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After a break for Queen’s Birthday, teams were back at it on Saturday in the premier men’s competition.
It was second against third in the match of the day. Kings United and Albany put on a show for the crowd as the Kings buzzer-beater second goal — to win 2-1 — ensured they retained the prize for another week.
In the race to catch leader University, both sides started cautiously yet at high pace. These are teams whose main strength lies in their defence and midfield, and the goalkeepers were not bothered in the early stages.
It took a piece of individual brilliance from Tom Caughley with an aerial baseline dribble and a slick offload to young gun Zach Mason, who expertly finished, to give Kings the lead.
Albany continued to press for a return but the normally clinical red and blacks were held at bay by their own mistakes.
The momentum did begin to swing and, as has been the case several times this season, Silas Dalley got the crucial score for Albany.
The intensity continued to rise as vital competition points and, of course, the shield were on the line. It took until the last few seconds before the deadlock was broken, and it was Caughley again who fired the killer blow to get the Kings boys the chocolates, as the siren sounded soon after the net was disturbed.
In the other match of the day, competition leader University Blue Whales kept its lead with victory over club mates University Black Panthers 5-0. Taieri had the bye.
The second round has now ended and the third begins next weekend. University (28) holds a three-point lead over Kings (25). Albany has 13 points, with Taieri (12) close behind. Uni Panthers remain pointless.
- Matthew West