Manukau secure promotion again
‘‘We have some great knowledge and skills at the club and that's all coming together really nicely.’’
Manukau City will be playing in the Northern Region Football League’s premier division next season.
The Walter Massey Park-based club fittingly secured promotion in front of a jubilant home crowd with its 1-0 win over Melville United last Saturday.
The victory, Manukau City’s 16th of the season against four draws and a single loss, came in the second to last round of the division one championship. It was a vital win because it knocked the Hamilton club out of the race for the two places available in the premier league next season. Melville were two points behind Manukau heading into the match and might have even edged Manukau out of promotion had they won. The two places will be filled by Manukau City and Western Springs whose position at the top of the division one standings is almost unassailable. Both head into the final round of the premiership on Saturday with promotion in their pockets and the premiership still up for grabs.
Both are level on 54 points but Western Springs who host eighth place Hibiscus Coast are favoured to take premiership because they have the superior points differential.
That’s courtesy of having scored nearly twice as many goals as Manukau, 84 compared to 43 and conceding just as many, 24 versus 21.
Nevertheless, Manukau are taking their away game against fourth placed North Shore at Allen Hill Stadium as a must win. They know that a win in Devonport and a stumble - a draw or a lost - by Western Springs and the title will be theirs. Captain Hone Fowler says the club is stoked with their promotion, their second is as many years under coach Kevin Falloon.
He says it’s a huge achievement for his South Auckland club and that it took a lot of planning and effort to make it happen.
‘‘There has been a lot of effort put into the club’s success over the last few years,’’ he says.
‘‘It has seen rapid growth over the last few years. People have put in a lot of hours to see positive change. It is a much needed development that has happened in the community, offering quality opportunities through football and providing a pathway for you people into this sport. Making it accessible is something we’ve really been focused on achieving. We have some great knowledge and skills at the club and that’s all coming together really nicely.’’