelands Rovers on Sunday a pivotal one in their pursuit of back-to-back Premier Women's League titles.

Western Springs host Northland in the same competition that day, while twenty-four hours earlier, Onehunga Sports can edge ever closer to crowning their Diamond Jubilee season with some silverware when they visit Hamilton Wanderers.

Central travel to Manurewa while Bay Olympic welcome East Coast Bays to Olympic Park in other Premier League action, while in the First Division, Mt. Albert-Ponsonby entertain North Shore United at Anderson Park prior to the Saturday evening clash between Western Springs and Franklin United at Seddon Fields.

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