Suspension will keep striker out of key Men’s National League match

posted in: Men's National League, News

Wellington Olympic will be without striker Hamish Watson when they play Christchurch United in Saturday’s crucial Men’s National League clash.

Watson (30) has been suspended for the match after he was shown a straight red card for committing two fouls in rapid succession during Olympic’s 2-1 win against Petone in Round 6.

Olympic, who are second on the table, will host third-placed Christchurch United in Round 7 with the winner taking pole position for a Grand Final spot.

While Watson has scored only two of Olympic’s 22 goals in this season’s competition, his ability to lead the line and draw defenders has created chances for teammates, including Gianni Bouzoukis (6), Jack-Henry Sinclair (4) and Gavin Hoy (3).

READ MORE: Wellington Olympic striker Gianni Bouzoukis leads race for men’s Golden Boot >>>>

Hamish Watson (left) is shown the red card during Olympic’s game against Petone.

The top three contenders for the Grand Final all won in Round 6, with Auckland City seeing off Auckland United 3-2 at Kiwitea Street, and Christchurch United coming from behind to beat Napier City Rovers 2-1.

The Auckland City result means the Navy Blues only have to win one of their three remaining fixtures to cement a place in the Grand Final on November 26.

The big movers on the table in Round 6 were Manurewa who won their third game in a row to go fourth.

After Round 4, the South Aucklanders were second-bottom on the ladder.

They beat Cashmere Technical 5-3 in a free-flowing game that reflected the lack of pressure on either side, as neither can reach the final.

Another mid-table game that had nothing riding on the result, other than pride and the chance to help player development, was the 5-3 win to Eastern Suburbs against Wellington Phoenix.

Remarkably, for a team that went unbeaten through the Northern League, Suburbs recorded their first win of the National League competition.

Who plays who

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

Auckland City

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

Wellington Olympic

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

Christchurch United

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

Results — Round 6

Game played on Saturday October 28, 2023

Wellington Olympic 2 (Gianni Bouzoukis 12′, Gavin Hoy 54′)
Petone 1 (Jack O’Connor 85′)

READ: Wellington Olympic’s match programme for Petone game >>>>

Games played on Sunday October 29, 2023

Auckland City 3 (Dylan Manickum 3′, Angus Kilkolly 45+1′, 67′)
Auckland United 2 (Codey Phoenix 57′, Fumiya Ito 90+1′)

Christchurch United 2 (Eddie Wilkinson 49′, Matt Tod-Smith 82′)
Napier City Rovers 1 (Jonathan McNamara 34′)

Wellington Phoenix Reserves 3 (Kaelin Nguyen 2′, Josh Tollervey 49′, Oskar van Hattum 68′ pen)
Eastern Suburbs 5 (Ryan Verney 6′, Kingsley Sinclair 17′, 43′, Luis Toomey 22′, 78′ pen)

Manurewa 5 (Sean Leadley 41′, 42′, Sammy Khan 60′, Boon Ozawa 64′, 69′)
Cashmere Technical 3 (Garbhan Coughlan 11′, 36′, Tom Schwartz 82′)

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