Crunch time for Cen­tral United in fi­nal round

Central Leader - - Sport - By Jeremy Ruane

Cen­tral United’s hopes of re­tain­ing their North­ern Premier Foot­ball League ti­tle hangs in the bal­ance.

The reign­ing champs have to face top-of-thetable East­ern Sub­urbs this week in the com­pe­ti­tion’s fi­nal round af­ter suf­fer­ing a shock 3-1 loss to Hamil­ton Wan­der­ers at Por­ritt Sta­dium on Satur­day

War­wick Gib­son, Sam Maposa and Michael Mayne scored for Hamil­ton, while Mi­los Nikolic pro­vided the vis­i­tor’s only goal.

While Cen­tral have three games to catch-up on thanks to their Chatham Cup com­mit­ments and an aban­doned match, they must win all three, plus the game against Sub­urbs this week­end, to re­tain the ti­tle.

Michael Smith and An­drew Web­ber struck ei­ther side of half-time as East­ern Sub­urbs downed Three Kings United 2-1, con­demn­ing the bot­tom­placed team to rel­e­ga­tion.

And Mt Al­bert-Pon­sonby are poised to join them in drop­ping straight back to divi­sion one af­ter squan­der­ing a two-goal lead against Metro, even­tu­ally draw­ing 2-2.

Else­where,

Lynn-Avon United crept back into third place with a last­gasp 5-4 victory over Pa­p­a­toe­toe at Ken Maun­der Park.

It was tied up at 4-4 un­til the fi­nal minute, when Peter Nor­ris notched his sec­ond goal of the game to seal the victory.

An Alan Thorpe goal two min­utes be­fore half­time al­lowed One­hunga Sports to eclipse Bay Olympic 1-0, which moves them to within a point of fourth-placed Bay.

In first divi­sion action Cam­bridge se­cured a 3-2 victory over One­hun­gaMan­gere United.

One­hunga Sports kick off this week’s round against Metro on Fri­day night at Phyl­lis St from 7.30pm.

On Satur­day, Cen­tral bat­tle it out with East­ern Sub­urbs at Madills Farm, af­ter play­ing a catchup match against Three Kings last night.

Three Kings en­ter­tain Tau­ranga at Keith Hay Park, Bay Olympic host Lynn Avon at Olympic Park and Mt Al­bert-Pon­sonby face Melville United.

In first divi­sion One­hunga-Man­gere take on Fen­ci­bles United at Man­gere Do­main, while West­ern Springs host Eller­slie at Sed­don Fields.

All of Satur­day’s matches start at 2.45pm.

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