By Jonno Ross
With the top four teams level on 10 points, and playing each other this weekend, the Northern League will begin to give us a hint of how the league table might shape up this season.
Game of the week
It’s a tough one to call this week, with the top four teams playing each other — but game of the week this week has to be the Dominion Road Derby between Auckland United and Auckland City at Keith Hay Park on Saturday.
Over the Easter weekend, the two sides managed to pick up four points from the six available, so this week they will both look to seize the victory to gain advantage over the other.
The last time these two sides met was in the National League Championship in October last year, where Auckland United got the bragging rights with a 3-2 win.
Auckland City will look to seek revenge over United — the last time they played each other in the Northern League was the final day of the season last year, and Auckland United spoiled the party with a 2-0 win over their rivals, denying them an ‘Invincibles’ title by handing them their only defeat of the season.
United hold the bragging rights at the moment. Will they be able to keep them and make it three in a row against their neighbours?
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Player to watch
Striker Monty Patterson missed Manurewa’s 5-0 win against Melville United on Easter Monday when he experienced hamstring problems during the pre-match warm-up.
Despite that, Patterson still leads the Northern League goalscoring list with five goals in his three outings.
Rewa have started their season strongly, and with Patterson leading the line, they could go top of the table on Saturday night, especially if Auckland City trip up in their visit to Auckland United.
They face an Eastern Suburbs side that’s conceded only one goal this season but if anyone can prise their defence open, it’s Patterson.
Despite a shaky start to the season, and having the worst goal difference in the league due to the 7-0 trouncing they got against Birkenhead United, I predict Manukau United to get the three points away at Melville United, with a clean sheet to go with it.
I’m picking a 2-0 win to the away side,
One more thing …
West Coast Rangers will be without captain Dev Pokhrel and Matthew Banks, both of whom got red cards at Auckland City’s Kiwitea St on Monday. Assistant coach Brock Radich will also be absent, having also been given two yellow cards at the same game.
Games to be played on Saturday April 15, 2023
West Coast Rangers v Bay Olympic
Fred Taylor Park, Whenuapai, 3pm
Auckland United v Auckland City
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 3pm
Melville United v Manukau United
Gower Park, Hamilton, 3pm
Eastern Suburbs v Manurewa
Madills Farm, St Heliers, 3pm
Takapuna v Hamilton Wanderers
Taharoto Park, Takapuna, 3pm
Western Springs v Birkenhead United
Seddon Fields, Westmere, 3pm
Friends of Football writer Jonno Ross is a media writer for the NZ Football Foundation. A former New Zealand U-20 goalkeeper, he is the team manager for Mount Albert Ponsonby. He supports the All Whites, the Football Ferns, the Wellington Phoenix and Arsenal.