The weekend of football in New Zealand had surprising results that changed the table. Despite of the big effort of Tasman and Wellington Phoenix Reserves, both sides could not avoid a defeat against Team Wellington and Auckland City, respectively. The spotlight of the round goes for Waitakere United that could stop the winning-streak of Eastern Suburbs and clinch the third spot in the ladder so far in the season.
A very tight contest in the Auckland derby between Waitakere United and Eastern Suburbs thrilled the round, being the opener of the weekend of football in ISPS Handa Premiership. Both sides battling at the top of the table and coming from very good wins in their last matches.
Eastern Suburbs had chances to score in the initial part of the game, with the good attacking trio Martín Bueno, Adam Thurston and Leon van den Hoven. Despite the Lilywhites efforts, it was Waitakere United who took the lead at the 82th minute of play through the great-performer so far in the season Sam Burfoot. The goal came just after Waitakere was reduced to 10-men – Luck Searle received a second yellow card, but his side could grab a surprising lead.
The six minutes of additional time made the Waitakere United fans hold their breath, but they could get a relief when Kelvin Kalua was sent off by the referee, levelling the things in the pitch putting the both sides with ten players each. Waitakere could hold their lead until the final whistle, winning one of the most important games of the season so far and getting the 3rd place in the run over Eastern Suburbs.
Both Hamilton and Southern were coming from defeats in their previous matches – the teams were looking to recover themselves in the table, but they could not celebrate a win tonight, thanks to a late equalizer of the Dunedin-based side.
Xavier Pratt put the home side upfront in the second half after Hamilton was awarded a penalty kick. The midfielder was composed and put their side upfront already in the final moments of the clash, but Hamilton could not hold their lead: in the 93th minute of the match, the Irish striker Garbhan Coughlan was finally back to his goalscoring ways and put his side leveled in the scoresheet, to share the points with the team coached by Kale Herbert at Porrit Stadium.
After some bad games, Hawke’s Bay United found the path to the win again: the Napier-based side club took on Canterbury United at Bluewater Stadium and could get closer to the top-for with a hard fought in front of their home supporters.
The North-American talented striker Ahinga Selemani put his side upfront in the first half; scoring his goal of number nine of the season so far. Selemani’s goal was the difference between both sides at the break, but in the second half the youngster Jorge Akers found the nets to double his team lead against the Dragons.
Ben Stroud reduced the deficit for Canterbury, but it was not enough to start a reaction and the team coached by Lee Padmore saw themselves once again defeated. The situation is really not good for Canterbury, as they keep at the bottom of the rankings with just nine points in the process.
Team Wellington was not expecting an easy contest against Tasman in David Farrington Park. Despite the win, the team had to fight hard to surpass the Nelson-based club that is doing a good season so far, even with the defeat in the round.
The start of the game was sublime for Team Welly: Jack Henry-Sinclair scored again for the penalty spot as he did in the previous weekend to put his side ahead. The defender Taylor Schrijvers put his side with a 2-0 comfortable lead with a goal after a free-kick.
Still in the first half, the goalkeeper Scott Basalaj was forced to stop many shots coming from the Tasman’s attack led by the New Caledonian international Jean-Philippe Saïko. The pressure paid off, as Jimmy Wild cut the deficit to give his side something to celebrated before the break.
The goal of the North-Irish full back Rory McKeown gave final numbers to the clash; 3-1, but Team Wellington still had to battle against Tasman offensive players to hold their 2-goal lead.
Auckland City expected to win against Wellington Phoenix Reserves at Kiwitea Street; they won, but they had to fight a lot to seal one more in the league so far – maintaining their six-point lead at the top over Team Wellington.
The All-Whites member Clayton Lewis put his side ahead early in the clash with a shot from low distance. The midfielder Mario Ilich put his side two goals ahead after a good finish from the edge of the box, a shot the WeeNix goalkeeper Oliver Sail did not have a chance to stop.
In the second half the youngster Ben Waine scored a magnificent goal to give his side some hope. Waine is a serious candidate to the ‘Goal of the Season’ in the leage. The 2-1 did not take long to change, as the Argentinian Emiliano Tade scored another for the Navy Blues to restore the two-goal margin.
The experienced defender Ángel Berlanga had a bad moment when he scored an own goal in favour of Phoenix Reserves in the final moments of the game. The young team put some pressure in the final third to get an equalizer, but the Auckland City’s defense could deal with Phoenix attack to award their side with one more win the season.
To check the updated standings, top scorers and full results of the season so far, visit our session of the ISPS Handa Premiership.