By Jack Sharp
The second round of Men’s National League fixtures will provide more clues as to which teams can pose a threat to early favourites Auckland City.
Most obviously, Cashmere Technical get the chance to stake their claims for a title challenge when they visit City’s Kiwitea Street on Saturday afternoon.
Main photo: Favourites Auckland City … can Technical upset them on Saturday? Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Technical had no problem brushing off Miramar Rangers last weekend and they might catch City before they slip into their rhythm.
Maybe the short break between the winter season and the national league disrupted City but they looked out-of-sorts in their season opener against Wellington Olympic, and only shaded them 2-1.
Was that a one-game blip? Cashmere Technical get the chance to find out.
Sunday’s game of interest is the match between Wellington Phoenix reserves and Auckland United, as it will be played at Sky Stadium as the curtain raiser to the Phoenix A-League fixture against Adelaide United.
Regardless of the result, the venue provides these teams the chance to promote the new-look, club-based national league to a wider audience of football fans.
It would certainly help the profile of the national league if the stadium crowd and the television audience became familiar with two sides that boast many up-and-coming young players.
Games to be played Saturday October 8, 2022
Christchurch United (9th) v Napier City Rovers (5th)
Christchurch Football Centre, Christchurch, 12.30pm
Miramar Rangers (10th) v Birkenhead United (2nd)
David Farrington Park, Wellington, 1pm
Auckland City (3rd) v Cashmere Technical (1st)
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham, Auckland, 3.30pm
Games to be played on Sunday October 9, 2022
Wellington Phoenix (8th) v Auckland United (4th)
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 12pm
Melville United (7th) v Wellington Olympic (6th)
Gower Park, Hamilton, 2pm