The battle of nerves continues between NRF Men’s Championship title contenders Papatoetoe and Central United with both sides winning their latest games.
Papatoetoe beat bottom side Lynn-Avon United 3-1 while Central got home 3-2 at Te Atatu.
Papatoetoe remain at the top of the eight-team table, three points ahead of Central but with their rivals having a game in hand.
The two teams meet at Kiwitea Street next Saturday (September 3), with a 3pm kick off.
Papatoetoe slow to get on top
Against Lynn-Avon United, Papatoetoe took time to get into gear, with the sides doing into half-time deadlocked at 0-0.
But the leaders went ahead in the 54th minute through Ash Gower-Rudman.
Christopher Groen created a buffer, adding Papatoetoe’s second goal on the hour.
However, United pulled back a goal in the 77th minute through Harrison Taylor, serving a warning that Papatoetoe needed to take no risks.
Gower-Rudman scored his second goal with two minutes to go, stretching the lead to 3-1 and easing any nerves of a slip-up.
Late winner gets Central the points at Te Atatu
Central needed a late winner at Te Atatu to overcome a big effort from the home side.
Central had scored the only goal of the first half, through Brandon James in the 26th minute.
When Matthew Metzger doubled Central’s lead in the 57th minute, the points looked to be going home with the visitors.
But Te Atatu had other ideas and leading scorer Rhys Caples scored a double with goals in the 64th and 77th minutes.
The second half was turning feisty with four Te Atatu players going into referee Glen Lochrie’s book, along with United captain Ben Ruffell.
With 10 minutes to go, and the sides tied up at 2-2, Ruffell scored Central’s winner.
Te Atatu goalkeeper Liam Gilbert was given a straight red in the 87th minute for back-chatting the referee.
Main photo: Central’s Ben Ruffell … scored winner with 10 minutes to go. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Rangers and Papakura draw 2-2
In the South Auckland derby, a last-minute goal from Ronald Kivolyn rescued a point for South Auckland Rangers against Papakura City.
The sides drew 2-2 after they were tied 1-1 at the break.
Munit Krishna gave Papakura the lead after eight minutes but Jayden Reddy levelled the scored in the 33rd minute.
Krishna’s second goal gave Papakura a 2-1 advantage with twenty minutes left.
However, Kivolyn scored the equaliser in the 89th minute.
Game played Friday August 26, 2022
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Ranui Swanson 2 (Daniel Faure 32′, Nathaniel Hastings 83′)
Uni-Mount Bohemian 2 (Erol Arslan 19′, Gregor Wilson 49′)
Games played Saturday August 27, 2022
South Auckland Rangers 2 (Jayden Reddy 33′, Ronald Kivolyn 89′)
Papakura City 2 (Munit Krishna 8′, 70′)
Papatoetoe 3 (Ash Gower-Rudman 54′, 88′, Christopher Groen 61′)
Lynn-Avon United 1 (Harrison Taylor 77′)
Te Atatu 2 (Rhys Caples 64′, 77′)
Central United 3 (Brandon James 26′, Matthew Metzger 57′, Ben Ruffell 81′)
Game to be played on Tuesday Augut 30, 2022
Lynn-Avon United v Ranui Swanson
Ken Maunder Park, New Lynn, 7pm
Games to be played on Saturday September 3, 2022
Uni-Mount Bohemian v Te Atatu
Bill McKinlay Park, Mt Wellington, 3pm
South Auckland Rangers v Ranui Swanson
Rongomai Park, Ormiston, 3pm
Lynn-Avon United v Papakura City
Ken Maunder Park, New Lynn, 3pm
Central United v Papatoetoe
Kiwitea St, Sandringham, 3pm