Birkenhead United have taken a two-point lead in the Northern League after an early goal by captain Sam Burfoot was enough to hand 10-man Bay Olympic their first loss of the season.
Auckland City dropped points with a draw at Hamilton Wanderers but they and Birkenhead remain the only undefeated teams in the competition.
Birkenhead keep their 100% winning record
Bay Olympic’s hopes of topping the Northern League table on Saturday night were largely scuppered in the opening half hour of their game against Paul Hobson’s Birkenhead United.
United skipper Sam Burfoot gave the visitors the lead in the 8th minute, scoring against his old club at Olympic Park.
Bay Olympic made their task much worse when Godwin Darkwa was given a straight red by referee Chris Trent, half an hour into the game.
Birkenhead did enough to maintain their lead for the remaining hour and already look serious contenders for the title.
Bay Olympic honoured the late Ian Ormond at the game, hosting friends and family of the New Zealand international who died last October.
Navy Blues snare late point at Hamilton
A goal by Auckland City’s Joe Lee kept the side’s unbeaten record intact through a 1-1 draw with Hamilton Wanderers at Porritt Stadium.
City had the first real chance of the game when Reid Drake forced Wanderers ‘keeper Matt Oliver into a point blank save in the 12th minute.
After a scoreless first half, Wanderers took the lead in the 56th minute when Derek Tieku headed home from a corner.
With three minutes left, City’s Lee struck from long range to bring the sides level.
Angus Kilkolly almost secured all three points for City with a header that went close in the last minute of normal time.
After the game, Auckland City coach Albert Riera told his club’s official website:
“You always know what you’re going to get when you come to Hamilton – it’s always very hard, they always compete hard.
“In the first half, we played a fantastic game and created a lot of clearcut chances similar to what happened last weekend.
“I told the players if we don’t punish Hamilton Wanderers they could create something from a set piece and that happened.
“But I thought for the vast majority of the game we dominated, created a lot but today was an example of how important it is to put the ball in the net.”
Shore seal first win of season
After struggling in their opening two games this season, North Shore United found their winning way with a 2-0 victory against Manukau United at Allen Hill Stadium.
Shore took the initiative early and almost scored in the 8th minute when Andrew Abba struck a volley from outside the box against the crossbar.
After 32 minutes, Harry Lissington gave Shore the lead with a left-footed shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner.
Just before half-time, Shore goalkeeper Silvio Rodic made an important save from a Manukau United free kick taken outside the area.
The sides went into the break with Shore 1-0 up.
That’s how the score remained until the last minute of play when Abba made sure of the win.
Island paradise for resurgent Suburbs
Eastern Suburbs recovered from their poor start to the season with a 3-1 win at Waiheke Island
But for an hour, Hoani Edwards’ Lilywhites looked in danger of conceding their third successive loss.
Waiheke took the lead after 36 minutes at Onetangi through an own goal credited to Suburbs’ Jackson Jarvie.
That’s how the score remained till Rhys Davis found an equaliser for Suburbs in the 64th minute.
Substitutions worked well for Suburbs as Noah Tomlinson came off the bench to put his side 2-1 ahead in the 76th minute.
Another sub, Michael Built, made it 3-1 in the 83rd minute to wrap up the points.
Auckland United stay with leaders; Springs slump again
Auckland United stay in the league’s top four after a 2-1 win against Western Springs at Keith Hay Park.
Ryusei Ishibashi put United ahead in the 10th minute after latching onto a corner.
Kayne Vincent threatened to level in the 41st minute when he was ruled offside.
After turning around with United leading 1-0, the home side doubled their lead in the 55th minute through Andrew Blake.
Dayne Schnell pulled back a goal for Springs on the hour and despite using three subs for the last 10 minutes, coach Chris Zoricich could not quite find a way to share the points.
The result leaves United in third spot while Springs remain winless, one place off the bottom of the table.
Dowling celebrates return to Melville with game-winning effort
Returning player Stafford Dowling grabbed the winner for Melville United to give the Hamilton club their first win of the season, beating Takapuna 1-0 away.
The 23-year-old, who re-signed with Melville last month after a couple of seasons with Eastern Suburbs, scored the only goal of the game in the 23rd minute.
Named player of the day, it was Dowling’s first goal for Melville since June 2018 when he scored in a 4-3 Chatham Cup win at Ellerslie, according to the club’s Twitter account.
Melville’s win means Western Springs and Waiheke Island are the league’s only teams without a win.
Here’s the stream of the full game between Takapuna and Melville United:
Results of games played on Saturday April 9, 2022
Auckland United 2 (Ryusei Ishibashi 10′, Andrew Blake 55′)
Western Springs 1 (Dane Schnell 60′)
Bay Olympic 0
Birkenhead United 1 (Sam Burfoot 8′)
Hamilton Wanderers 1 (Derek Tieku 56′)
Auckland City 1 (Joe Lee 87′)
North Shore United 2 (Harry Lissington 32′, Andrew Abba 90′)
Manukau United 0
Melville United 1 (Stafford Dowling 23′)
Waiheke United 1 (Own goal Jackson Jarvie 36′)
Eastern Suburbs 3 (Rhys Davis 64′, Noah Tomlinson 76′, Michael Built 83′)