A demanding period of Northern League Football scheduling has started with defeat for Tauranga City.
Tauranga were beaten 3-2 by Forest Hill-Milford in round four of the first division on Auckland's North Shore on Good Friday. It was the first of three games to be played in nine days.
Tauranga will host Fencibles United on Anzac Day before returning to Auckland to play Takapuna two days later.
The loss to Forest Hill-Milford was not the ideal start to the tricky trifecta of games but Tauranga coach Nic Millichip was proud of the way his team fought back. They were down 2-0 after 20 minutes but a brace from Tauranga's Andy Carter levelled the scores before halftime. However, the home team scored the game winner 20 minutes into the second half.
"It was a bit disappointing," Millichip says.
"I felt like we deserved to get something out of it."
Tauranga have started the season with two wins and two losses, suffering defeats to the competition's two undefeated teams. Millichip says there will be some balancing to counter the nine-day period.
"We will do a technical session at training on Tuesday and evaluate what happened on the weekend. We are working around the edges making sure we get ourselves in a good mental state. The travel is the nature of the league so you just have to do it."
Earning competition points in the next week is crucial as them competition enters the often season-defining middle period of the season.
"Every game is important, but if you want to be in a strong position you want points in the bag. We are playing a good brand of football, so I am not going to reinvent anything. As a team we have come together nicely and we are getting a really good understanding. We are learning how to look at other sides and counter that."
Meanwhile, McDonalds Ngongotahā Men's NRFL first team coach Andrew Gibbs wants to implement and attitudinal shift in his team after a 5-0 loss to Auckland club Metro on Friday. It was Ngongotahā's fourth defeat of the second division and they are also yet to score a goal this season.
"We didn't show up and Metro did and they were well organised. We never really got off the bus. We were comprehensively outplayed in every area and I think we lacked a bit of desire."
Ngongotahā also have a tough schedule, hosting Cambridge on Anzac Day and then travelling to play West Auckland Club Oratia on Saturday.
"The fix is simple, it is reiterating a few things and getting our heads back in the right place. We have more than enough talent and ability to compete with anyone in this league.
"We played some football, but we were not attentive enough and switched off in key moments. In some ways not turning up with the right attitude can be an easy fix. All of those things have been identified and we will line them up. Will shake things up this week and we will be getting that awareness back to the players."
Gibbs maintains confidence that scoring goals will come for his side.
"In terms of the actual game it is simple things, we have our transitions to work on, we can also work hard on one-on-one stuff and winning those 50-50 balls. We also want to give our attacking players the confidence to take people on."