The top three sides in the Northern League all had comfortable wins as they start to pull clear of the rest of their rivals while winless Waiheke United scraped a draw to get off the bottom of the table.
Auckland City, Melville United and Birkenhead United are well fancied to qualify for the National League later this year, as the Northern League reaches its halfway mark.
But the race for the fourth spot remains well and truly open after round 11.
Here’s our round-up of latest games:
Navy Blues win Dominion Road Derby with efficient display
There was nothing flashy about Auckland City’s approach to this most local of local derbies as the two neighbours met at Kiwitea Street.
City won 2-0 with a goal in each half, and apart from a allowing United a couple of early chances, did little wrong in a tidy and efficient performance.
Auckland United started well and even struck the crossbar and created a couple of half-chances in early encounters.
Match programme: click on cover to read City’s match programme.
But, inevitably, City went ahead in the 21st minute when Dylan Manickum rifled the ball home from straight in front.
The teams went into the interval with City’s 1-0 lead intact.
Captain Cam Howieson doubled City’s lead with a pearler of a goal, curling a left-footed direct free-kick from 22-metres into the top corner of the net, giving ‘keeper Mack Waite no chance.
United kept trying and both sides brought on three second half substitutes.
But this year’s version of Auckland City don’t ease off, and they cruised to their 2-0 win.
Video replay: Auckland City v Auckland United
Melville beat Wanderers in Waikato Derby
Melville United stay in second place after their sixth win in a row, beating local rivals Hamilton Wanderers 4-1 at Gower Park.
Much of the damage was done early as Melville scored twice in the opening 10 minutes, through Jerson Giraldo and an own goal credited to Xavier Pratt.
After the sides turned round with Melville leading 2-0, United went further ahead through leading scorer Oliver Colloty’s ninth effort of a splendid season.
The points became certain when Kieran Richards scored Melville’s fourth in the 77th minute, before Wanderers scored a late consolation goal.
Birkenhead overpower 10-man Manukau United
Birkenhead United beat Manukau United 4-0 in a win made easier by a red card issued in the first half.
United went ahead at Walter Massey Park through a Cameron Mackenzie goal in the 21st minute.
But the wheels came off for Manukau in the 40th minute when referee Luke Gardner showed a straight red to Yousif Al-Kalisy for a dangerous tackle.
In the second half, Birkenhead used their extra man to advantage, going further ahead through Levi Wilson in the 58th minute and Nic Forrestor in the 63rd minute.
Substitute Jordan Toy finished the scoring in the 87th minute.
Strong first half enough to get Bay Olympic home
Three first-half goals got Bay Olympic on the way to a 3-1 win against Western Springs at Olympic Park.
The first came from Darren White after 17 minutes when he took the ball wide and struck a well-placed shot to score from an acute angle.
Jack Duncan doubled the home side’s lead after 38 minutes.
Rouissin Nkoy made it 3-0 just before the break with a penalty.
In the second spell, Springs coach Chris Zoricich brought on four subs in an attempt to turn things around and Oscar Browne pulled back a goal in the 73rd minute.
The win may turn out to be crucial for Bay Olympic as the three points keeps them fifth and only three points short of the qualifying group for National League football.
Suburbs shake off North Shore threat to win 4-2
Eastern Suburbs took a while to take command of their game against lowly North Shore United but got there in the end, thanks to a Daniel Champness hat-trick.
North Shore took the lead in the 15th minute when a long ball out of defence found Andrew Abba wide on the right-wing.
He went past defender Jackson Jarvie and crossed hard and low to the near post where Giovanni Peredo directed the ball into the net.
Suburbs levelled when Jarvie threaded a pass through the United defence, into the path of Jirayu Twigg who scored.
Main photo: Twigg celebrates his goal with teammates.
Shore restored their lead when they were awarded a penalty. Peredo sent ‘keeper Joe Knowles the wrong way.
Suburbs again equalised when a cross to the far post was steered home by Champness in the 43rd minute.
The home side finally got control of the game at the start of the second spell when Champness scored twice more, in the 46th and 53rd minutes.
The rest of the game was scrappy but Suburbs would be relieved to finish the day with a four-point buffer between them and the league’s bottom pair.
Video replay: Eastern Suburbs v North Shore United
Waiheke scrape a draw to clear the foot of the table
Though Waiheke United are still without a win since winning promotion to the Northern League, the islanders can at least celebrate clearing the bottom of the table.
Their movement up the ladder — they clambered over a struggling North Shore United — came courtesy of a scoreless draw at Takapuna’s Taharoto Park.
The clean sheet was cause for celebration, especially as wooden spoon rivals Shore continue to leak goals (45 in 11 games).
Games played date May 28, 2022
Melville United 4 (Jerson Giraldo 6′, own goal 10′, Oliver Colloty 67′, Kieran Richards 77′)
Hamilton Wanderers 1 (TBC)
Waiheke United 0
Auckland City 2 (Dylan Manickum 21′, Cam Howieson 65′)
Auckland United 0
Eastern Suburbs 4 (Jirayu Twigg 21′, Daniel Champness 43′, 46′, 53′)
North Shore United 2 (Giovanni Peredo 15′, 36′ pen)
Bay Olympic 3 (Darren White 17′, Jack Duncan 38′, Rouissin Nkoy 43′ pen)
Western Springs 1 (Oscar Browne 73′)
Manukau United 0
Birkenhead United 4 (Cameron Mackenzie 21′, Levi Wilson 58′, Nic Forrester 63′, Jordan Toy 87′)
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