Hamish Watson scores goal from centre circle in national men's football league
Team Wellington midfielder Andy Bevin slid in and won the ball just inside his own half, sending it to the feet of forward Hamish Watson, just over the halfway line.
Watson then turned inside the centre circle, spotted Auckland City goalkeeper Cam Brown off his line, and let rip with an audacious shot that became a spectacular goal.
It was arguably the strike of the national men’s football league season so far, but it wasn’t enough to get Team Wellington back into the top-of-the-table contest at Kiwitea St in Auckland, which City won 3-1.
Watson is a former New Zealand age-group international and Wellington Phoenix pro and has regularly been among the top scorers in the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership.
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He currently leads the golden boot standings with nine goals to his name – one more than Hamilton Wanderers forward Derek Tieku – and is the favourite to take out the honour in the final season of the league under its current format.
City are on track to finish first, sitting at the top of the table with 23 points to their name, but it's anyone’s guess who will join them in the semifinals with three rounds of the regular season remaining.
Team Wellington remain on 17 points after their defeat, with Hamilton Wanderers one point behind them, Eastern Suburbs and Canterbury United a further point back, and Waitakere United just a point behind those two.
Only three of those teams will be able to join City in the semifinals on March 6 and 7, so there will be plenty to play for over the next three weekends, starting with a clash between Team Wellington and Suburbs in the capital on Saturday.
Watson has never been part of a Premiership-winning side and has said it is his goal to win a title with Team Wellington at the last possible opportunity for him to do so.
The 2020-21 ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership is the final edition of the summer-centric, franchise-based national league that has run since 2004, with New Zealand Football deciding in December to return to a winter-centric, club-based competition from 2021.