Motivated Central get brace of titles
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.
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.