Oratia United have broken their duck with a win in the Lotto NRFL second division, on a day when none of the top three sides could manage a win.
Ngaruawahia United retain the lead but three sides are all within reach.
Here’s our round-up of latest games:
Graham clinches win in his 100th appearance for Oratia
Oratia United badly needed some inspiration to shake off their dreadful start to the season which had seen them lose all their opening seven fixtures.
It came from Michael Graham (23) who faced Bucklands Beach, making his 100th first-team appearance since signing from Western Springs in 2015.
And against the second-placed side in the competition, Graham and his ‘Tia teammates put things right.
Harry Cuthbert gave them a first half lead, with a goal in the 33rd minute.
In the second half, Oratia were holding on for the win but on cue, Graham marked his centenary performance with a goal in the 87th minute.
Main photo: Oratia celebrate their first win of the season.
Late goal earns draw for Coast against leaders
A late goal from striker Adam Dickinson has kept Hibiscus Coast in the hunt for the second division title, earning a 1-1 draw against league leaders Ngaruawahia United.
Going into the game, a win would have helped Ngaruawahia kick clear of third-placed Coast.
By half-time, that looked possible as striker Mark Withers scored in added time for the teams to turn around with the home side 1-0 up at Centennial Park.
Dickinson got his ninth goal of the season with only two minutes left, ensuring the points were shared.
Four red cards as Northland beat Claudelands Rovers 3-1
Northland’s game against Claudelands Rovers ended in disarray as referee Yunjie Diao issued three red cards in added time, as the home side sealed a 3-1 win.
Northland took the initiative early at Trigg Arena, taking a 2-0 lead within the first quarter of the game.
Reuben Nicholl opened the scoring with a goal after 10 minutes.
A key moment in the match came when Rovers’ Max Duckworth was given a straight red in the 17th minute for pushing an opponent in the penalty area, denying a goalscoring opportunity. From the ensuing penalty, Finn Diamond made it 2-0.
Ellis Breadmore kept the Waikato side in contention with a goal five minutes before the interval.
Despite being down to 10 men, Rovers remained in the game until Northland finally sealed the win with a Jackson West goal in the 89th minute.
But the period of added time led to a confrontation between the rival dugouts, leading to a red card for unused Northland substitute Max Thomas, and red cards for Rovers’ assistant coach Howard Bettridge and team manager Trent Bettridge.
Clarkin continues hot form with match-winning double
Striker Josh Clarkin scored twice to continue his streak of form and earn Cambridge a 2-1 win against Franklin United at John Kerkhof Park.
Clarkin headed Cambridge into a 20th-minute lead, converting a Jasom Khatkar corner into the net.
After turning around at 1-0, Franklin struck first in the second half when David Grey was played in behind the Reds’ defence and placed the ball into the net.
However, Clarkin found a second goal — his ninth of a productive season — on the hour and Cambridge managed the clock to earn a much-needed win.
Game played Friday June 24, 2022
Beachlands Maraetai 1 (Aaron Parry 1′)
West Auckland 2 (Anthony Lockton 46′, Jordan Hearn 63′)
Games played Saturday June 25, 2022
Cambridge 2 (Josh Clarkin 20′, 60′)
Franklin United 1 (David Grey 52′)
Northland 3 (Reuben Nicholl 10′, Finn Diamond 18′ pen, Jackson West 89′)
Claudelands Rovers 1 (Ellis Breadmore 40′)
Ngaruawahia United 1 (Mark Withers 45+1′)
Hibiscus Coast 1 (Adam Dickinson 88′)
Oratia United 2 (Harry Cuthbert 33′, Michael Graham 87′)
Bucklands Beach 0
Our coverage of Northern League and Lotto NRFL men’s football is made possible through the support of our partners at Cube, specialists in print, design and signage. We encourage clubs and businesses to consider Cube when looking for professional help in their branding and promotional planning.