Though Auckland City seem untroubled in their march to the Northern League title, nearest challengers Melville United have made it clear they’ll punish any slip-ups on the way.
While City won again — their ninth victory of the campaign — the Hamilton club extended their own winning streak to five games with a big win against lowly North Shore United.
After wins in their latest games, Melville, Birkenhead United and Auckland United are best positioned to join Auckland City as the Northern League qualifiers for the National League competition later this year.
Here’s our round-up of round 10:
Early red card leaves Suburbs with uphill battle against leaders City
Auckland City continued their march to the title with a 4-1 win against an Eastern Suburbs team reduced to 10 men for most of the match at Madills Farm.
Any Suburbs hopes of an upset against leaders City were snuffed out after only eight minutes when defender Tyler Lissette was given a straight red by referee Riley Greenbury for denying City a goalscoring opportunity.
It was Lissette’s third red card of the season — he was marched only 10 minutes into Suburbs’ game against Birkenhead United and was sent off on opening day against Takapuna.
To their credit, Suburbs held firm for half an hour before Adam Mitchell opened the scoring for the Navy Blues after 37 minutes.
Striker Ryan de Vries doubled the City lead two minutes before the break.
In the second half, Reid Drake scored in the 65th minute, stretching the lead to 3-0.
Suburbs managed to pull back a goal through captain Michael Built in the 71st minute.
However de Vries sealed the win with City’s fourth a minute from the full time whistle.
Main photo: Ryan de Vries … a double for Auckland City. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Melville extend winning streak to five with 7-1 thrashing of Shore
Melville United took apart struggling North Shore United, hammering them 7-1 in front of their own supporters at Allen Hill Stadium.
The Hamilton side were expected to win — this game was on the back of four successive victories — but the message was clear: if Auckland City slip up anytime soon, Melville will be after them in the race for the title.
Ryen Lawrence opened the scoring for Melville after 16 minutes and the visitors then benefitted from an own goal credited to Shore’s Joseph Moore.
Two-nil up at the break, Melville broke Shore’s resistance in the opening stages of the second spell.
Lawrence scored his second after 53 minutes; Braedan Quilter-Phipps netted two minutes later.
Then, top scorer Oliver Colloty made it 5-0 with his eighth goal of the season.
Harry Christensen-Rose stretched the lead to 6-0, scoring in the 70th minute.
For Shore, substitute Antonio Egusquiza-Arana dragged back a goal, scoring from the penalty spot after 75 minutes.
Melville still had time for one more, with teenage substitute Aston Hurd scoring his first goal at Northern League level as the game entered added time.
Hurd became Melville’s ninth different goalscorer of the season so far, evidence of the depth in their squad.
Lowly Waiheke give Birkenhead a fright in high-scoring spectacle
Bottom-placed Waiheke United gave Birkenhead United a bit of scare, leading them until the wheels came off with half an hour to go at Shepherd’s Park.
In the end, United won an incident-packed game 5-3 to sit third on the table, but it wasn’t easy.
Chase Taylor gave Birkenhead the lead in the 28th minute but four minutes later, the Waiheke islanders drew level through Eyob Tekalion.
With a minute of the first half remaining, Waiheke took the lead through Felix Timmins-Scanlon.
The 2-1 lead may have given hope to a side that is still without a win at the foot of the table.
But the hope disappeared in three hectic minutes as the game reached the hour mark.
Dino Botica equalised for Birkenhead after 60 minutes.
Corban Piper gave the home side the lead a minute later.
Waiheke’s Lautaro Latorre was given a straight red card by Hayden Tutbury in the 63rd minute, for violent conduct.
Nicholas Forrester extended Birkenhead’s lead to 4-2, scoring in the 71st minute.
As if that wasn’t enough, Birkenhead United coach Paul Hobson then made a rare five-player substitution, bringing on half a new outfield line-up in one go.
Waiheke managed to get a consolation goal through Nicolas Vanina, with two minutes to go.
But Birkenhead had the last say when substitute Curtis Hughes scored his team’s fifth, three minutes into added time.
Frantic finish as United pick up the points at Olympic Park
Auckland United maintained their push for a top four spot with a 4-1 win at Bay Olympic.
The final score would surprise anyone who left a couple of minutes early, with three goals scored as the game entered added time.
Josh Redfearn gave United the lead after 13 minutes and that’s how the teams turned around at half-time.
Redfearn doubled the visitors’ advantage, scoring his seventh of the season on the hour mark.
That’s how the result might have stayed until it was almost full-time. As referee Luke Gardner took the game into added time, the game burst into life with Bay Olympic scoring through captain Emmanuel Darkwa, Olympic’s Roussin Nkoy copping two yellow cards and being sent off, United’s Nicolas Zambrano scoring from the penalty spot and substitute Matthew Conroy finding time for a fourth United goal.
The game over, Bay Olympic will have time to reflect about a game in which their side collected six yellow cards.
Straffon goal enough to get Springs home against Takapuna
Video replay: Click on video panel to watch Straffon’s goal. Credit: BONTHEBALL YouTube Channel.
Dawson Straffon scored the only goal of the game to earn all three points for Western Springs against Takapuna at their temporary North Habour Stadium home.
His goal came 34 minutes into the match when defender Sebastian Stephan lofted a long past from the halfway line into the path of Straffon on the edge of the Takapuna penalty area.
Straffon beat a defender, dribbled wide of goalkeeper Liam Anderson and threaded the ball into the net from an acute angle.
Neither could break through for the rest of the game.
After conceding 14 goals from their first eight games, Springs deserve to go home with their clean sheet while Takapuna seem to be making a habit from losing close games lately.
Games played Saturday May 21, 2022
Western Springs 1 (Dawson Straffon 34′)
Eastern Suburbs 1 (Michael Built 71′)
Auckland City 4 (Adam Mitchell 37′, Ryan de Vries 43′, 89′, Reid Drake 65′)
North Shore United 1 (Antonio Egusquiza-Arana 75′ pen)
Melville United 7 (Ryen Lawrence 16′, 53′, own goal 27′, Braedan Quilter-Phipps 55′, Oliver Colloty 61′, Harry Christensen-Rose 70′, Aston Hurd 90′)
Bay Olympic 1 (Emmanuel Darkwa 90′)
Auckland United 4 (Josh Redfearn 13′, 59′, Nicolas Zambrano 90′ pen, Matthew Conroy 90+1′)
Birkenhead United 5 (Chase Taylor 28′, Dino Botica 60′, Corban Piper 61′, Nicholas Forrester 71′, Curtis Hughes 90+3′)
Waiheke United 3 (Eyob Tekalion 32′, Felix Timmins-Scanlon 44′, Nicolas Vanina 88′),
Manukau United P
Hamilton Wanderers P
* Game postponed due to COVID-19 cases in the Wanderers camp. No date set yet for the rescheduled game.
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