The New Zealand top-tier football league – the ISPS Handa Premiership – reached the last round of 2019, the competition will resume in the next year and the powerhouse Auckland City will remain at the top of the table.
The first match of the Matcheeek saw a convincing win of Canterbury United against Tasman United at English Park – in a rare Friday game in the season. George King scored the first for the home side and the experienced Aaron Clapham approached a defensive error of Tasman to score the second and final goal of the encounter in favour of Canterbury. Tasman faced their second defeat in a row after losing at home against Hamilton Wanderers.
Waitakere United played Team Wellington at Seddon Fields and could stop the prolific attack of the opponent for more than 90 minutes. Waitakere pulled ahead with the New Zealand youth international Dane Schnell and saw their victory turn into just a draw when Hamish Watson scored through a header in the last minute of the game.
Team Wellington lost a golden opportunity to get closer Auckland City in the table, but they could not find any better than a draw against Waitakere that allowed an equalizer once again in the season.
Southern parked the bus against the powerful Auckland City in Dunedin and it proved to be a good decision. The team coached by Paul O’Reilly could hold the Navy Blues to a 0-0 draw. It was the second 0-0 draw in a row for Auckland City, but as Team Wellington also could not win their game in the weekend they will finish the year at the top of the table.
Auckland had much more ball possesion and created chances to score, but the defensive approach of Southern proved right and they could grab a point in this hard contest.
Wellington Phoenix Reserves counted with seven players of their first team – including the likes of Gary Hooper, Callum McCowatt and Ben Waine. They started very well the match away from home against Eastern Suburbs and created lots of opportunities to score. In a fantastic solo play Ben Waine scored for the visitors and himself provided a very good assist to the powerful striker Gary Hooper just to tap in for to double their lead.
But the second half a different story was told: Martin Bueno scored his third goal of the season and reduced the margin for the Lilywhites and Reid Drake with a fantastic finish in a free-kick attempt levelled the score – giving final numbers to a close contest in Auckland: 2-2.
Hamilton Wanderers seems to keep their good run in the season with a hard fought 2-1 win over Hawke’s Bay United. Derek Tieku and Jake Butler scored for the home side at Porrit Stadium to seal their second win in a row after a nightmare start of season in the 93rd minute. Ahinga Selemani scored once again in the season for Hawke’s Bay United, but proved not enough to continue their good form in the season.
Despite not winning in the last match of 2019, Auckland City remains on top of the table – the Navy Blues that scored plenty of goals in the season finished their last two matches goalless. Team Wellington remains in the contention just behind Auckland City in the standings as Hawke’s Bay United and Eastern Suburbs complete the top four so far in the season. You can check the complete table by clicking here.