North Shore United fans are in for an exciting season.
Going on the evidence provided by their 3-3 draw at home against Mt Albert Ponsonby, Shore fans will see goals the season. Lots and lots of goals. And they’ll be at both ends.
With the likes of Jaryd Gray, Chris Bryson, Hector the Spaniard, the big Irish lad and an attack-minded midfield they won’t be found wanting in the Goals For column. Some of their football is very nice to watch and I expect when they get it right they’ll absolutely crush some unlucky side. But that defence will cause everyone associated with Shore, not least their coaching staff, no end of forehead spliting frustration.
MAP appear to be a scrappier side than Shore and probably need to be. They had their moments, like James Hoyt’s first half wonder goal, but will need to do the hard yards if they’re to survive. I think they will, given some of the other division 1 sides I’ve seen, but they’ll be fighting all the way through to the end of August.
I’m not sure whether the surface added to the frantic nature of the match or not. An apparent council bungle led to sand be laid too late, which meant the game was played on a virtual beach. Every time the ball skipped off the surface or a player made a tackle there was a nice tail of sand following behind. It must have made it bloody tough to play on.
Interestingly, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Football Federation’s CEO, Cam Mitchell, was in at right back for MAP. To me it seems rather odd that the boss of one Federation would be playing for a club based in another Federation, but I can sort of understand why. When Mitchell played for Melville several seasons ago he got all sorts of misguided grief from non-Melville-ites around the WaiBOP region, which led him to stop playing for a while. Petty local politics at their best it would seem. At least he won’t be short of work playing for this MAP side.
I will definitely find an excuse to watch both these sides again this season, particularly North Shore. They really are that side you can’t take your eyes off because you don’t know what’s gonna happen next. Maybe I should scratch the return fixture at Anderson Park into my diary.
As an aside, I think I need to make predictions far more often. It’s seems if I want some action all I need to do is post an observation on the Facebook page I run in conjunction with this blog and the opposite will happen.
No sooner had I tapped in some pithy remark about MAP being in for a long afternoon (it was 1-0 Shore at the time and they’d just missed a sitter to go two ahead) than they went and scored, twice, within the space of a couple of minutes. Then added a third not long after. Anyone who’s been following my match updates (yes, all three of you) will appreciate that’s not the first time I’ve managed to pull something like that off.
I guess I’ll have to make sure I use my powers wisely.