By Luke Austin
Wellington Olympic and Christchurch United go head-to-head on Saturday in a game that could decide which of the clubs go through to the Grand Final of the Men’s National League.
After six rounds of the Men’s National League, a clear top three has emerged.
While it seems certain Auckland City will qualify for the grand final again, Olympic and Christchurch United are left to fight it out for the other spot.
Main photo: Wellington Olympic, who are in second place, host third-placed Christchurch United in a game that could define both clubs’ seasons. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
They meet this Saturday at Martin Luckie Park.
Both sides have had fantastic seasons, with Olympic taking home the Central League. and Christchurch United winning the Southern League and Chatham Cup.
They have also enjoyed great starts to the National League.
Olympic are unbeaten, albeit with two draws along the way, and Christchurch have lost only once.
Olympic’s +12 goal difference speaks volumes to the threat they pose to opposition teams.
Golden Boot leader Gianni Bouzoukis has six goals from six games, and Gavin Hoy has scored in each of the past three games.
Wingers Joel Stevens and Jack-Henry Sinclair have also contributed strongly to the league-high 22 goals Olympic have scored so far in the National League.
Striker Hamish Watson will miss Saturday’s match as he serves a one-match ban for a red card in Round 6.
The Greeks’ attack will face their biggest test so far against Christchurch United who have the best defensive record in the league, with only five goals conceded.
Christchurch also boast a front line that has seriously impressed this season.
The attacking quartet of Eddie Wilkinson, Dan MacLennan, Eoghan Stokes and Sam Philip are all able to cause any team problems and will be worth keeping an eye on this Saturday.
With the home advantage, Olympic will be slight favourites and I’m picking them to come away with a narrow win which would see them put one foot in the Grand Final at the end of the month.
Game to be played on Saturday November 4, 2023
Wellington Olympic v Christchurch United
Martin Luckie Park, Berhampore, 2pm
Luke Austin is a Wellington-based football fan and volunteer, who plays for Island Bay, and follows the Central League and National League.