East Coast Bays and Manurewa have overcome slow starts to their season to show their true form with big Easter Monday wins.
Meanwhile, West Coast Rangers just keep winning — the only team to remain unbeaten in the Lotto NRFL first division after five rounds.
Here’s our round-up of Easter Monday games:
Rangers march on with 1-0 win against MAP
Chad Coombes’ West Coast Rangers have quickly built a five-point lead at the top of the Lotto NRFL first division, having won all five of their games so far.
Their latest win came at the expense of Mount Albert Ponsonby who have developed a habit of starting well and then losing or drawing games with the second half displays.
Monday’s game went to the script.
The teams were locked 0-0 at half-time and coach Coombes poured on the pressure with a triple substitution on the hour.
In the 74th minute, MAP wilted under the pressure, enabling left winger Kofi Dwamena to score his third goal of the season, a goal that turned out to be the matchwinner.
Dwamena (24) joined Rangers from Manukau United and has Northern League experience with Eastern Suburbs and Onehunga Sports.
Rangers are setting a hot pace in the division, clearly intent on winning promotion and a return to the Northern League.
Baker hat-trick inspires big win by Bays
Judd Baker’s happy reunion with East Coast Bays continues with a second-half hat-trick that led the way for a 5-0 drubbing of Albany United at Rosedale Park.
Baker (25) scored the only goal of the game in Bays’ Good Friday win over Onehunga Mangere United, after he had re-signed for the club following a couple of seasons with Birkenhead United.
Against Albany on Monday, the former New Zealand U-20 striker let loose after the teams turned around at 0-0.
He struck the opener from the penalty spot in the 54th minute before quickly completing his hat-trick with goals in the 65th and 70th minutes.
Three minutes later, Liam Anderson made it 4-0 before he and Baker were subbed off with the result all-but-assured.
Substitute Keegan Kelly scored Bays’ fifth goal two minutes from time to end an underwhelming day for Albany United who have quickly shifted from one of the division’s pre-season title favourites to bottom place on the table.
Mountain Men overpower Waitemata with electric start
Onehunga Mangere United won their game against Waitemata through a super-quick start, going two goals ahead before Waitemata had mentally kicked off.
Scott Lewis put United 1-0 after only five minutes of the game on Mangere Domain, and Maksim Manko added a second only three minutes later.
Stunned, Waitemata faced a mountain to climb — literally.
And their job got no easier when last year’s division two top goalscorer Gilberto Souza added a third goal to establish a 3-0 margin by half-time.
Waitemata’s coach Hamish Mackay reset the plan at half-time, bringing three substitutes for the restart.
The visitors showed some resilience but could make no headway until substitute Jarrod Gardon reduced the deficit with a goal in the 79th minute.
Mangere’s Osman Rastagar sealed the victory with his side’s fourth goal a minute from the final whistle.
Carpenter and Quinlan get Rovers home with goal apiece
A goal either side of half-time was enough to gain Northern Rovers a win against Ellerslie at Becroft Park.
Kris Carpenter, who joined Rovers this season after playing for North Shore United and Sunday League football last season, scored the game’s opening goal a minute before the interval.
Almost immediately after the restart, Jason Quinlan doubled Rovers’ lead and that’s how it stayed till full-time despite efforts by Ellerslie whose coach Ben Fletcher rang the changes from the dugout, making five second-half substitutions.
Match programme: Click on the cover to read Northern Rovers’ match programme.
Manurewa start to hit their straps with 4-0 win
It’s taken a while for coach Rhys Ruka to get the best from his squad this season which features a number of new signings.
But they gelled in this 4-0 win against Fencibles United at Riverhills Park.
All four goals were scored by new signings.
The first came from 22-year-old Argentinian Nicolas Bobadilla in the 22nd minute. He joined ‘Rewa in the close season after being with Bay Olympic and Manukau United last term.
The teams turned around with Manurewa 1-0 up.
Bobadilla scored his second in the 51st minute and that seemed to open up the Fencibles side as they quickly conceded a third goal.
That was scored by All Whites striker Monty Patterson, a summer signing from Auckland United.
Finishing off the scoring, with a goal in the 65th minute, was veteran striker Horace James who was facing one of his former clubs. He joined ‘Rewa from North Shore United.
The result is an indication that Manurewa, after a slow start, will be among the contenders for the division’s title.
Defence comes first for Tauranga and Metro
Tauranga City and Metro played out a scoreless draw at Links Ave and both sets of coaches will take comfort that they took home clean sheets.
For Tauranga coach Barry Gardiner, the draw kept his side in second place on the table, having conceded only six goals in their five games — a record bettered only by table toppers West Coast Rangers.
For the Metro coaching duo of Nathan Christie and Danyon Drake, the clean sheet stopped the early season rot that has seen the side struggle and leaves them second bottom in the division.
Match programme: Click on cover to read Tauranga City’s match programme.
After five rounds, few would have predicted the bottom three sides in the competition would be MAP, Metro and Albany United.
There’s every chance that teams will have spurts of form this season, confirming expectations that this is an extremely competitive division.
Results of games played on Monday April 18, 2022
Albany United 0
East Coast Bays 5 (Judd Baker 54′ pen, 65′, 70′, Liam Anderson 73′, Keegan Kelly 88′)
Fencibles United 0
Manurewa 4 (Nicolas Bobadilla 22′, 51, Monty Patterson 55′, Horace James 65′)
Northern Rovers 2 (Kris Carpenter 44′, Jason Quinland 48′)
Onehunga Mangere United 4 (Scott Lewis 5′, Maksim Manko 8′, Gilberto Souza 34′, Osman Rastagar 89′)
Waitemata 1 (Jarrod Gordon 79′)
Tauranga City 0
West Coast Rangers 1 (Kofi Dwamena 74′)
Mount Albert Ponsonby 0