FC Twentyy11, Coastal Spirit and Ferrymead Bays set the early pace in the Mainland Premier League (MPL), all recording wins in the opening round.
FC defeated Western 3 – 1 to top the table, Coastal scored twice against Universities without reply. Ferrymead Bays edged Nomads 2 – 1 with Cashmere Technical and Nelson Suburbs playing out a scoreless draw.
FC took an early lead via Jamie Atkinson – who scored his debut goal – with Nathan Roberts then saving a penalty. Ben Lapslie then doubled the lead with a long-range effort which cannoned off the crossbar with Western players feeling the ball has not crossed the line. Dorian Grault pulled a goal back for Western after the break, with FC adding a third to Michael White; some-what against the run of play in the last quarter of the game.
A goal in each half was enough for Coastal to open their points account for the season. Sam Orritt opened the scoring after 14 minutes after Coastal had seen several changes go begging, then on the hour, Rhys Williams doubled the lead. Universities competed throughout the game, but never really threatened, their new keeper Chris Kotrotsos pulling off several fine saves to deny Coastal adding to their score line late in the game.
On Friday evening promoted Nomads took the lead over Bays, when Meysum Shafahi scored from the penalty spot, the 250th penalty scored in the MPL. Stu Kelly found the set netting for Bays just before the break. Bays were awarded a penalty in the 65th minutes, but Mark Peers hit the post. Minutes later Chris Anderson scored his 50th MPL goal to lock the scores and then bagged a double when heading home in the 77th minute to seal the win.
Technical and Suburbs battled out an entertaining scoreless draw. Both sides had chances to open the scoring with Suburbs keeper, Corey Williams, a former Irish youth international showing that he is an excellent shot stopper.
Early in the second half, Williams opposite, James Levey produced a brilliant finger-tip save to deny Ben Wright from scoring. With 20 minutes to play Technical were denied by the offside flag and shortly after were awarded a penalty for hand ball. Andy Barton spot kick to hit too close to Williams who was untroubled to save.
Round two starts on Friday evening with Universities hosting Technical at English Park at 7pm. On Saturday, in what should be the game of the round Bays take on Coastal at Ferrymead Park with Western facing Nomads at English Park, both these game kick off at 2:45pm. On Sunday FC travel north to take on Suburbs at Saxton Fields at 1pm.
Round 1 – Results /Scorers
Cashmere Technical 0 Nelson Suburbs 0
Coastal Spirit 2 (Sam Orritt, Rhys Williams) Universities 0 HT 1 – 0
FC Twenty11 3 (Jamie Atkinson, Ben Lapslie, Michael White) Western 1 (Dorian Grault) HT 2 – 0
Nomads 1 (Meysum Shafahi – pen) Ferrymead Bays 2 (Chris Anderson 2) HT 1 – 0