By Jonno Ross
With four clubs playing Chatham Cup ties, and six more without fixtures, it’s fairly easy to recommend the Northern League game to watch this weekend.
There is only one fixture for the neutral spectator wanting to see Northern League action.
Though it involves two mid-table sides, both are capable of producing exciting football and this result could have a bearing on how the final table looks.
Western Springs (8th) v Manukau United (6th)
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
Having not played last weekend, Western Springs get the chance to put one over on the teams below and above them (Eastern Suburbs and Bay Olympic, respectively) as both failed to win on Springs’ weekend off.
This leaves the door open for Western Springs to move up two positions in the league and into 6th place, providing they can get the three points on Saturday.
Springs have played Manukau United twice already this season, once in the league’s reverse fixture, where they won 1-0, and once in the Chatham Cup, where United got their revenge, winning by the same score.
For only the second time this season, Western Springs have gone two games undefeated, beating North Shore United 6-1, and then drawing 1-1 with Birkenhead United.
This is the perfect opportunity for Springs to make it three games unbeaten, and they should be confident, having got the result against the visitors back in round six.
Also, without a game last weekend, Manukau United are coming off the back of two losses.
They lost 4-0 to Melville United, and then went down 3-1 to Auckland City three days later.
After conceding 7 goals in those two games, they will surely look to tighten up at the back, and certainly need to do so if they are to have any chance of winning this week.
Manukau have the worst goal difference (-10) of the top nine teams in the league.
A win for Manukau would see them go four points clear of Bay Olympic who sit one point below, and within four points of Hamilton Wanderers, who are in 5th.
Auckland City might have run away with the title but there’s still plenty to play for in the scramble for the best possible end-of-season rankings.
Main photo: Manukau United … can skip clear of Bay Olympic with a win. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
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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