Bucklands Beach have slipped two points clear of the chasing bunch in the Lotto NRFL second division after a day in which smart substitutions and red cards all became factors in deciding games.
Only Bucklands Beach and Franklin United made use of home advantage for wins as Northland and West Auckland both secured wins on the road.
Here’s our round-up of games from the third round of competition:
Two-goal Latimer fires Bucklands Beach to win against 10-man Coast
Bucklands Beach striker Sean Latimer confirmed his status as the division’s deadliest goalscorer as he fired his side to a 3-1 win against Hibiscus Coast as Lloyd Elsmore Park.
Latimer extended his lead in the Golden Boot with two more goals, taking his tally to seven in three games.
He opened the scoring for Bucklands Beach in the 31st minute, and that’s how the sides went into the break.
Four minutes into the second half, Latimer doubled the lead.
Coast were not helped when Conor Felstead was red-carded by referee Aaron Day in the 67th minute for using foul and abusive language.
Within a few minutes, Kwanhuyn Hong extended Bucklands Beach’s lead to 3-0.
To their credit, Coast did not cave in and they scored a consolation goal in added time through Adam Dickinson, enabling him to maintain his record of having scored in every round of competition so far.
Franklin find form with rapid-fire start against Rovers
Franklin United broke through for their first win of the season with a rapid-fire first half which left previously unbeaten Claudelands Rovers reeling at 4-0.
The final result was 4-1 to Franklin but the damage was done early.
The home side clearly enjoyed their switch of venue to the 12,000-seater Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe.
They went ahead in the fourth minute through Chris Abbott.
Abbott, who has returned to United after a couple of seasons with stints at South Auckland Rangers and Tuakau, scored his second goal in the 12th minute, giving him four for the season so far.
Match programme: Click on cover to read Franklin United’s programme.
Rovers were on the back foot and were set to regroup at half-time when the game went beyond their reach.
Tim Richardson scored in the 44th minute, getting first to a header from a freekick.
As the half went into added time, Franklin were awarded a penalty. Richardson stepped up and slotted it for his second goal in three minutes.
At 4-0 down, Rovers faced an uphill task but they came out fighting, reducing the deficit to 4-1 in the 47th minute through Thomas Mouncher who bundled the ball into the net from a corner.
That’s how the score stayed. No doubt Franklin will be looking fondly for more games at the big stadium.
Main photo: Chris Abbott … has scored four goals already this season. File photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Northland move into third spot after win at Oratia
Oratia United remain in search of their first league point of the season after Northland overpowered them 3-1 at Parrs Park.
Northland took the lead through Reuben Nicholl in the 8th minute, after an assist by Mitchell Hanmore.
Oratia levelled after 20 minutes when Mark Withers scored his fifth goal of the season.
But the visitors bounced back, going ahead 2-1 through captain Mikael Munday who headed home a corner.
That’s how the teams turned around and they knuckled down for a competitive second half.
The crucial goal came almost on the hour when Hanmore found the net for Northland who move into third spot on the table after the win.
Substitute Marden salvages point for Ngaruawahia
Two goals by substitute Jack Marden salvaged a point for Ngaruawahia United after Beachlands Maraetai threatened to take home the points despite playing with 10 men for most of the match.
The Aucklanders took the lead in the 9th minute through Jamie Birch but they lost Brock Kayll to a straight red in the 18th minute.
Kayll was judged by referee Robbie Maris to have prevented a goalscoring opportunity.
Despite being outnumbered, Beachlands Maraetai defended well and went into half-time at Centennial Park with a 1-0 lead.
Match programme: Click on cover to read Ngaruawahia United’s match programme.
Ten minutes into the second half, Ngaruawahia coach Kyle Park brought Marden off the bench and it didn’t take long for the switch to pay dividends.
Marden, who joined United from local rivals Claudelands Rovers this season, levelled in the 66th minute.
The visitors then restored their lead through substitute Caid Szopa in the 75th minute.
But Marden was not done. He equalised again with five minutes remaining to ensure the Green Machine took a point and kept their unbeaten run intact.
Strong finish seals 3-0 win for West Auckland
Cambridge remain winless after newly-promoted West Auckland finished strongly to win 3-0 at John Kerkhof Park.
The Aucklanders took the lead through captain Gordon Riddoch after 21 minutes and they took that lead into the dressing rooms at half-time.
In the second half, both sets of coaches worked their benches, introducing four fresh players during the half.
West Auckland sub Anthony Lockton, formerly with Glen Eden United and Oratia United, doubled the visitors’ lead in the 80th minute.
West Auckland added their third in added time through Haylen West.
Match programme: Click on cover to read Cambridge’s match programme.
Games played Saturday April 30, 2022.
Franklin United 4 (Chris Abbott 4′, 12′, Tim Richardson 44′, 45+2′ pen)
Claudelands Rovers 1 (Thomas Mouncher 47′)
Ngaruawahia United 2 (Jack Marden 66′, 85′)
Beachlands Maraetai 2 (Jamie Birch 9′, Caid Szopa 75′)
Oratia United 1 (Mark Withers 20′)
Northland 3 (Reuben Nicholl 8′, Mikael Munday 24′, Mitchell Hanmore 59′)
West Auckland 3 (Gordon Riddoch 21′, Anthony Lockton 80′, Haylen West 90+1′)
Bucklands Beach 3 (Sean Latimer 31′, 49′, Kwanhyun Hong 73′)
Hibiscus Coast 1 (Adam Dickinson 90+1′)
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