Birkenhead, Melville and Auckland United boost their National League ambitions

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Birkenhead United, Melville United and Auckland United all enhanced their chances of qualifying for September’s National League with wins in the Northern League’s latest round of games.

All three avenged recent Chatham Cup defeats by turning the tables on the sides that eliminated them from the knockout competition.

Meanwhile, Auckland City continued to dominate, with their latest win giving them a 20-point lead, with 58 points from a possible 60.

Navy Blues move to within two games of achieving unbeaten season

Auckland City are now only two games short of completing their Northern League season unbeaten after a 2-1 win against Bay Olympic at Kiwitea Street.

The game was City’s last league outing till late August as the side now faces a Chatham Cup quarter-final and then a two-week OFC Champions League tournament.

City were forced to come from behind to complete the win against Olympic who took a half-time lead after a penalty by Darren White in the 36th minute.

Substitute Emiliano Tade continued his good form when he levelled for City in the 65th minute.

In the 82nd minute, City skipper Cam Howieson scored the winner, ensuring his side remain in contention to go unbeaten for the fourth league season in their history.

United avenge cup defeat in incident-laden win at Wanderers

Auckland United and Hamilton Wanderers couldn’t find a goal in two hours of open play in the Chatham Cup they made up for it with an eight-goal thriller at Porritt Stadium.

United won 5-3 in an incident-laded game that included disallowed goals, a disputed penalty and a late red card.

Nic Zambrano put the visitors ahead in the 9th minute.

Matthew Conroy doubled the lead after 21 minutes when calmly passed the ball into the net after good interplay created the chance.

Two minutes later, Wanderers replied when Connor Probert turned a near-post header into the net from a corner.

Conroy restored the two-goal margin with a tap-in when he ghosted into the Wanderers box after 36 minutes.

Wanderers skipper Derek Tieku pulled back a goal just before half-time, sending the teams into the break with the home side trailing 3-2.

In the 65th minute, Michael den Heijer appeared to have scored when his 25-metre free kick found the Wanderers net.

But after protests from home players and discussed with his assistant, referee Nick Waldron ruled a United player had been offside.

Two minutes later, Waldron awarded United a penalty that was hotly disputed by Wanderers players.

Den Heijer stepped up and slotted the ball past ‘keeper Matt Oliver to make it 4-2.

In the 73rd minute, Wanderers reduced the deficit to 4-3 with a spectacular long-range effort.

Oliver Fay made sure of the win when he scored United’s 5th goal in the 82nd minute.

United substitute Andrew Blake was given a straight red in the final minute, after only five minutes on the pitch.

The win by United increased the gap between them and fifth-placed to six points — a margin that could get them into the National League at Wanderers’ expense.

And the victory, to some degree, compensated United for losing their Chatham Cup tie to Wanderers on penalties.

Main photo: Wanderers players protest in vain after the penalty is given.

Melville despatch Waiheke to bottom spot

Melville United enhanced their chances of booking a National League qualification spot with a 4-1 win against Waiheke United at Gower Park.

The win avenged Melville’s upset Chatham Cup loss to the Waiheke islanders and sent the visitors to the foot of the league table.

Josh Galletley got Melville off to a good start with a goal in the 6th minute.

Top scorer Oliver Colloty doubled Melville’s lead in the 35th minute before Gallety added his second a few minutes before the break.

Ten minutes into the second half, Kieran Richards stretched Melville’s lead to 4-0.

But within a minute, Waiheke pulled back a goal through Gaspar Mena.

That’s how it stayed — and with relegation seemingly certain for Waiheke, their fans will now look forward to next weekend’s cup quarter-final when they host Eastern Suburbs.

Shore win Lake Road Derby with winner in added time

North Shore United finally got off the bottom of the table with their second win of the season, a 1-0 victory against Takapuna in the Lake Road Derby.

Having conceded 76 goals in their 16 previous outings, Shore were given little chance of upsetting Takapuna, especially on their home Taharoto Park.

But the Shore defence held firm for the regulation 90 minutes, repelling Takapuna’s best efforts and the introduction of four subs.

Three minutes into added time, Shore got their reward when Harry Lissington got their winner.

The game was for the Quinnel//Richards Cup, played annually between the clubs, but Takapuna retain the trophy as it’s decided on the aggregate score of the firsts/reserves games.

In the early game, Takapuna reserves beat Shore 6-0.

Late goals turn tables on Suburbs after midweek loss

Birkenhead United needed three late goals to overhaul Eastern Suburbs 3-1 at Madills Farm.

In midweek, Suburbs had beaten Birkenhead on their home turf in the Chatham Cup.

And for much of this league encounter, Suburbs looked as though they might make it two wins in four days.

Aaryan Raj gave Suburbs an 8th-minute lead with a head, and the Lilywhites stayed in front till the visitors found their winning gear.

Vincent Phirun levelled in the 78th minute, and then Birkenhead went ahead for the first time in the game through an own goal in the 84th minute.

The win was assured when Luke Jorgensen made it 3-1 in the final minute.


Games played Saturday July 23, 2022

Auckland City 2 (Emiliano Tade 65′, Cam Howieson 82′)
Bay Olympic 1 (Darren White 36′)

Hamilton Wanderers 3 (Connor Probert 23′, Derek Tieku 43′, Xavier Pratt 73′)
Auckland United 5 (Nicolas Zambrano 9′, Matthew Conroy 21′, 36′, Michael den Heijer 69′ pen, Oliver Fay 82′)

Melville United 4 (Joshua Galletly 6′, 42′, Oliver Colloty 35′, Kieran Richards 55′)
Waiheke United 1 (Gaspar Mena 56′)

Takapuna 0
North Shore United 1 (Harry Lissington 90’+3′)

Eastern Suburbs 1 (Aaryan Raj 8′)
Birkenhead United 3 (Vincent Phirun 78′, own goal 84′, Luke Jorgensen 90′)



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