‘Six-pointer’ in Napier could be game of season so far in Central League

posted in: Central League, News

By Luke Austin

After a week off due to Chatham Cup fixtures, the Central League returns on Saturday as Western Suburbs take on Stop Out at Hutt Park.

Stop Out will be relieved to be playing at home following two consecutive away defeats to Napier City Rovers, including an 8-1 thrashing in the Cup.

They will need to be back to their best to have any chance of securing a result against high-flying Wests.

North Wellington host Miramar at Alex Moore Park where both sides need to recover from defeats in Round 10.

It was a tough day at the office for Miramar last time out as they were embarrassed at home, losing 7-0 to Olympic in a result which highlights how far they have fallen since last season.

Miramar lost again this Wednesday, away to the Phoenix Reserves, in what was a Round 9 catch-up game but will be confident they can turn things around against North Wellington who have only one win so far this season.

Saturday also sees an O’Brien Shied defence as bottom-of-the-table Whanganui travel to Fraser Park hoping for a huge upset against the Phoenix Reserves.

The home side now find themselves in second place following their midweek win over Miramar, only three points behind leaders Olympic.

The final Saturday game takes place at Wakefield Park where Olympic host Karori.

The Wharfies lost the O’Brien Shield to the Phoenix Reserves in Round 10, going down 3-1 at home, but responded with an impressive 1-0 victory over Wests in the Chatham Cup.

This result will give them hope coming into this tough fixture against the league leaders.

Round 11 concludes on Sunday at Bluewater Stadium with a huge clash between Napier City Rovers and Petone.

Game of the week

With fourth place (and a potential National League qualification spot) on the line, Sunday’s game between Napier and Petone could be described as a six-pointer.

Both sides sit on 16 points, with Napier currently in fourth place due to their superior goal difference, but Petone do have a game in hand.

A win for either side on Sunday would represent a huge step towards National League qualification.

Both teams are playing well and have strikers who have been bagging goals for fun.

The stage is set for arguably the game of the season so far.

Player to watch

Phoenix Reserves striker Josh Tollervey (19) was not one of the side’s representatives at the recent FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup but he has been in impressive form recently.

Despite a four-week suspension, he has eight goals this season, including three in his last two outings.

The youngster has reached the Phoenix via Waikato clubs Cambridge and Melville United, and a spell at Havelock North Wanderers last year.

Tollervey will be confident of finding the net for the third game running, at home to bottom side Whanganui this Saturday.

Bold prediction

When Wests and Stop Out met early this season, they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw.

I’m predicting another draw and hopefully, plenty of goals as both sides aim to move on from disappointing Chatham Cup upsets.


Games to be played on Saturday June 24, 2023

Stop Out v Western Suburbs
Hutt Park, Lower Hutt, 2.30pm

North Wellington v Miramar Rangers
Alex Moore Park, Johnsonville, 3pm

Wellington Phoenix Reserves v Whanganui Athletic
Fraser Park, Taita, 3pm

Wellington Olympic v Waterside Karori
Wakefield Park, Island Bay, 3.45pm

Game to be played on Sunday June 25, 2023

Napier City Rovers v Petone
Bluewater Stadium, Napier, 2pm

Luke Austin

Luke Austin is a Wellington-based football fan and volunteer, who plays for Island Bay, and follows the Central League.

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