Western Springs march on undefeated
Western Springs’ premier men’s football side have continued their unbeaten streak in the Northern Regional Football League (NRFL) Division One competition with a 2-0 victory over Tauranga City on Saturday.
The win was their ninth from as many games and they now sit four points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand.
They’ve given up just seven goals so far this season, the least across all three NRFL divisions.
Springs’ assistant coach Liam Mulrooney said the side’s strong defensive record was a testament to the style of football they were trying to play.
‘‘We play a possession-based game,’’ Mulrooney said.
‘‘We keep the ball well and when the other team don’t have it, they can’t score.’’
Mulrooney made no secret of the side’s main focus this season - gaining promotion back into the NRFL Premier League after they were relegated last year.
Normally, the two top sides from Division One replace the two bottom sides from the Premier League, however, last season’s Premier League was an expanded 13-team competition meaning an extra side was to be moved down.
With just one point in it on the table, Springs were on the receiving end of that technicality, and they’re showing this season they belong back in the top flight.
For Mulrooney, the undefeated tagline is one they’d like to hang on to.
‘‘It’s a bit of a goal to get through that first round without losing a game,’’ he said.
Springs decided to change things up this season, opting for a mix of youth and experience. In the past, they’ve been well-known for fielding strong, young talent, but have struggled to garner the services of veterans who know how to lead and take control of a game.
Two new additions in Adam Dickinson and Chris Bale - both high profile football players in Auckland - has bolstered the squad and they’re now reaping the rewards.
Dickinson leads Springs’ goalscoring tally and said he was happy with where his team was heading.
‘‘When we’ve got confidence the goals just seem to happen,’’ he said.
‘‘I think in any sport confidence is just massive and we’ve got momentum. But I think we can still go up another gear to be honest.’’
Western Springs’ George Debenham in action against Eastern Suburbs in last year’s NRFL Premier League.