West Coast Rangers are proving that strong defence wins games — the Chad Coombes-coached side have won their fourth game in a row by a 1-0 margin.
Their latest victory pushes the side five points clear at the top of the Lotto NRFL first division.
Here’s our round-up of games from round six:
It’s 410 minutes since Rangers last conceded a goal
West Coast Rangers’ veteran goalkeeper Matthew Upton has kept his fourth clean sheet in a row to help his side stay at the top of the division.
The former Western Springs ‘keeper, now 33, has now gone 410 minutes since last conceding a goal.
Upton and his fellow defenders helped Rangers beat Manurewa 1-0 in their latest competition game, a win that maintains the side’s 100% winning start to the season.
It was their fourth 1-0 win in succession, proof that you only need to score once if your defence stops the other lot from finding the net.
This time it was Daniel McDowall who got the deciding goal, six minutes after the start.
From there, Upton and the solid Rangers rearguard earned the points as they kept ‘Rewa scoreless.
Main photo: Matthew Upton … four clean sheets. File photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Footnote: Puzzled who last scored against Rangers? It was Fencibles United who scored twice through Josh Harford in the 4-2 game on April 5.
Mountain Men maintain their pursuit of league leaders
Onehunga Mangere United kept up their chase of the division’s leaders with a 2-1 win against Mount Albert Ponsonby.
All the goals came in the last half-hour and MAP finished the game with 10 men when Marshall Gurney was given a straight red by referee Hayden Tutbury for a bad tackle.
After a scoreless first half, Onehunga coach Paul Marshall brought on sub Darcy Knight and within five minutes, the replacement had given his side the lead on Mangere Mountain.
In the 76th minute, Osman Rastagar doubled United’s lead.
Despite the sending off of Gurney, MAP kept pushing forward late and were rewarded with a consolation goal by Aaron Martin five minutes into added time.
Five-goal Ponies punish 10-man Albany
Ellerslie returned to winning form with an emphatic 5-1 win against bottom-placed Albany United at Michaels Avenue.
The Ponies raced to a 3-1 lead by half-time and were then helped by United losing defender Thomas Davis to a second yellow card.
Out-of-sorts Albany started well enough, taking the lead in the 8th minute through Thomson Nkoy.
Hazem Alfayad levelled for Ellerslie after 17 minutes.
Rowan Corbett gave the home side the lead five minutes before half-time and then referee Riley Greenbury awarded the Ponies a penalty as the interval beckoned.
Tom Durkin converted from the spot to put Ellerslie in the box seat.
Just after the hour, Albany went to 10 men, and it was only a matter of time before more goals came.
Substitute Allan McBride scored Ellerslie’s fourth goal in the 71st minute and a few minutes later, Corbett added his second.
The 5-1 victory was a fitting way for first team captain Seb Poelman to celebrate his 100th game for the club.
Tauranga making most of home advantage as they bowl Bays
Barry Gardiner’s side remain in second place on the table after picking up their fourth win of the campaign.
The Bay side went ahead in the ninth minute through Colby Brennan and that’s how the sides turned around.
The match went Tauranga’s way when referee Chris Trent awarded the home side a penalty in the 51st minute, and Ry McLeod made it 2-0.
Four minutes later, McLeod scored his second of the day and the damage was done as far as Bays were concerned.
Match programme: click on cover to read Tauranga’s match programme.
Games played Saturday April 23, 2022
West Coast Rangers 1 (Daniel McDowall 6′)
Tauranga City 3 (Colby Brennan 9′, Ry McLeod 51′ pen, 55′)
East Coast Bays 0
Onehunga Mangere United 2 (Darcy Knight 64′, Osman Rastagar 76′)
Mt Albert Ponsonby 1 (Aaron Martin 90+5′)
Ellerslie 5 (Hazem Alfayad 22′, Rowan Corbett 40′, 75′, Tom Durkin 45+1′ pen, Allan McBride 71′)
Albany United 1 (Thomson Nkoy 8′)
Game played Friday April 22, 2022
Fencibles United 1 (Sione Fa’apoi 35′)
Game rescheduled to May 11
Northern Rovers P