Footballers celebrate wins
Three local derbies highlighted the weekend’s action in the NRFL with Bay Olympic, Central United and both Three Kings United premier sides claiming bragging rights at the conclusion of wellcontested affairs.
Bay were the first cab off the rank, edging Western Springs 2-1 at Olympic Park on May 2.
Alan Ferguson’s goal clinched the points for the home team, after Jared Colligan’s penalty had been matched by George Debenham’s leveller for ‘‘The Hoops’’. Twenty-four hours later, Central came from behind to down Onehunga Sports 2-1 at Kiwitea Street.
In a game stacked with Auckland City and Team Wellington players, Central coach Jose Figueira was treated to a classy match all the way through.
‘‘It was really, really tense,’’ he says.
Caleb Rufer put the Green Machine in front from the penalty spot but Dean Lausev and Mario Ilich turned things around for Figueira’s charges, who leap-frog the beaten side into seventh spot on the table with this win.
‘‘We were beginning to control the game once we scored the second goal . . . but we didn’t want to rest on our laurels,’’ Figueira says.
Completing the men’s victories were Three Kings who eclipsed Eastern Suburbs 4-2 at Madills Farm.
Cameron Philpott’s two goals and an Allan Pearce penalty helped steer the visitors to victory.
Three Kings lie in fifth place, a point behind Bay Olympic. The May 3 NRFL women’s play saw the spotlight fall on the ‘‘old firm’’ derby, as another chapter unfolded in the great rivalry. Three Kings claimed the spoils at the end of the day, but were made to work hard for their 2-0 win by a plucky LynnAvon combination which simply refused to buckle in the face of persistent pressure from the visitors to Ken Maunder Park. Three Kings turned to their bench, with Martine Puketapu proving a more than useful super sub.
Still working through shoulder and ankle injuries, Puketapu needed little time to prove her worth in the 69th minute.
Taking on two players she slid the ball under the keeper to score after only three minutes of taking the field.
Three Kings coach Alan Hindson says it was another master stroke from his centre-forward.
Captain Jessie Mathews guided home a crossshot from birthday girl Hannah Wall 12 minutes later to ensure Three Kings’ title challenge wouldn’t be hampered by their arch-rivals’ spirited resilience.
NRFL results – round eight Men’s premier league:
Central United’s Danyon Drake makes a save.
Central United’s Regont Murati beats Onehunga’s Kohei Tezuka.