New Zealand: Waitakere running away with it at the halfway stage
The ASB Premiership, New Zealand’s flagship football competition, is at the halfway point in the 2010-11 season and for defending champions Waitakere United the signs are currently good. Seven games into the season and Waitakere have an eight point lead over nearest challengers Team Wellington as they have shown the rest of the league that they are far and away the best team in the competition at the moment.
The champions have won all seven of their ASB Premiership games so far including today’s 2-0 away win at last season’s losing finalists Canterbury United. Both goals were scored in the first half with Roy Krishna opening United’s account after fifteen minutes, taking his season’s tally of goals up to four. Christopher Bale doubled the lead with ten minutes to go before the break and the champions never looked back from there. Team Wellington won 5-0 at home to Otago United – Hicham Kamri bagging a brace with John Sutherland, Darren Cheriton and Emiliano Tade getting the others – to keep up the chase on the league leaders. Auckland City have had a difficult season so far but they at least ended the calendar year on a high winning 5-0 at home to Hawke’s Bay United, Adam McGeorge helping himself to a hat-trick. They consolidated third place in the standings increasing their advantage over Canterbury United to four points.
In the bottom half of the table bottom club YoungHeart Manuwatu finally registered their first win of the season beating Waikato FC 5-2. Michael White scored a hat-trick for the hosts who hadn’t even chalked up a point in the standings before today. With both Team Wellington and Otago United losing the win helped YoungHeart narrow the gap between themselves and the two teams above them to four points. The next round of fixtures will take place on the weekend of January 8-9 with Waitakere United at home to Otago United, play-off hopefuls Canterbury United against last season’s Minor Premiers Auckland City, second place Team Wellington visit YoungHeart Manuwatu and Waikato FC face Hawke’s Bay United as the business end to the regular season will begin in earnest.