All six Good Friday games in the Lotto NRFL first division were decided by one-goal margins as pre-season predictions of a tight competition start to look increasingly valid.
While the Chad Coombes-coached West Coast Rangers have taken a clear lead after four rounds, the rest of the division are showing that any side is capable of winning on their day.
Going into Easter, Metro, Manurewa and East Coast Bays propped up the table — but all claimed narrow wins in a day where goals were scarce.
Rangers jump clear with win at Ellerslie
West Coast Rangers increased their lead at the top of the table with a 1-0 win at Ellerlise’s Michaels Ave.
The deciding goal, in the 19th minute, came from Kofi Dwamena who joined Rangers from Manukau United for the new season.
The result gave Ellerslie their first loss of the season while Rangers are now the only unbeaten side in the competition, showing a perfect record after four rounds.
Match programme: Click on the cover to read Ellerslie’s matchday magazine, The Ave.
Resurgent ‘Rewa spoil Tauranga’s winning start to the season
An improving Manurewa side ended Tauranga City’s winning start to the season with a 2-1 win at Jellicoe Park.
The Bay of Plenty side had arrived for the game as league leaders, with three wins from as many games.
But the South Aucklanders showed confidence with a victory secured with goals on either side of half-time.
The first came from Dylan Horgan as the teams anticipated the half-time whistle, a crucial time for Rewa to take the lead.
In the second half, Nicolas Bobadilla doubled the Manurewa lead with a goal on the hour.
The home side defence held firm as the team managed the final stages of the match but Tauranga still managed a consolation goal in added time through substitute Jordi Langton.
Match programme: Click on the cover to read Manurewa’s match programme.
Fencibles’ Harford continues goalscoring run with winner
The clash between Fencibles United and Albany United was billed as a shoot-out between the division’s top two goalscorers — and so it played out as striker Josh Harford scored the only goal of the game to give Fenciles a 1-0 victory.
The sides were locked 0-0 throughout the first half.
When they turned around, it was Harford who delivered the goods with the matchwinner in the 77th minute.
It was his fifth goal in three outings and no sooner had he finished celebrating, he was subbed off, possibly with Monday’s game against Manurewa in mind.
Albany’s top scorer Jack Beguely also left the pitch early, replaced after 54′.
Kochasira gets winner for Waitemata with 10 minutes to go
Waitemata’s Arnold Kochasira scored the winner in a 2-1 victory at McLeod Park to further frustrate Mt Albert Ponsonby who continue to leak goals late in their games.
The home side had taken the lead in the 21st minute through Axel Andersson and that’s how the score stayed at half-time.
MAP found an equaliser through Thomas Picken in the 57th minute.
But Kochasira clinched the Waitemata win with his vital goal with ten minutes to go.
The game was marred by seven yellow cards, four to the home side and three to MAP players.
New signing Baker grabs winner for East Coast Bays
Baker (25) re-joined Bays last month after a couple of seasons with Birkenhead and his goal prevented Bays from going into the rest of Easter as the bottom-placed team in the competition.
He scored in the 27th minute to create a lead his side maintained till the final whistle.
Match programme: Click on the cover to read East Coast Bays’ match programme.
Main photo: Judd … returned to Bays this season. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Penalty enough to give Metro first win of the season
A penalty by Jaydn Englefield was enough for Metro to take all three points against Northern Rovers at Phyllis Street Reserve.
The goal came in the 20th minute after referee Brandon Day pointed to the spot.
For the next 70 minutes, the sides failed to find a way through and the win provided much relief to a Metro side that had lost all three of its previous games.
Results of games played on Friday April 15, 2022
East Coast Bays 1 (Judd Baker 27′)
Onehunga Mangere United 0
West Coast Rangers 1 (Kofi Dwamena 19′)
Fencibles United 1 (Josh Harford 77′)
Albany United 0
Manurewa 2 (Dylan Horgan 44′, Nicolas Bobadilla 61′)
Tauranga City 1 (Jordi Langton 90+1′)
Metro 1 (Jaydn Englefield 20′ pen)
Northern Rovers 0
Waitemata 2 (Axel Andersson 21′, Arnold Kochasira 79′)
Mt Albert Ponsonby 1 (Thomas Picken 57′)
Easter Monday fixtures
Northern Rovers v Ellerslie
McFetridge Park, Auckland, 3pm
Onehunga Mangere v Waitemata
Mangere Domain, Auckland, 3pm
West Coast Rangers v Mount Albert Ponsonby
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland, 3pm
Tauranga City v Metro
Links Ave Reserve, Tauranga, 3pm
Fencibles United v Manurewa
Riverhills Park, Auckland, 3pm
Albany United v East Coast Bays
Rosedale Park, Auckland, 3pm