Mo­ti­vated Cen­tral get brace of ti­tles

Central Leader - - News - By Jeremy Ruane and Scott Mor­gan

It’s back-to-back ti­tles for Cen­tral United in the North­ern Premier Foot­ball League.

A goal in each half from Mi­los Nikolic se­cured the 2-0 win over Bay Olympic and the cham­pi­onship for Cen­tral at Olympic Park on Satur­day with a game to spare.

Cen­tral coach Peter Martin says he is very pleased with the ef­forts of his young side.

“The club is struc­tured and or­gan­ised to at­tract the best young play­ers and puts them in an en­vi­ron­ment we’re they’re ex­pected to win.

“It makes them very easy to coach when they’re highly mo­ti­vated.”

Martin says a 3-1 loss to sec­ond-placed East­ern Sub­urbs ear­lier in the sea­son was one of the keys to get­ting his side fo­cused in the last few weeks.

It’s the third time in five sea­sons that Cen­tral have won the cham­pi­onship.

Martin ex­pects the re­sult will see many of his play­ers tak­ing part in the semi-pro­fes­sional New Zealand Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship over the sum­mer.

Lynn-Avon United con­sol­i­dated third place with a come-from-be­hind 3-1 win over rel­e­gated Three Kings United at Ken Maun­der Park.

Grant Dun­can opened the scor­ing for the vis­i­tors two min­utes into the sec­ond spell, while Lynn-Avon had de­fender Greg Clark sent off eight min­utes later.

But vet­eran An­drew Camp­bell ral­lied his 10-man side in the fi­nal 12 min­utes.

Camp­bell net­ted twice in a three-minute burst be­fore Yoji Tan­abe se­cured the win with a goal in stop­page time.

And Melville United se­cured fourth place by thrash­ing Mt Al­bertPon­sonby 7-1, who also face de­mo­tion to the first divi­sion.

Metro did them­selves a huge favour by beat­ing One­hunga Sports 4-0 at Waikaraka Park, which means they nar­rowly avoid hav­ing to par­tic­i­pate in rel­e­ga­tion play-offs.

The com­pe­ti­tion’s lead­ing goal scorer, Sean Devine, added an­other two goals to his tally, with 22 for the sea­son, while Thomas Le Mou­ton and Danilo Ro­drigues also struck for Metro.

In the fi­nal first divi­sion game of the sea­son, Char­lie Re­wha and Ste­vie May scored first half goals as One­hunga-Man­gere United ended their sea­son with a 20 win over West­ern Springs.

On Satur­day, cham­pi­ons Cen­tral travel to Tau­ranga, while Hamil­ton and Melville en­ter­tain Metro and Lynn-Avon re­spec­tively.

Photo: FIONA GOODALL.

Slide on: Bay Olympic’s Ab­ner De Oliveira, left, at­tempts to tackle Cen­tral’s Sam Matthews in their North­ern Premier Foot­ball League clash at Olympic Park on Satur­day.

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