Narrow League Motivates Fencies for Second Round Charge

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The Lotto NRFL Men’s Division One is set for an exciting second round of fixtures as only eight points separate second from sixth. With Melville currently leading the charge, nine points clear at the top of the table, the rest of the league is set for a five-way battle between Waiheke United, North Shore United, Mt Albert-Ponsonby, Forrest Hill and Fencibles United.

But how does that square up in the mind of Fencies head coach, Neil Sykes? Currently sixth on the table with a very youthful team, the newly-promoted East Auckland outfit has plenty of potential going forward, but a challenge lies ahead as the Howick-based side look to push for the final hurdle with the challenge of MAP looming over their shoulders.

“There’s a lot of good teams in the division, there’s not a lot of difference between the top and the bottom sides. There are plenty of committed and talented players in this division” Sykes said.

“I don’t think there’s a major difference between some of the teams in the Premier League and teams that we’re playing every week, it’s competitive and it’s honest football.”

“MAP as a team are like that, they’ll be up for the battle, well organised and they’ve got some decent players as well, so we know what we’re up against and we know what’s at stake.”

“We will prepare the same way as we have for other games, we’ll work hard as a group and hopefully we’ll be more clinical in both boxes which will help us take the three points.”

With a youthful side at the hands of Sykes, the focus for Fencibles is to build on the consistency of results, with the side dipping in form after two straight defeats to fellow promotion contenders, Waiheke United and relegation battlers Tauranga City FC.

Fencible’s Jordan Kalk holds off Manurewa’s Luke Bulay. Photo: Ben Campbell /

“That’s the kind of conundrum you have when you’ve got a young squad, it’s all about the consistency” Sykes said.

“We had a great run at the start and over the last few weeks we’ve maybe not had the results that we had at the start of the season and consistency has costed us a little bit.”

“Our players will learn from it this year, it’ll be really good for their development as a team and as individuals and we’ll just keep trying to produce good performances and we’ll see where we end up.”

Although, impressing quite well this season with a young side, one player’s goal scoring credentials have made a stunning impact on the sides progress this season as 23-Year-Old Jordan Kalk has found the back of the net on six different occasions.

“He’s got electric pace, which is great for us going forward. He’s  also got a goal scoring touch and can finish in different ways” Sykes said.

“He really fits well into the team and the club as he’s got those values that we think are so important; hard work, loyalty and commitment to his mates. Plus he brings that little bit of quality as well, so he’s done really well, and he’s made a big impact for us this season.”

The match against MAP will kick off at 3pm at William Green Domain.

Other Lotto NRFL Men’s Division One Fixtures:

Waitemata v Waiheke United – McLeod Park, 3pm.
Hibiscus Coast AFC v Melville United AFC – Stanmore Bay Park, 3pm.
Manurewa AFC v Tauranga City AFC – War Memorial Park, 3pm.
North Shore United v Oratia United – Allen Hill Stadium, 3pm.
Ellerslie AFC v Forrest Hill Milford United – Michaels Ave Reserve, 5pm.

Lotto NRFL Men’s Division One League Table: