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We Three Kings

Three Kings United 2, East Coast Bays AFC 3
Keith Hay Park, Three Kings, April 9 2012

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I hadn’t planned on going to two football games this Easter weekend, but when I woke up this morning to such brilliant sunshine it seemed like an awful waste not to add a sequel to Friday’s trip to Papamoa. A quick look at the various draws yielded a number of options. In the end, I chose to get along to see two Auckland based Northern Premier League teams who were reasonably strong last year and who I had never before had the pleasure of seeing in action. It was a great choice.

Three Kings United is, according to their Wikipedia page, one of the biggest sports clubs in New Zealand. Despite this, they are yet to win a trophy in men’s football (their women’s side has won multiple leagues and cups) although last season they finished runners up in the Northern Premier League. With 12 wins, four losses and two draws, they were seven points shy of champions Bay Olympic. East Coast Bays AFC, champions the season before last and Cup winners in 2008, managed a more than respectable fourth in last season’s ten team league having won nine, lost five and drawn four.

Given the relative strength of both clubs, this match seemed to have all the ingredients of a cracker. As it turned out, it had all the ingredients of a freshly made Tuscan bruschetta with different flavours coming to the fore at different stages of the culinary experience. The game ebbed and flowed with both sides enjoying periods of dominance. East Coast Bays had the better of the first half, spending most of it in the home side’s territory. Despite this, it was Three Kings who took the lead through a shot that thundered off the cross bar, bounced high in the air, defied the keeper’s attempt to swat it out on the way down, finding its way to the feet of Sam Margetts who buried it in the back of the net. But their lead was short lived. East Coast Bays were able to finally make their concerted pressure count for something via a beautifully taken Dan Peat header to make it 1-1 at half time.

Three Kings seemed to come out stronger early in the second half, taking their turn to dominate possession. Their thoroughly deserved 2-1 lead came from a remarkable free kick that Jared Colligan was able to curl right around the outside of the wall and straight in. The home fans were rapturous but their joy only served to spur East Coast Bays on to greater effort. Following a period of end to end stuff, Peat found himself one on one with the keeper who he swerved his way around to tap in the equaliser and double his goal tally. The momentum was now firmly with the visitors and it seemed a matter of time before the inevitable outcome – the winner came from a shot parried by the keeper into the path of Jack Beguely who made no mistake.

A fine victory for East Coast Bays that I felt was a fair result given they seemed to have more time both in possession and in their opponent’s half over the course of the whole game. After three rounds they share the lead in the Northern Premier League with reigning champs Bay Olympic. Both sides are unbeaten. A very interesting season lies ahead..

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Premier

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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