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North Shore United are Northern Premier Football League Champions

Flagstaff Team

United in victory… North Shore captain Tom Shaw has the Northern League premiership cup firmly in his grasp as other team members begin the celebrations.

North Shore United were crowned Northern Premier League champions after a 2-0 win over Hamilton Wanderers at Allen Hill Stadium last Saturday.

The title topped a golden couple of years at the club – the premiers were only promoted the year before from the first division.

Around 1000 people turned out to see the victory, which clinched the title from Onehunga Sports who finished the season one point behind Shore.

Coach Malcolm MacPherson always had confidence in his side, telling the Flagstaff prior to the season that the team was “playing to win, not making up the numbers.”

Put Shore up 2-0… Conor McDonald

Junior players rushed onto the Allen Hill Stadium pitch for a group hug with the senior North Shore United side after it won the Northern Premier League last Saturday.

It is the first time in 18 years that North Shore has won the competition.

North Shore went into the match one point ahead of Onehunga Sports and had to win the game of the season against Hamilton Wanderers to win the trophy.

However, coach Malcolm McPherson was confident, especially after an 18th-minute goal by Rossi Nkoy from a Marko Memdovic cross.

“I knew, going into the second half, this was going to be our game.”

A crowd of more than 1000, including a large number of junior club players and their families, attended the deciding game.

Clutch moment of the game… Shore goalkeeper Silvio Rodic saves a penalty, much to the delight of his teammates

Conor McDonald scored in the 57th minute putting Shore up 2-0. But it proved a very competitive match and was not a straightforward victory.

With 10 minutes to go, Hamilton Wanderers were awarded a penalty following an obstruction, giving them a chance to get back into the match.

But Shore goalkeeper Silvio Rodic pulled off a fantastic save – one of many in the match – keeping a clean sheet.

When the whistle blew, the junior players flocked onto the field to hug the team and join in a rousing chorus of soccer anthem Ole, Ole Ole, also known as Championes, which they certainly were.

Meanwhile, many at the ground, especially club chair Steve Browning, had been monitoring Twitter to keep track of how rivals Onehunga Sports were doing against Eastern Suburbs in Kohimarama.

Fever pitch… North Shore juniors rush onto the field to congratulate the winners

Onehunga were up 2-0, then down 3-2, but finishing with a 4-3 win and just one point behind Shore for the season.

“I was always going to be nervous after five years of trying to get back into the league at this level. It’s amazing to win it on the first time up,” Browning said, referring to the side’s promotion last year.

“A lot of that goes to this man [McPherson]. A coach builds a team,” Browning said.

“It’s nice for the Devonport community. It’s 18 years since we have been able to achieve this as a club.”

This article originally appeared in the September 6 edition of the Devonport FlagstaffDownload PDF.