There were not surprises in weekend of football in the most important football league of Oceania. The ISPS Handa Premiership continues with the same top-four of the last weekend, as Auckland City, Team Wellington, Eastern Suburbs and Waitakere United won their matches in the round. The New Zealand-top tier football continues to show good quality football for the local fans in the entire country, having matches in four different cities in the weekend.
The first match of the weekend – the WelClasico – took place in Porirua Park. The home side, the Phoenix Reserves, had a very improved team as they counted with players from their first team – Wellington Phoenix did not play this weekend in A-League as they were in a bye week.
Team Wellington knew they had a harsh challenge coming and the match really to be as tough as they imagined it would be. None of the sides could score until the 96th minute of play, when a silly handball inside the box allowed the young talented player Jack-Henry Sinclair to score through a penalty kick and keep Team Wellington six points away Auckland City in the ladder.
If Team Wellington had to until the last minute to confirm their victory, Eastern Suburbs can not say the same. The current title holders did not need to wait for long as the Uruguyan striker Martín Bueno put them ahead in the 9th minute through a penalty kick against Southern United in Auckland.
Michael Built added another still in the first half to seal a 2-0 advantage in the break. The second half was even better, Bueno scored another two – the striker has already 10 in the season – while Reid Drake and Kelvin Kalua finished the account for the home side with a strong 6-0 win over Southern.
The coach Paul O’Reilly resigned from his post in Southern after another harsh defeat the team suffered, even after a 2-1 win last weekend against Canterbury United.
Tasman received Hawke’s Bay United in Saxton Field in a match both teams wanted to recover from their defeats in the past round. The New Caledonian international Jean-Philippe Saïko scored in the first half to give the lead for the Nelson-based side.
In the second half Max Winterton added another for Tasman and the same Saïko scored his second goal in the match to make it 3-0 in favour of the home side. Hawke’s Bay could just reduce the margin in the scoreboard to two, when Ahinga Selemani scored in the final moments of the game.
Tasman is in a good position in the table, sitting just behind Waitakere inside the top-for just one point away. Hawke’s Bay after some impressive victories seemed to lose the balance and now is six points away the same Waitakere in the 4th position in the table.
Auckland City played at home against Hamilton Wanderers in the Kiwitea Street and surely the idol Emiliano Tade let the fans very happy. The Argentinian is back to where he made a lot of success after years of professional football in South Africa. Tade is the player who most scored goals for Auckland City in their history and he added another two in the weekend in his side victory over Wanderers.
The top goalscorer of the season so far Myer Bevan added another to his tally and finished the scoreline for the Navy Blues. The 3-0 would be perfect for the team coached by Jose Figueira, but a clean sheet could not be kept by Conor Tracey as George Ott scored a consolation goal for the Hamilton-based club.
Auckland continues six points clear in the table, while Hamilton Wanderers is now six points away Waitakere United that is last placed side inside the top-four so far.
Waitakere continues their fine moment with a hard fought win over Canterbury at English Park. The team has now three wins in a row – all of them by one-goal margin.
While Waitakere celebrated a much-needed win, the things are not really going as expected for the team coached by Lee Padmore. Canterbury United sits in the bottom of the table, being the only side to not reach yet the double figures in points – having just nine.
All goals came in the second half: Jacob Richards scored the first for the home side, giving them a relief to imagine the drought would end in this match. Unfurtonately for them, the team-captain Sam Burfoot scored in the 77th minute of play to equalize and the talented Dane Schnell sealed his side win at the 85th with the winner goal.
Waitakere continues in the top-four, just one point away Eastern Suburbs that is currently at 3rd place in the run. Waitakere has still a match to be played against Hamilton Wanderers – all sides have 12 matches played in the season, while both teams played 11 – that was interrupted due bad weather conditions. Click here to see the full standings of the competiton so far.