A dramatic end to the game between Northern Rovers and West Coast Rangers cut the gap at the top of the Lotto NRFL first division.
Meanwhile, the division’s wildcards, Ellerslie, pulled off a 4-2 win despite being reduced to 10 men.
Here’s our round-up of round eight:
Rovers sink league leaders with winner eight minutes into added time
Teenage substitute Leo Harbottle (main photo) scored the winner eight minutes into added time as Northern Rovers inflicted the first defeat of the season on Lotto NRFL first division leaders West Coast Rangers.
Rangers went into the match at Becroft Park on the back of six consecutive wins and four successive clean sheets.
But they conceded the first goal of the match four minutes before half-time when captain Jack Caunter put Rovers ahead.
It was the first time in 452 minutes that Rangers needed to recover the ball from their own net.
The sides turned around with the score 1-0 and Rangers worked to find a way back into the game,
With a quarter of an hour to go, experienced goalscorer Allan Pearce levelled the score with his fourth goal of the campaign.
When the game went into added time, it looked likely the points would be shared.
But Rovers’ Harbottle (17) had other ideas. He had come off the bench as a second-half replacement and his goal not only consigned Rangers to defeat, it made sure Rovers moved into mid-table and away from the division’s relegation zone.
10-man Ellerslie climb to third with win against Fencibles
There are no in-betweens with this season’s Ellerslie — they are just as capable of winning big as they are vulnerable to losing games within their reach.
The division’s most unpredictable side raced to a 3-0 lead, went down to 10 men but still came out 4-2 victors against Fencibles United.
The Ponies struck first blood through Ermal Fusha in the 26th minute.
Five minutes later, Conrad Benefield — who had already picked up a yellow card — doubled Ellerslie’s lead.
And as the half-time break approached, Rowant Corbett extended Ellerslie’s lead to 3-0.
The second half should have been a stroll.
Instead, Fencibles fought their way back into the game with a 62nd-minute goal from Matthew Hodgson.
Ellerslie captain Seb Poelman restored the three-goal lead with a goal in the 70th minute.
Benefield was then shown his second yellow by referee Andres Castro, for a second reckless foul, and the goalscorer was marched with 15 minutes remaining.
The Ponies defended well, holding out United until added time when the home side’s captain, Sione Fa’apoi, scored his second of the season.
Tauranga stay second with scoreless draw against Waitemata
With West Coast Rangers losing, the goalless draw between Tauranga City and Waitemata was not the worst result for either side.
The Bay side moved to within a point of the league leaders, though Rangers have a game in hand, while the point prevented Waitemata going into Saturday night as the division’s bottom side.
New signing salvages point for Mt Albert Ponsonby
A late goal from new signing Bradley Rathbun rescued a point for Mt Albert Ponsonby as they drew 2-2 with Albany United at Rosedale Park.
The visitors had taken the lead 29 minutes into the first half through Federico Bono.
MAP’s lead lasted only two minutes as Albany stormed back to level through Finn Smith.
The teams went into half-time 1-1.
Thomson Nkoy put Albany 2-1 ahead in the 72nd minute with his second goal of the season.
So far this season, MAP have shown a tendency to ship late goals and drop points. In this game, they did the reverse, finding a late equaliser through Rathburn.
Rathbun (28) moved to MAP from Metro FC only a fortnight ago and his contribution so far has been two cameo roles off the bench.
Against Albany, he came off the bench in the 80th minute and found the net in the 86th minute.
The result left Rathbun’s former club at the foot of the table.
Under the Friday night floodlights at Phyllis St, home side Metro ground out a 1-0 win against East Coast Bays, thanks to a goal from recent signing Jaydyn Englefield.
He scored the matchwinner in the 24th minute after he was put through by Brooklyn Heath who had latched onto a long ball from goalkeeper Jack Marshall.
The win provided valuable points for Metro who have struggled in the early stages of the season.
Match programme: Click on the cover to download a PDF of the Metro match programme.
Games played weekend of May 6-7, 2022
Metro 1 (Jaydyn Englefield 24′)
East Coast Bays 0
Tauranga City 0
Northern Rovers 2 (Jack Caunter 41′, Leo Harbottle 90+8′)
West Coast Rangers 1 (Allan Pearce 75′)
Albany United 2 (Finn Smith 31′, Thomson Nkoy 72′)
Mt Albert Ponsonby 2 (Federico Bono 29′, Bradley Rathbun 86′)
Fencibles United 2 (Matthew Hodgson 62′, Sione Fa’apoi 90+2′)
Ellerslie 4 (Ermal Fusha 26′, Conrad Benefield 31′, Rowan Corbett 39′, Seb Poelman 70′)
Onehunga Mangere United P
Game to be rescheduled
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