Round nine results confirmed how tight the competition is in this year’s Lotto NRFL first division.
Apart from the top two sides, it appears all other teams are capable of beating each other on their day.
Teams can rise or fall several places on the outcome of a single game — and Saturday’s fixtures provided plenty of table movement.
Here’s our round-up of the games:
Another clean sheet; another win for leaders West Coast Rangers
West Coast Rangers stretched their lead to five points in Lotto NRFL division one with a 2-0 top-of-the-table win at Tauranga City.
The match at Links Ave was a showdown between the two best performing sides of the season so far.
They played out a scoreless first half before two goals from former Northern Rovers and Birkenhead United player Jamie Mason decided the game.
Mason’s first goal came in the 73rd minute.
His second wrapped up the points five minutes into added time.
Once again, Rangers’ defence and goalkeeper Matthew Upton delivered a clean sheet — the side has conceded a miserly five goals in nine games.
Main photo: Goalkeeper Matthew Upton … clean sheet specialist. Photo: Phototek.
Manurewa leave it oh–so–late to win at Rovers
Manurewa’s improved form continued with an important win at Northern Rovers’ McFetridge Park — but they could not have left it much later.
Rewa’s winning goal came three minutes into added time as the match seemed destined to be heading to be the day’s only scoreless draw.
The teams had been unable to break the deadlock during the regular 90 minutes but Nicolas Bobadilla found a winner as the referee was counting down the clock.
Bobadilla’s goal celebration earned him a yellow card but also equal billing at the top of the division’s Golden Boot table where he and four others sit with five goals scored (the others are East Coast Bays’ Judd Baker and Keegan Kelly, Albany’s Jack Beguely and Fencibles’ Josh Harford).
Albany spoil the party and move from the foot of the table
Albany United played party poopers by winning 2-1 at the home of Onehunga Mangere United who celebrate their 100th anniversary this weekend.
Albany went ahead at Mangere Domain through Tom Webb after 15 minutes, and that’s how the score stayed for the rest of the first half.
Five minutes into the second spell, Jason Hicks found the net for Albany, pushing out the lead to 2-0 and giving the side hope they could clear the foot of the table.
Gilberto Souza pulled back a goal for the Mountain Men on the hour but the visitors were able to manage down the clock for an important win that lifts them four places off the bottom.
MAP ride their luck for 2-0 win at Fencibles
Fencibles United dominated possession and squandered a host of goalscoring chances before losing 2-0 at home to Mt Albert Ponsonby.
The sides were deadlocked 0-0 at half-time, neither being able to break through.
That changed after 51 minutes when Harry Streamer put MAP ahead with the visitors’ first real chance of the game.
Fencibles rang the changes from the bench, introducing four sets of fresh legs for the last half hour, but they could not land a blow while MAP rode their luck.
With two minutes left, MAP clinched the points when Bradley Rathbun made it 2-0.
The win moves MAP into the top half of an extremely congested table; Fencibles are second bottom.
Bays beat inconsistent Ponies 3-0 to move up table
Inconsistent Ellerslie missed their opportunity to stay in touch with the league leaders when they tumbled 3-0 at East Coast Bays.
The Ponies could have finished the day in third place with a win; instead, they sit fifth.
Bays were always in the ascendency, taking the lead from the 7th minute when Declan Sweeney opened the scoring.
Keegan Kelly doubled the home side’s lead with a penalty after 22 minutes, and the sides went into the break with Bays 2-0 up.
Kelly struck again after 71 minutes to ensure the three points lifted Bays into seventh place.
Such is the competitive nature of this year’s division, a loss would have left Bays bottom of the table.
Games played weekend of May 20-21, 2022
Metro 3 (Jaydyn Englefield 52′, own goal 59′, Honggyu Han 76′)
East Coast Bays 3 (Declan Sweeney 7′, Keegan Kelly 22′ pen, 71′)
Northern Rovers 0
Manurewa 1 (Nicolas Bobadilla 90+3′)
Onehunga Mangere United 1 (Gilberto Souza 59′)
Albany United 2 (Tom Webb 15′, Jason Hicks 50′)
Tauranga City 0
West Coast Rangers 2 (Jamie Mason 73′, 90+5′)
Fencibles United 0
Mt Albert Ponsonby 2 (Harry Streamer 51′, Bradley Rathbun 88′)
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