NRFL

Birko Edge Bays in North Shore Derby

File Photo supplied by www.phototek.co.nz

Last night’s fascinating encounter between East Coast Bays and Birkenhead United saw the Paul Hobson coached side come out on top with very little room for comfort. 

With the match kicking off at QBE Stadium, ECB looked very lively inside the first five minutes, causing an extreme amount of havoc in the Birkenhead goal box.

Judd Baker, Nicolai Berry and Dylan Stansfield were causing serious issues in the Birkenhead back line, but a strong defensive display led by Alec Solomons kept the scores level.

However, a bounce-back of chances saw Birkenhead begin to grow into the game and eventually it paid off when midfielder Sam Burfoot fired a rocket from almost 40 yards out to give Birko the lead.

With East Coast Bays searching for an equalizer, it certainly didn’t go their way in the first half as Birkenhead doubled their lead in the 43rd minute when the ball was squared to Alex Connor-McLean for him to strike the ball into the roof of the net.

The break saw Birkenhead leading the match by 2-0.

A bright start to the second half nearly ended with Birkenhead nabbing a third as East Coast Bay’s Centre-Back, Logan Archer failed to clear the ball off a corner, which hit the cross bar and continued to pin-ball all over the box.

It wasn’t until the 78th minute that Jack Beguely tapped home a goal to bring Bays back into the match.

Suddenly a surge of chances for ECB opened up, but the team in blue were unable to find the back of the net.

With both sides looking for a goal late in the match, it looked like it could’ve gone either way, however, Birkenhead held on to earn them three valuable points, which put them six points clear at the top of the NRFL Men’s Premier Division.

Full Audio Interview with Birkenhead United coach Paul Hobson:

Tonight in the Lotto NRFL Men’s Premier Division, Manukau United will take on Onehunga Sports at McLennan Park, where a win for either team could put them in the frame to chase Birkenhead for that league title spot.

Onehunga Sports v Manukau United – McLennan Park, 7:30pm

In the Women’s game, a must-win match up for Eastern Suburbs is on the cards when they take on Forrest Hill Milford United at Ngahue Reserve.

If the Lily Whites are to have any chance of achieving the NRFL Women’s Premier Division League title this season, it’s important they don’t drop any points against FHM tonight with the pressure looming high.

A loss ensures Glenfields Rovers the league title for the 2018 season.

Eastern Suburbs v Forrest Hill Milford United – Ngahue Reserve, 7:15pm

Claudelands Rovers v Hamilton Wanderers – Match Postponed due to rain effecting the surface.

Lotto NRFL Men’s Premier Division League Table:

Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier Division League Table: