Home team supporters had a grim start to the new Lotto NRFL second division season as travelling teams almost completed a full sweep of opening day victories.
Only Northland managed a win at home as Hibiscus Coast, Claudelands Rovers, Bucklands Beach and Ngaruawahia United record wins.
Here’s our round-up from opening day:
Dickinson hat-trick fires Coast to 5-1 win at Cambridge
A first-half hat-trick by veteran striker Adam Dickinson was enough to ensure Hibiscus Coast took maximum points in their opening game, a trip to Cambridge’s John Kerkhof Park.
The 35-year-old, who went to four FIFA Club World Cups with Auckland City, showed he has retained his killer instinct since joining Coast as their Director of Football late last year.
It took only two minutes for him to open his account, scoring when Cambridge failed to clear a corner.
He doubled his side’s lead after 10 minutes and at that stage, it looked as though the contest was all but over.
Instead, Cambridge rallied and had Coast back-pedalling for much of the half, and the home side were rewarded in the 35th minute when striker Josh Clarkin scored from the penalty spot.
As the game headed for half-time, Dickinson got clear again and clipped the ball past Cambridge goalkeeper Fraser Nicholls to make it 3-1.
Nicholls suffered a bad head injury when attempting the save and was substituted at half time.
Having put his side into a winning position, Dickinson came off at the break, having picked up an injury when scoring his third goal.
In the second half Conor Felstead increased Coast’s lead to 4-1 in the 65th minute before Julian Stevenson finished the game off with a goal in the 72nd minute.
Main photo: Cambridge’s Josh Clarkin tries to get onto a cross into the Hibiscus Coast box.
Bucklands Beach repel Franklin’s second-half rally to win 3-2
Franklin United refused to lie down when trailing Bucklands Beach 2-0 at half-time and provided a nerve-jangling finish for spectators at Pukekohe’s Navigation Homes Stadium.
United fought back and eventually went down 3-2 to the visitors in their opening day encounter.
Bucklands Beach started best, taking the lead through Sean Latimer in the 22nd minute.
Carl Burgoyne added the side’s second goal after 35 minutes, sending the teams into the break with Bucklands Beach good for their 2-0 lead.
But Franklin came out firing in the second half and immediately pulled back a goal through Dillon Lazarus.
Bucklands Beach responded in the 50th minute when captain Joshua Smith stretched his team’s lead to 3-1.
United then found a goal through Tim Richardson, setting up a tense final 10 minutes as Bucklands Beach defended their lead.
Bucklands Beach Player of the Day was Tamaho Perry.
Webster double delivers the points for Rovers
Claudelands Rovers’ skipper Bailey Webster inspired the Hamilton side to a 3-2 win at Oratia United to get their season off to a winning start.
Andy Kapteyn gave Oratia an early lead at Parrs Park, striking in the fourth minute with a header from close range.
Webster levelled in the 19th minute after capitalising on a cross from Henry Thompson.
A Mark Withers header put Oratia in front again with a goal after 32 minutes.
The sides turned around with ‘Tia leading 2-1 but Webster scored his second goal within a minute of the restart. He latched onto a long ball and dashed past two defenders before smashing the ball home.
The teams knuckled down to see who would crack. Rovers’ goalkeeper Andrew Gibbs made an important double save.
The winner came in the 72nd minute when Rovers’ Henry Thompson struck his shot low and into the far corner of the Otaria goal.
Webster almost completed a hat-trick, heading against the crossbar from a free kick in added time.
Green Machine celebrates NRFL return with win
Ngaruawahia United won the clash of the division’s two promoted sides, scoring goals at each end of the match to beat West Auckland 2-0.
With former Auckland City midfielder Mario Bilen making his debut for Ngaruawahia, the Waikato side needed only eight minutes to herald their return to the competition with Alfie Cole getting on the scoresheet.
The teams went into half-time with Ngaruawahia leading 1-0 at Brains Park.
The second half started with a string of yellow cards — three to each side in a 13-minute spell — as the teams anxiously sought to start the season with maximum points.
Second half substitute Federico Marquez put the result beyond doubt, scoring Ngaruawahia’s second goal in the 86th minute.
Northland make statement with strong win at home
Friends of Football readers have been picking Northland to struggle this season (see our readers’ poll here) but the sky blues were having none of that, beating Beachlands Maraetai 4-1 at Tikipunga Park.
Northland were the only team to win at home on division two’s opening day, and maybe that’s a sign they will gain an advantage against travelling teams.
Mitchell Hanmore gave Northland the lead after 15 minutes, and that was the only score in the half.
The home side came out pumping in the second spell and quickly extended their lead to 4-0.
Geoffrey Zwaneveld scored from a free kick that sailed through a crowded area (53′), Finn Diamond scored from an assist by skipper Mikael Munday (61′) and Reuben Nicholl round the ‘keeper to tap the ball home (65’).
Substitute William South reduced the lead to 4-1, scoring for Beachlands Maraetai in the 78th minute after he followed up a save by Northland’s Alfie Thomas-Close.
Results of games played on Saturday April 16, 2022
Cambridge 1 (Josh Clarkin 35′ pen)
Hibiscus Coast 5 (Adam Dickinson 2′, 10′, 42′, Conor Felstead 65′, Julian Stevenson 72′)
Franklin United 2 (Dillon Lazarus 46′, Tim Richardson 78′)
Bucklands Beach 3 (Sean Latimer 22′, Carl Burgoyne 35′, Joshua Smith 50′)
Northland 4 (Mitchell Hanmore 15′, Geoffrey Zwaneveld 53′, Finn Diamond 61′. Reuben Nicholl 65′)
Beachlands Maraetai 1 (William South 78′)
Oratia United 2 (Andy Kapteyn 4′, Mark Withers 32′)
Claudelands Rovers 3 (Bailey Webster 19′, 46′, Henry Thompson 72′)
West Auckland 0
Ngaruawahia United 2 (Alfie Cole 8′, Federico Marquez 86′)