Takapuna well poised to cause Northern League upset this weekend

posted in: News

By Jonno Ross

While Auckland City look to be in a class of their own, their Northern League challengers can ill afford to drop points.

But I’m tipping an upset this weekend that could change the order of those trying to keep in sight of the title-chasing Navy Blues.

Takapuna have emerged as the competition’s bogey team and they could upset second-placed Birkenhead United in a North Shore derby.

Here’s our preview of the round, with our recommendations for the neutral spectator:

North Shore United (11th) v Waiheke United (12th)
Allen Hill Stadium, Auckland
3pm kick-off

After losing four games on the bounce, and conceding an average of almost four goals per game, North Shore United will look at this game as a big opportunity to put things right and move out of the relegation zone.

A win against Waiheke United would take them to six points, and supporters will hope Western Springs will do them a favour by beating Eastern Suburbs.

North Shore know that they have it in their locker to pull off a win, after beating a good Manukau team 2-0 in round three.

They will need another performance like that this weekend to move out of the relegation zone.

Waiheke United will be buoyed from last weekend’s result when they drew 1-1 against third-placed Auckland United.

A win for Waiheke would see them switch places with North Shore United and they will no doubt see this as a chance to get off the mark with their first win since being promoted to this competition.

Like North Shore, Waiheke have defensive woes, conceding an average of three goals a game.

With North Shore United having scored only six goals so far this season, and Waiheke restricted to four, if either side scores it could tilt the balance.

The outcome of this game is very much in the air as — either could win — but I am tipping Waiheke United to take all three points after their encouraging result against Auckland United last week.

Birkenhead United (2nd) v Takapuna (9th)
Shepherds Park, Auckland
3pm kick-off

After a disappointing result against Auckland City last weekend, when they lost 3-0, Birkenhead United will look to quickly recover and keep in touch with the league leaders.

They need also to stretch the gap back to third-placed Auckland United who are only a point behind.

Despite being four points off the top, their title hopes rely on them to keep winning and to hope Auckland City will slip up somewhere on the way.

Newcomers to the league Takapuna should be reasonably satisfied with how their campaign is going so far.

Having picked up four points in their last two games, it seems they are building a solid foundation to move up the table.

The original plan might have been to survive in the league but they have proven to themselves they are good enough to pick up points here and there, especially when playing sides favoured to beat them.

The goal now will be to finish as high as possible in the league.

Takapuna have a reputation for team togetherness and I think they are becoming the Northern League’s bogey team, capable of beating anyone on their day.

I’m going to call it — an upset is on the cards this weekend. Watch this space.

Other fixtures (with current league placings):

Manukau United (7th) v Auckland City (1st)
Walter Massey Park 1, Mangere East, 3pm

Western Springs (8th) v Eastern Suburbs (10th)
Seddon Fields, Auckland, 3pm

Melville United (5th) v Auckland United (3rd)
Gower Park, Hamilton, 3pm

Bay Olympic (6th) v Hamilton Wanderers (4th)
Olympic Park, Auckland, 3pm

How they stand

Last weekend’s games

Click here to read our round-up of results from last weekend >>>>

Jonno Ross

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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