After several Saturday afternoon changes of plan I found myself at Rosedale Park for the NRFL Division 2 match between Albany United and Western Springs. Plan A was to travel out to South Auckland and cover another game of two halves: namely the first half of Mangere United versus Waiuku and the second half of Papatoetoe against North Shore United.
Plan B was to do a similar thing on the Shore, with matches at East Coast Bays, Albany, Forrest Hill Milford and Takapuna to choose from. As it turns out, a rather extended trip to Auckland (if you have kids you’ll understand why such things happen) meant I needed to move to a relaxed Plan C.
So Albany it was, with the prospect of another night game at Michaels Ave to look forward to in the evening.
Rosedale Park is a decent sized place and always strikes me as being set up well. It’s just a shame the side that plays there is currently struggling.
I pulled in to Albany United’s home ground for their match against Western Springs expecting a comfortable victory for the away team and that’s pretty much what we got. Springs were efficient, precise, organised, sharp, and that was enough to walk away with what looked like a 4-0 thrashing.
All four of their goals were well taken and there was a nice symmetry about them with a couple coming in each half. Their first was poked home following a crisp left wing cross that was headed back across goal by player-coach, Neil Emblen. The second was struck home off the underside of the crossbar following another ball from out wide.
After the break a nicely struck penalty secured the result then the goal of the day rounded out the scoring. An angled laser strike flew across goal and ripped in the top left corner. That goal alone was worth the effort of going along to watch an NRFL Division 2 match when East Coast Bays versus Three Kings United was being played only minutes away.
As for Albany, they were competitive without having the cutting edge needed to put Springs under great amounts of pressure. They generally defended pretty well and they were good goals that broke them down. At the other end they had their chances without really looking likely. Matt Upton, in Springs’ goal, had a reasonably busy afternoon.
So that’s a brief summary of what was an entertaining match, without being what one would describe as memorable (the fourth goal apart). To me this type of performance indicates that Western Springs will be an NRFL Division 1 club next season and, given their size, will likely be strengthened and will do well up there.
Without knowing how Albany is run my take on them is that they’re actually an okay looking side. But their results haven’t been great and they’re not far off the relegation spot so they’ll have to grind out a couple of results quick smart to give themselves some breathing space.
I had my five year old son with me at Albany and he spent most of this match either playing with his Angry Birds toys or playing Angry Birds on my phone. We found probably the only picnic table at Rosedale Park, behind one of the goals, and set up shop there for the match, only moving at half time to have a stretch at the playground and to rush the toilets a couple of times when Nathan’s young bladder needed draining.
After this match we jumped in the car for a leisurely drive over the bridge, via Greenlane McDonalds, to Michaels Ave to watch Ellerslie versus Birkenhead under lights. I was a bit nervous about how that would go with a kid in tow, but Nathan loved it. We circled the ground a couple of times, visited the toilets more than once and even watched a bit of football.
The match was as close as the 1-0 scoreline would suggest. Birkenhead probably had more up periods than their hosts, but Ellerslie was competitive without doing quite enough to grab a goal that they probably deserved. Unfortunately, with a kid in tow, it was tough to stay 100% focused on the match so the details are a bit fuzzy and I even reported the wrong goal scorer on my Facebook commentary.
That aside, it was a fun afternoon/evening with my oldest son. I can confidently report that my blatant long term football indoctrination of my off-spring is continuing unabated. Football’s in my blood and I think it’s pretty well established in my son’s fluids as well. While I must remain vigilant, I’m happy with the progress so far.