By Luke Austin
Wellington Olympic continue to dominate at the top of the Central League table while the competition’s bottom three sides are starting to feel the pinch.
Struggling Waterside Karori, North Wellington and Whanganui Athletic all have tough games in Round 6 and could find themselves cut adrift of the main group unless they soon find form.
Round six of Central League action begins with a meeting between the only two teams based outside of Wellington: Whanganui Athletic and Napier City Rovers.
Whanganui remain rooted to the bottom of the table and have now gone five games without a point after falling to a defeat against Stop Out last weekend.
Napier will sense another three points are there for the taking following their 5-0 thrashing of Karori, whose attention turns to hosting high-flying Western Suburbs on Saturday.
Wests came from behind to beat Miramar 3-1 at Endeavour Park last weekend and now find themselves in third place.
Sitting one point ahead in second are the Phoenix Reserves, who host Stop Out.
The Phoenix once again know that a win will be required to keep the pressure on Olympic, who should have no troubles beating North Wellington at Wakefield Park.
Game of the week
Miramar and Petone both started the season in promising fashion but suffered disappointing losses in Round 5, with Miramar losing their place in the top three and Petone slipping to 7th place.
With both clubs looking to bounce back, their meeting at Memorial Park this Saturday promises to be of high-intensity and an entertaining clash.
Player to watch
Former Manchester City academy player Deri Corfe has been leading the line for Napier City Rovers this season and already has four goals to his name.
He will be confident of adding to this tally against a Whanganui side who have the worst defensive record in the competition.
Standing 1.88m tall, Corfe (25) has played in the United States for two Ohio universities and with clubs New York Red Bulls and FC Tuscan, before linking last year with Scottish Championship side Arbroath.
Whanganui’s wait for their first points of the season looks set to continue when they welcome to Wembley Park a Napier side brimming with confidence.
I’m predicting a second big win on the bounce for Napier as they push for a spot in the top four, with striker Deri Corfe on the scoresheet once again.
Games to be played on Saturday April 29, 2023
Waterside Karori v Western Suburbs
Karori Park, Wellington, 2.30pm
Whanganui Athletic v Napier City Rovers
Wembley Park, Whanganui, 2.30pm
Wellington Phoenix Reserves v Stop Out
Fraser Park, Lower Hutt, 3pm
Petone v Miramar Rangers
Petone Memorial Park, Lower Hutt, 3.30pm
Wellington Olympic v North Wellington
Wakefield Park, Island Bay, 3.45pm
Luke Austin is a Wellington-based football fan and volunteer, who plays for Island Bay, and follows the Central League.