Regional champions drawing clear for three-way fight for grand final spots

posted in: Men's National League, News

By Jack Sharp

The Men’s National League appears to have turned into a three-way race between the champions of the Northern, Central and Southern Leagues.

Auckland City’s 2-0 win against Eastern Suburbs on Sunday has given them a four-point lead over their nearest rivals but they still have to face Wellington Olympic and Christchurch United in their remaining games.

Main photo: Auckland City players congratulate substitute Regont Murati after his opening goal against Eastern Suburbs.

Chances are the Grand Final will end up with two of these three playing for the national title.

Auckland United and Cashmere Technical are mathematically capable of making the cut … but the odds are heavily against them.

Christchurch United put the memories of their surprise Round 4 loss to Manurewa behind them, beating Petone 3-0 at the weekend.

Wellington Olympic won the ‘six-pointer’ at Auckland United 3-1, and are looking the most dangerous attacking side in the league with 20 goals scored, an average of four points per game.

Who plays who

With four rounds left, here’s who the grand final contenders have yet to play (leading contenders in bold):

Auckland City

Auckland United (h)
Petone (a)
Wellington Olympic (h) 
Christchurch United (h)

Wellington Olympic

Petone (h)
Christchurch United (h)
Auckland City (a)
Phoenix Reserves (h)

Christchurch United

Napier City Rovers (h)
Wellington Olympic (a)
Cashmere Technical (h)
Auckland City (a)

Results — Round 5

Games played on Saturday October 21, 2023

Cashmere Technical 2 (Zander Edwards 17′, Tom Schwartz 24′)
Wellington Phoenix Reserves 1 (Matthew Sheridan 81′)

Christchurch United 3 (Matt Tod-Smith 37′, Dan MacLennan 41′, Jago Godden 83′)
Petone 0

Auckland United 1 (Hideto Takahashi 23′)
Wellington Olympic 3 (Gavin Hoy 12′, Joel Stevens 34′, Gianni Bouzoukis 81′)

Games played on Sunday October 22, 2023

Napier City Rovers 0
Manurewa 1 (Noco Bobadilla 70′)

Eastern Suburbs 1 (Luis Toomey 90+6′)
Auckland City 2 (Regont Murati 67′, Angus Kilkolly 82′)

Jack Sharp

Jack Sharp is a long-time follower of club football in New Zealand and is a volunteer writer for Friends of Football.

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