By Jonno Ross
Mid-table sides Mount Albert Ponsonby and Northern Rovers play what could be a season-defining match in this weekend’s round of Lotto NRFL first division games.
A win will keep either side at least hopeful of catching the competition leaders; a loss might dash any realistic hopes of success this year.
Meanwhile, table-topping West Coast Rangers will not play this weekend as their game against Onehunga Mangere United has been postponed.
East Coast Bays’ game against Fencibles United has also been postponed.
Here’s our preview of the round, with our recommendations for the neutral spectator:
Mount Albert Ponsonby (10th) v Northern Rovers (8th)
Anderson Park, Auckland
Having not won a game since the opening day of the season, Mount Albert Ponsonby’s hopes of promotion are already in doubt.
They sit in 10th spot with only five points to their name. Not being able to close out games and conceding late goals have really hurt this side this season.
They will see this weekend’s game against Northern Rovers as a golden chance to kick their season back into gear and to start climbing the table again.
To reach their goal of promotion but they must start looking at the majority of the remaining games as ‘must win’ games.
Northern Rovers have not played since Easter due to COVID forcing the rescheduling of last weekend’s game against Waitemata,
Northern Rovers will be raring to go. After losing three on the trot, they got themselves back to winning ways on their last outing against an Ellerslie team flying high in the league.
Rovers will look at this game as a good opportunity to climb the league table and to pull away from the relegation zone.
Both teams will be desperate to win. Three points for either side could be the catalyst to kick on and achieve their goals for the season.
West Coast Rangers (1st) v Onehunga Mangere United (3rd)
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland
East Coast Bays (7th) v Fencibles United (6th)
Bay City Park, Auckland, 3pm
Other fixtures (with current league placings):
Ellerslie (4th) v Tauranga City (2nd)
Michaels Ave Reserve, Auckland, 3pm
Waitemata (9th) v Albany United (12th)
McLeod Park, Auckland, 3pm
Manurewa (5th) v Metro (11th)
Jellicoe Park, Auckland, 3pm
How they stand
Last weekend’s games
Friends of Football writer Jonno Ross is a former New Zealand U-20 goalkeeper who is the team manager for Mount Albert Ponsonby. He supports the All Whites, the Football Ferns, the Wellington Phoenix and Arsenal.
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