Jubilation and devastation
Two champion clubs, two very different journeys to the title.
After months of competition all that could separate first from second in the Northern Region Football League premier division this season was goal difference.
East Coast Bays edged Birkenhead United to take the premiership glory during a weekend in which the Browns Bay-based club didn't even take the field.
Conversely Glenfield Rovers convincingly secured the first division title with two games in hand.
Olympic Park has repeatedly been the scene of jubilation and devastation for Shore football clubs.
For two years running the NRFL premiership has been decided at the West Auckland ground.
And for consecutive years different Shore teams have seen the title slip away out west.
Back-to-back premiership winners Bay Olympic weren't in the title race this season but they played a part in who claimed the trophy on their home ground when they held Birkenhead United to a draw in their final game.
The equation was simple. Birkenhead had to win on August 31 to have enough competition points to snare their first premiership.
However come crunch time Birkenhead couldn't convert season-long success into a title and East Coast Bays were the benefactors.
Having beaten Birkenhead 1-0 the previous week in their final game of the season, East Coast Bays players were on the sidelines barracking for Bay Olympic to replicate their feat.
Intensity right from the first whistle proved Bay Olympic wasn't going to hand Birkenhead the title in their first season in the top-flight.
Bay Olympic scored first, Birkenhead levelled after half time and then took the lead. But Bay Olympic would score last for a 2-2 draw, an act which was enough for 2012 runners-up East Coast Bays to win the competition for the second time in four years.
After the full 18 rounds both East Coast Bays and Birkenhead had won 12 games, drawn three and lost three.
East Coast Bays are champions due to superior goal difference.
East Coast Bays scored 44 and let in 19 for a goal difference of 25 whilst Birkenhead netted 45 goals and conceded 26 for a goal difference of 19.
Glenfield Rovers led the competition from the opening day and never let up as they charged their way to the first division title and a place in the premiership in 2014.
A 1-1 draw in the local derby against Takapuna combined with North Shore United's draw with Forrest Hill Milford was enough for Danny Donegan's side to wrap up the title on August 31.
Next season four Shore clubs could be playing in the premier division.
With two games still to play North Shore will be aiming for second place which would see them promoted alongside Glenfield.
In the second division Albany United claimed a point from their 1-1 draw with the higher ranked Waiuku and will play their final game against Fencibles at Rosedale Park on Saturday.
In the women's premier league Glenfield Rovers lost 1-3 to Eastern Suburbs in their last top six league game of the season.
They now turn to September 15 and the final of the Women's Knockout Cup.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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