MAP Poised For Waiheke Challenge

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A four match unbeaten streak, see’s a confident Mt Albert-Ponsonby turn their focus to third place, Waiheke United this weekend in the Lotto NRFL Men’s First Division. 

With the team in high spirits after last week’s emphatic 2-0 victory over Forrest Hill, preparations loom high as MAP face a stern and tough challenge against both Waiheke and Melville over the next two weeks, who are both lurking near the top of the table.

“It’s another really hard game from the point of view of Mt Albert Ponsonby, we had the challenge of facing Forrest Hill last weekend and we were pleased with the win, but over the next to weeks we play Waiheke and Melville, who are hanging around the top area of the table” MAP head coach, Scott MacKay said.

Mt Albert Ponsonby celebrate Nicholas Hindson’s goal against Ellerslie earlier this year.

“With Malcolm [McPherson] as the Waiheke coach, they’ll be well organized and prepared for the match, they’ve got some quality players up top, in Marc Evans, Rhys Ruka and Tom Shaw, so they’re a quality team.”

“Both teams will be organized and committed and there will be two coached sides who will be based on the philosophy of playing some good football and on the day itself we will see who actually comes out and is up for the match, but no doubt we just have to wait and see which side can push forward to get on the front foot.”

We are halfway through the week now ladies and gentlemen. I know most minds in the @map.afc universe will be thinking about the weekend and where they are playing. The Woodview Construction 1st team and Reserves are away this week to @waiheke_united. Kick off for the Reserves is 12.30pm and the 1st team 3pm. Both games are at the Onetangi Sports Complex. Waiheke United have a massive following and games there are a great watch. A win is needed by both teams to keep pace with the top 2 in the division. This should be a cracker of a game. Here are the rest of this weekend’s fixtures for the club. Friday, May 25th. Over 35 Lions play @hbcafc. Anderson Park, 7pm. Saturday, May 26th. AFF Championship @mtroskillphysiotherapy play Otahuhu United. Anderson Park, kick off at 3pm. AFF Division 4 play Eastern Suburbs Wolves. Valonia Reserve 2 at 1pm. Over 30s play Bay Olympic Konkni. Anderson Park at 1pm. Over 35s Young Stallions play Mangere United. Centre Park 4 at 1pm. Sunday, May 27th. The Women’s 1st team play the only other unbeaten side in their league, Clendon United at Mountfort Park 2. Kick off is 10.45am. The second photo in today’s feed is a throw back to the last time the Men’s 1st team won the league, in 2011. A few familiar faces in there, a few lads wishing they were still that skinny……. #onlythechosenfewwearthegoldandblue

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Waiheke’s Marc Evans is in fine goal scoring form after amassing eight goals in nine matches to his name.

“Marc [Evans] played semi-pro back home in Wales, he was a danger when he played at Melville last year in the Lotto NRFL, he is a quality player and will take a goal scoring opportunity and that’s something we have to be wary of.”

Although attentive to Waiheke’s threatening strike force, MacKay believes the way his side sets up defensively will be key to producing a result in this weekend’s fixture.

“It’s up to us to concentrate 100% on the way we set up defensively, as we know they’ll be wanting to pin us back.”

“We’ve got good, young players at the back who also have national league experience, with Stewart MacKay and Tyrell Barringer-Tahiri taking charge alongside Simon Arms who’s been to the Club World Cup with Auckland City.”

With MAP being undefeated in four matches, forward, Magi Mas Manresa has been leading the charge on the front line, with three goals in nine games.

“He’s probably one of the best technical players in Division One, if he creates something, he gives that x-factor of what we want to create, he can score goals from anywhere, whether it be head, right foot, left foot, anything, plus what he does at set pieces and what he can create as well.”

“The match will be an entertaining game and hopefully with Magi on the field, we can create something that will give us a result.”

The match will kick off 3pm at Onetangi Hill – Waiheke Island

Full Interview here:

Other Lotto NRFL Men’s Division One Fixtures: 
Hibiscus Coast v Fencibles United – Stanmore Bay Park, 3pm
Melville United v Tauranga City – Gower Park, 3pm
Forrest Hill Milford United v Oratia United – Becroft Park, 3pm
Waitemata v North Shore United – McLeod Park, 3pm
Ellerslie v Manurewa – Michaels Ave Reserve, 5pm

Lotto NRFL Men’s Division One Table: