Metro battle to break curse
It’s the battle to be crowned the football Kings of Mt Albert.
Metro FC have those bragging rights heading into the round 12 clash at Phyllis Reserve on June 12 – and Mt Albert-Ponsonby want them back.
The two sides last met in the opening match of the NRFL men’s first division back in March, with Metro leaving Anderson Park as 2-1 victors.
Metro director of football Ants Owens says that win ended a long run of losses against MAP.
‘‘We have a strange record of winning all our away games this season,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s a friendly rivalry [against MAP] ... there’s a lot of banter involved with it.
‘‘The New North Rd derby. Winning that game will be the push-start we need for a successful second-half of the year.’’
Metro are in sixth place and would need to win the majority of their remaining matches to be in contention for promotion back into the premier league.
Once the cream of the Auckland football crop in the 1990s, Metro have seen a slump in the last 20 years.
Titles during that period included the national Superclub championship; NRFL first division and premier division crowns; and a semifinal appearance in the Chatham Cup.
The side dropped to the first division after their unsuccessful 2011 campaign .
‘‘It was more about success rather than about development,’’ Owens says of the golden years. ‘‘ The aim is to get promoted with your own players. We want to be the shop window for the younger players as a pathway.’’
The loss to Forrest HillMilford on June 5 was a setback but Owens is convinced that, with a fully fit team, things are starting to click.
Under lights at Phyllis Street Reserve it was the visitors who pulled away in the last 20 minutes. Metro centre-back Craig Squires received his second yellow card in the 68th minute with the scores locked at 0-0. Forrest Hill-Milford striker Shaydon Young took advantage of the numbers and scored two goals for the win.
‘‘We were really disappointed at losing that,’’ Owens says. ‘‘It was the first game we played with a full squad this season.’’
Forrest Hill-Milford’s Jack Caunter tries to catch Metro FC’s Botan Ibrahim.
Metro’s Rizal Ganief changes direction.