Preview: Early match-up for promoted sides in Lotto NRFL division one

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By Jonno Ross

We’re picking a high-scoring game at Michaels Ave — and looking forward to the early season clash between the two clubs promoted to this season’s Lotto NRFL first division.

Here’s how round 2 looks for the competition on Saturday April 2, 2022.

Saturday

Ellerslie (4th) v Waitemata (2nd)
Michaels Ave Reserve, Auckland
3pm kick-off

Both these teams came through round 1 with merit.

Last year’s bottom-dwellers Ellerslie pulled off the upset of the round,  beating one of the league’s title favourites, Manurewa, with a 2-1 victory away.

Tipped by some to struggle this season, the Ponies stamped their feet last week and sent a message to the rest of the division they plan to stay and be competitive.

Waitemata won a rollercoaster of a game 4-3 last week against East Coast Bays.

They nearly threw away a 3-0 lead against a Bays side reduced to 10 men. They will surely want to stiffen up their defence on that showing … but they know how to find the route to goal.

We’re not sure who’ll win but we’re tipping plenty of goals — well worth the trip to Michaels Ave to see if we’re right!

 

Fencibles United (6th) v Onehunga Mangere United (10th)
Riverhills Park, Auckland
3pm kick-off

A quirk of the table sees newly-promoted Fencibles sitting four places above Onehunga Mangere United, despite not having played a game yet.

Their game against West Coast Rangers was a late postponement last week, due to COVID cases, so Fencibles will be itching to start their season in division 1 against the team that pipped them for the division 2 title last year.

Onehunga might fancy they have the upper hand in this one, having beaten Fencibles 2-1 in their opening game of last season (with an 80th-minute winner) and drawing the reverse fixture 1-1.

Can Onehunga bounce back from conceding in the 93rd minute to lose at Tauranga City last weekend?

Or will history repeat itself? Or can Fencibles rise to the challenge and get their campaign off to a positive start?

Plenty of questions; the answers will come by 4.45pm at Riverhills Park.

Other fixtures (with current league placings):

Tauranga City (4th) v Northern Rovers (3rd)
Links Ave Reserve, Tauranga, 3pm

West Coast Rangers (7th) v Metro (12th)
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland, 3pm

East Coast Bays (9th) v Mount Albert Ponsonby (1st)
Bay City Park, Auckland, 3pm

Manurewa (10th) v Albany United (8th)
Jellicoe Park 1, Manurewa, 3pm

Last weekend

Click here to read our round-up of games from Saturday March 26 >>>>

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