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The restraining order is in the post

Birkenhead 2, Glenfield 0
Shepherds Park, Auckland, July 28 2018

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The Derby of Death! How could I resist? It’s only been a few weeks since I was last at Shepherds Park, so I didn’t think I could justify another visit so soon. But then a member of the Glenfield squad made it easy for me – flicking me a DM to ask for photos. I haven’t actually seen Glenfield for a long time so the only way to accommodate this request was to get along to a game and take some fresh ones for him! I didn’t need much persuading.

Now, my old mate Simon from Twitter, who is convinced that I’m a menace to all things Glenfield, has done some maths…

Personally, on those numbers, I think the women’s team should put me on the payroll! As for men’s derbies, well clearly the sample size was too small to draw any drastic conclusions. And yesterday should really have been the day that we saw something of a reversion to the mean.

Yep, Birkenhead were occupying a high table position going into this but:

  1. Teams below them have games in hand;
  2. Half the team have swanned off to US universities to further their football, leaving Birko with an even greener side than they had in the first place and;
  3. They have one eye firmly on next week’s Chatham Cup quarter final away at Wairarapa.

To underline point 3, coach Paul Hobson wasn’t with his team yesterday – opting instead to head down to Wellington to watch next week’s opposition lose 2-1 to Miramar Rangers at Dave Farrington Park. Birko weren’t too disadvantaged in that department though, with former Football Ferns coach and Pro-License holder Tony Readings providing a more than adequate understudy to say the least!

And once again Birkenhead showed that despite their slow start to the season, their raw team have found their feet to become surprise NRFL Premier dark horses.

Alex Connor-McClean got the opening goal in the 9th minute sending his team and fans into joyous rapture and they never really relinquished the ascendency from there on in. I couldn’t quite make out what Glenfield Coach Carl Jorgensen was saying as he made his way into the sheds at half time but the word “fuck” certainly featured as around about three out of every five words… I imagine his half time talk would have been tending towards the robust.

It probably had some effect though, as I thought Glenfield looked better in the second half, applying a fair amount of pressure to the Birko defence. There were a few incidences where they might have restored the equilibrium but unfortunately things just weren’t quite happening for them in the attacking department.

Instead Birko made hay on the counterattack in the 70th minute – Connor-McClean’s second all but sealing the win for the home side.

Glenfield kept pushing right up until the final whistle but when the three blasts came, 2-0 was the final score.

That win puts Birkenhead on top of the table on 30 points, one clear of Onehunga Sports. There are a further 7 teams within five points and both Sports and Manukau United have two games in hand – so it’s far too early to get the red and white confetti ready but you know what, call me biased and I am, but in the form they are in I reckon they might go close. The thing about games in hand is you’ve still got to win them. Either way we’ve got an exciting run home to look forward to!

And as for my much vaunted jinxing prowess:

Sorry for ruining your weekend, mate…

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Premier

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Enzo Giordani

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: http://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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