Bucklands Beach have emerged as the early pacesetter in the Lotto NRFL second division after a 7-1 thrashing of Beachlands Maraetai.
They and three other teams — Hibiscus Coast, promoted Ngaruawahia United and Claudelands Rovers — all have 100% winning records after two rounds of competition.
Here’s our round-up of round two:
Four-goal Latimer inspires big win for early leaders
Striker Sean Latimer led the way with four goals in Bucklands Beach 7-1 rout of Beachlands Maraetai at Rogers Park.
The 28-year-old Latimer has a goalscoring pedigree, having turned out for Fencibles United, North Shore United and for Cook Island’s club Tupapa Maraerenga in the OFC Champions League.
And after only two weeks in the second division — he scored last weekend too — Latimer is already shaping as a Golden Boot contender.
Junho Hong opened the scoring for Bucklands Beach in the 20th minute but Latimer doubled their lead four minutes later.
He added another just before half-time so the sides turned around with the home side 3-0 up.
Latimer completed his hat-trick five minutes after the break.
Beachlands Maraetai reduced the deficit to 4-1 when Carl Burgoyne put through his own net.
Bucklands Beach substitute Sander Waterland made restored the margin with a goal in the 66th minute before Latimer rounded off his four-goal demolition with a goal in the 72nd minute.
Waterland added another in just before the final whistle to leave Bucklands Beach top of the competition on goal difference.
Beachlands Maraetai are at the foot of the table and have conceded 11 goals in their two games.
Main photo: Sean Latimer … five goals in two weeks. File photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Coast fight back to overhaul 10-man Franklin
A second-half sending off scuppered Franklin United hopes of a result against Hibiscus Coast who came from behind to beat the south Aucklanders 3-2.
Franklin had taken a 1-0 lead into half-time, thanks to a goal by Christopher Abbott in the dying moments of the half.
Conor Felstead levelled 10 minutes into the second spell.
Almost immediately, Abbott scored his second goal to restore the lead for the visitors.
However, Franklin’s Christopher Brett picked up a second yellow in the 67th minute to leave his team a man short, and facing a penalty which was slotted by Coast’s veteran striker Adam Dickinson.
Coast gradually made Franklin pay and Julian Stevenson scored the matchwinner in the 84th minute, his second goal of this year’s campaign.
Ngaruawahia survive second-half comeback to beat Northland
Spectators got plenty of excitement at Whangarei’s Trigg Arena where Northland could not quite pull off a second half fightback to contain promoted Waikato side Ngaruawahia United.
The visitors had taken a 3-0 half-time lead but Northland quickly got back in the game to set up a tense and exciting last half-hour.
The game began as if Ngaruawahia were going to romp through the game.
Alfie Cole put the Green Machine ahead in the 19th minute, curling a shot from the edge of the area into the bottom corner.
Northland’s Mitch Hanmore was ruled offside after netting in the 25th minute.
Ngaruawahia striker Jack Connor, a prolific scorer in last season’s WaiBOP Premiership title campaign, found his side’s second goal after 27 minutes, from a corner.
Five minutes later, Tawhirimatea Ball made it 3-0 and it looked like game over.
However, Michal Walesiak’s Northland team came out steaming and Finn Diamond (54′) and Joel Crawford (55′) turned the game around in a couple of minutes. Diamond hit a screamer from 30 metres, while Crawford reacted quickest to a loose ball in the box.
Walesiak used his bench and the home side tried to wear down United, but to no avail.
Ngaruawahia are looking more than at home in this division.
Division’s new boys win seven-goal thriller
West Auckland won their first game since promotion and did so in thrilling fashion as they overcame local rivals Oratia United 4-3 at Brains Park.
The match got off to a roaring start with goals in a frantic first half-hour.
Oratia’s Mark Withers opened the scoring in the 9th minute.
Two minutes later, West Auckland’s Matthew Hearn levelled. And then Hearn scored another, in the 18th minute, to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
Withers grabbed his second goal in the 22nd minute, to make it 2-2, and then he completed a rapid-fire hat-trick, netting from the penalty spot in the 28th minute.
With the game barely a third over, it was 3-2 to Oratia and chances were begging.
Stewart Mackay levelled for West Auckland before half-time to send the teams into the interval at 3-3, ready to gather their breath.
The second half was more restrained, though Mackay found the matchwinner in the 55th minute, giving West Auckland fans the chance to celebrate their first victory since winning promotion as last year’s NRF Conference champions.
A contender for the season’s fastest red card in Waikato derby
Claudelands Rovers midfielder Levi Clark scored against his old club Cambridge in the opening minute of the Waikato derby, helping his side win 2-1 at Galloway Park.
Clark’s goal was quickly nullified when Anton Ganas, an 18-year-old signed from Matamata Swifts, levelled after seven minutes.
That’s how it stayed till half-time.
Within three minutes of the restart, Rovers went ahead when Cambridge defender Jack Portegys put through his own net.
Rovers did not help their cause when substitute Inga Matiwane came on in the 76th minute only to be given a straight red by referee Andres Castro in the 78th minute for a serious foul.
Despite being down a man, Rovers held onto their lead to take their record to two wins from two games.
Games played Saturday April 23, 2022
Claudelands Rovers 2 (Levi Clark 1′, own goal 48′)
Cambridge 1 (Anton Ganas 7′)
Northland 2 (Finn Diamond 54′, Joel Crawford 55′)
Ngaruawahia United 3 (Alfie Cole 19′, Jack Connor 27′, Tawhirimatea Ball 32′)
Hibiscus Coast 3 (Conor Felstead 56′, Adam Dickinson 67′ pen, Julian Stevenson 84′)
Franklin United 2 (Christopher Abbott 45+1′, 57′)
West Auckland 4 (Matthew Hearn 11′, 18′, Stewart Mackay 40′, 55′)
Oratia United 3 (Mark Withers 9′, 22′, 28′ pen)
Bucklands Beach 7 (Junho Hong 20′, Sean Latimer 24′, 41′, 50′, 72′, Sander Waterland 66′, 90+2′)
Beachlands Maraetai 1 (own goal)