ROUND 5: What to look for as Women’s National League passes halfway mark

Ellerslie and Auckland United start Round 5 of the Women’s National League with a Thursday night clash under the floodlights at Michaels Ave.

It’s the first of five derby games scheduled for an extended Labour Weekend, with matches played on four different matchdays.

The fixtures will take the nine-round competition past its halfway stage.

Thursday’s match looks likely to be a one-sided affair, with the Ponies bottom of the competition and without a win in their four games.

Auckland United are pushing for a Grand Final spot and have the chance to go top of the table, at least overnight, with a win at Michaels Ave.

When the two teams met in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League, United won both games, by 2-0 and 3-0 scorelines.

Main photo: Ellerslie … in search of their first win in the national competition. Photo: Andrew Skinner / Phototek.

Ellerslie will see this game as a chance to salvage some pride from their first foray into the National League, and they certainly won’t roll over.

Friday night sees a crucial game that will have a significant bearing on who makes the Grand Final.

Eastern Suburbs’ Nicole Cooper … leads the goalscoring this season for the Lilywhites. Photo: Jackie Tran Van / Phototek.

Western Springs and Eastern Suburbs — last year’s Grand Finalists — meet at Seddon Fields for an evening fixture.

A win to Suburbs would put an eight-point break on their table position, relative to Springs, and it would certainly dampen any hopes of the green and white hoops reaching this year’s Grand Final.

Must-win games are always entertaining, and this rates as the game of the weeend.

On Saturday, the Phoenix Reserves meet CF Wellington United with the latter badly needing the three points to stay in contention with the leading group.

The result may well be influenced by which players are available for the Phoenix Reserves.

When they have fielded first team players, the Nix have played well.

CF Waterside Karori meet Central Football in Palmerston North, a chance for Central to pinch a first win in the competition.

Dunedin hosts the South Island ‘derby’ on Sunday, an important game for Southern United who are making a strong claim for a run at the Grand Final.

Canterbury United Pride have started the season slowly and won their first game last weekend, beating Ellerslie 3-0.

Enjoy your footballing weekend!

Here’s Round 5:

Game to be played on Thursday October 19, 2023

Ellerslie v Auckland United
Michaels Ave, Ellerslie, 7pm

Game to be played on Friday October 20, 2023

Western Springs v Eastern Suburbs
Seddon Fields, Westmere, 7.30pm

Games to be played on Saturday October 21, 2023

Wellington Phoenix Reserves v CF Wellington United
Fraser Park, Lower Hutt, 1pm

Central Football v CF Waterside Karori
Massey University, Palmerston North, 2pm

Game to be played on Sunday October 22, 2023

Southern United v Canterbury United Pride
Logan Park, Dunedin, 12.15pm

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