By Jonno Ross
The three-club race for supremacy in northern women’s football reaches a crucial stage this weekend with any of the title contenders capable of leading the table by Sunday night.
Meanwhile, there are a number of tasty fixtures coming up in the men’s competitions.
For the neutrals
If you’re looking for the games we’re picking to be the most entertaining, we suggest the following for football fans in the North:
This weekend’s football starts in Auckland with the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League as second-placed Western Springs play host to third-placed Northern Rovers at 7.30 pm at Seddon Fields. A win for Western Springs will see them go top of the league by two points ahead of Eastern Suburbs. A win for Northern Rovers would see them go top of the league on goal difference.
How the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League looks going into the weekend
Saturday brings a festival of football with not only league games but the quarter-final round of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup.
Auckland City will hope their travels to Wellington will be rewarded as they come up against 2009 semi-finalists Miramar Rangers. There should be goals in this one, as both teams have phenomenal goal differences in their respective leagues. Kick-off is at 2pm at David Farrington Park.
There are only three games being played in the Northern League this weekend with Chatham Cup fixtures taking priority.
West Coast Rangers are at home to second-placed Auckland United who will be looking to close the gap on Auckland City.
Northern Rovers will hope to get off the bottom of the table with a win against Manukau United at home.
Pick of the weekend sees fourth-placed Birkenhead United at home to third-placed Eastern Suburbs at Shepherd’s Park in Auckland. Birkenhead will look to separate themselves from fifth-placed Western Springs who are only behind on goal difference. Kick-off at 3pm.
In the Lotto NRFL Men’s Division 1, Waiheke United (2nd) will want to bounce back from their heavy 4-0 defeat last week and get back on track to take top spot when they host Metro on Waiheke. Metro has had a knack this season of causing upsets, having beaten Waiheke in the previous fixture 2-0. Metro need to win to help catch their neighbours Mount Albert Ponsonby who are just three points in front on the ladder.
Match of the Day in the NRFL Men’s Division 2 has to be fourth-placed Cambridge facing second-placed Fencibles United. Only two points separate the teams and in-form Cambridge are chasing their sixth win in a row and a shot at promotion.Kick-off is 3pm at John Kerkhof Park in Cambridge.
The Lotto NRFL Women’s Premiership kicks off the day with Hamilton Wanderers hosting league leaders Eastern Suburbs at 1pm at Porritt Stadium. Eastern Suburbs need the win to hold top spot in the league.
Finally, to wrap your weekend of football off, we head to the North Shore where Albany United will be looking to hold onto the first division lead with a win over Tauranga City – it starts at 3pm at Rosedale Park. Can Tauranga City cause an upset and come away with the double over the leaders?
Main photo: Franklin United’s Lance Kraakman wheels away to celebrate a goal in the Lotto NRFL Division Two. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.