Leading group can slip clear with Easter Monday games in Northern League

By Jack Sharp

The Northern League has already split into two packs — four unbeaten sides and a gap to seven teams locked together on three competition points.

Easter Monday’s fixtures could extend the gap between the two groups.

The top four — Auckland City, Eastern Suburbs, Manurewa and Auckland United — all play sides sixth and lower on the table, providing an opportunity for the leaders to slip further ahead.

The competitiveness of the Northern League is demonstrated by the contrast between Eastern Suburbs and Takapuna.

Suburbs have scored only three goals, and are second on the table.

Takapuna have conceded only three goals, and are bottom of the table.

READ MORE: Results and scorers from Good Friday’s Northern League games >>>>

Here’s the fixtures for Easter Monday:

Game of the week

Eastern Suburbs are second on the table with a maximum nine points from their three games — yet they’ve scored only three goals in their season so far.

Three 1-0 wins say plenty about the 2023 Lilywhites. They can grind out wins in close games, and the Suburbs defence has already gone four-and-a-half hours without conceding a goal.

On Monday, they travel to Hamilton Wanderers’ Porritt Stadium where they’ll need to contend with last year’s Golden Boot winner, Derek Tieku, who scored a double in his side’s 4-2 local derby win against Melville United on Good Friday.

On home turf, Wanderers will give Suburbs’ defenders plenty to cope with.

Player to watch

Veteran Joao Moreira (37) made his first appearance of the season for Manukau United on Good Friday, scoring in the 28th minute to help the South Aucklanders to their first win of their Northern League campaign, a 3-1 win at West Coast Rangers.

The former Portugal U-20 and U-21 international played 92 minutes, before being subbed, and his experience with the likes of Auckland City and Miramar Rangers could boost Manukau United’s early season form.

Bold prediction

Bay Olympic and Birkenhead United have stuttered at the start of their new campaigns, and they are already four points adrift of the four National League qualifying spots.

Both need to win; neither can afford to lose.

Under the lights at Olympic Park, the game will be worth the watch (it’s being live-streamed — see below).

Olympic got off to a bad start in Friday’s 2-3 loss to Western Springs, trailing by two goals midway through the first half.

Birkenhead have been fast starters so far, scoring three goals in the opening three minutes of play this season.

As long as Olympic withstand Birkenhead’s early pressure, they’re a fair chance, and I’m tipping a 2-1 win to the home side.


Games to be played on Monday April 10, 2023

Auckland City v West Coast Rangers
Kiwitea St, Sandringham, 3pm

Hamilton Wanderers v Eastern Suburbs
Porrit Stadium, Hamilton, 3pm

Manurewa v Melville United
Manurewa War Memorial Park, Manurewa, 3pm

Western Springs v Takapuna
Seddon Fields, Westmere, 3pm

Manukau United v Auckland United
Mangere Centre Park, Mangere, 3pm

Bay Olympic v Birkenhead United
Olympic Park, New Lynn, 6pm


Jack Sharp

Jack Sharp is a long-time follower of club football in New Zealand and is a volunteer writer for Friends of Football. He’s filling in this week for our usual Northern League writer, Jonno Ross.

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