Manukau clinch Division Two title

Manukau City are Lotto NRFL Division Two Champions for 2016 after defeating Ngaruawahia 1-0 at Centennial Park today.

It was an end to end game with the home side creating goal scoring chances early on while City proved dangerous on the counter attack.

Ngara’s Mark Christensen and Manmaresa Magi both sent long range efforts well over the cross bar, before their side found themselves in mayhem in the penalty box from a corner but managed to clear to safety.

Just before half time, Ngara’s ‘keeper Isaac Tetteh pulled off a stunning save to tip an Ishak Nazeem effort over the bar.

It took less than five minutes in the second half for the deadlock to be broken and fortunately for Kevin Fallon it was his side as Iwa Shaker headed the ball into the back of the net.

The goal seemed to change the complexion of the game, with City continuing to look dangerous on the counter while the home side were struggling to create any clear cut chances.

Shaker became close to grabbing a brace but his volley sizzled wide of the upright before Hone Fowler found his close range header blocked for a corner and an Andre Estay free kick smashing the crossbar.

Despite Ngara enjoying a lot of possession, it was the end product that was missing which allowed Manukau to hold on to their 1-0 victory.

City captain Hone Fowler was understandably very happy with his team’s victory and claiming the Division Two title for 2016.

“It’s fantastic,” says Fowler.

“It’s something we set out to do from the beginning of the season and it’s been a long road but I am over the moon to be here accepting the award today and I am glad the boys put in a really good effort today right to the end.”

As well as the efforts from his team mates, Fowler credits coach Fallon for much of the sides success this year.

“It makes a huge difference having Kevin on board. At the beginning of the season things were very different at the club. We’ve been up and down over the past few years but with Kevin on board it’s been a fantastic mix”

Fallon was equally as pleased with the result and believes the culture has been a defining factor.

“I’ve really enjoyed my work at Manukau and the boys have really got in behind what I’m doing,” says Fallon.

“They had to buy into it, they had to change the whole culture which we’re well on our way towards and I think we are seeing the rewards.”

“It’s a great day for the club and the area. We can always be improving all the time, it starts with the culture and at the training ground and they’ve improved that so much it’s not funny.”

In the only other Division Two match this weekend, Northland bowed out of the Lotto NRFL on a positive note defeating Te Atatu 1-0 thanks to a 93rd minute winner by Andrew Dunn.

Division One saw one game take place with Metro hosting Champions Waitakere City on Saturday evening.

The 2016 Lotto NRFL Division One Champs proved to strong and put three unanswered goals past Metro through Steven Macdonald (2) and Keegan Linderboom.

Lotto NRFL Division One

Metro 0-3 Waitakere City (HT: 0-2)
MET: None
WAI: Steven Macdonald 2, Keegan Linderboom

Lotto NRFL Division Two

Ngaruawahia 0–1 Manukau City (HT: 0-0)
NGA: None
MAN: Iwa Shaker

Northland 1–0 Te Atatu (HT: 0-0)
NOR: Andrew Dunn
TAT: None

*Please note that all goal scorers and golden boot tallies are reconciled with the official team cards the week following a round and updated accordingly.