Mount Albert Ponsonby 3, Metro 2
Anderson Park, Auckland, April 8 2017
Used to form names of a tendency of behaviour, action, state, condition or opinion belonging to a class or group of persons, or the result of a doctrine, ideology or principle or lack thereof. – Wictionary
Rivalism – first coined by New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin at the launch of the Stirling Sports Premiership last year, it’s now the hottest made up word in the game. Of course, every word in the dictionary is made up by someone at some point in time, either accidentally or deliberately, usually because there is a gap in the lexicon that needs to be filled. This case is no exception. So in celebration of this fine new addition to the English language I decided to make last weekend my very own Rivalism Weekend!
Everyone has a different definition of what a derby is. Some poo-poo the A-League’s marketing of the Phoenix vs Perth as the “Distance Derby”, for example. They argue that to have a real derby, the two sides have to come from the same city let alone the same country! I don’t subscribe to that.
Are they going to tell Barcelona and Real Madrid fans that El Classico isn’t a real derby? In Italy, Juventus (Turin) and Inter (Milan) fiercely contest the Derby d’Italia, while Roma and Napoli have the Derby del Sole quite happily played out between teams from different cities – and there are many more.
But whatever your idea of a derby is, I think we can all agree that the New North Road Derby, fought out between Mount Albert Ponsonby and Metro, does qualify. The two clubs are a five to ten minute stroll from each other on opposite sides of the thoroughfare that gives the fixture its moniker in the leafy suburb of Mount Albert.
And while it lacks the rehearsed choreography and well-practiced singing that characterise some of the other big derbies around the world, the balcony at Anderson Park does have a fearsome reputation as far as synchronised beer imbibing and creative banter directed towards opposing teams is concerned!
They had a fair bit to get excited about of Saturday, as they saw their boys in gold and blue race out to a two goal lead, looking for all money like they were going to post a rugby score, only to let it all slip away. And that’s just summing up the first half hour!
Peter Wild opened the scoring in the sixth minute and the home side’s lead was doubled just four minutes later when Lewis Black nodded in a corner. But just as I was cursing my rotten luck at choosing a one sided game to attend, Jamie Shields was the beneficiary of a melee resulting from a Metro corner, stabbing home to get the AC Milan lookalikes back into the contest. Then, just ten minutes after that, Jaryd Gray restored parity on the counter attack.
After being spoilt rotten by all that action, it seemed like an age before the game’s 54th minute deciding goal was scored by Peter Wild. It was a deserved win for MAP, however, as they did seem to be knocking on the door for the overwhelming majority of the game.
For Metro, the loss sees them propping up the table on a big old goose egg while their rivals sit mid-table, well placed to pounce on some of the fancied clubs above them. For what it’s worth I still think MAP will be hard pressed to challenge the likes of North Shore and Melville at the top but they might well have the potential to upset one or two apple carts in the promotion race.
Sadly I couldn’t stick around for the raucous post-derby celebrations of the ultras on the Curva del Balcony. Jordan Luck was playing a free concert in Aotea Square that was due to start 15 minutes after the final whistle and I really wanted to make the first song, so I missed the pyrotechnics but I trust they were fantastic and definitely didn’t consist entirely of the kitchen volunteers chargrilling their delicious looking buffalo wings!
Rivalism Kiwi style – I’m telling you, it’s totally hardcore.
Categories: NZ Northern Men's Division 1
A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/