The title and promotion places will go to the last game in the Lotto NRFL second division after a set of tight finishes in the latest round of games.
Ngaruawahia United, unbeaten till last week and divisional leader for 15 rounds, went down to new pacesetter Hibiscus Coast while West Auckland blew their chance to rein in both those clubs, losing at home to lowly Beachlands Maraetai.
Here’s our round-up of latest games:
Second half of drama as Coast get up late to win
Both sides arrived at Stanmore Bay knowing the result of this game could define their season — and they went at it hammer and tongs before Coast won the crucial game 3-2.
The scoreless first half between the division’s two top teams was clearly the calm before the storm.
The second half went wild, with five goals, half a dozen yellow cards and a finish that was pure drama.
Hibiscus Coast took the lead in the 53rd minute through Trent Mayes.
Top scorer Adam Dickinson doubled Coast’s lead on the hour.
Ngaruawahia were under the pump but they fought back well.
Ivan Alonso reduced the deficit to 2-1 after 77 minutes.
In the second minute of added time, Ben Moore scored to make it 2-2, a scoreline that would have see Ngaruawahia keep a two-point lead at the top of the table.
But Coast weren’t done. Substitute Julian Stevenson found a winner six minutes into stoppage time to take his side above United on the table.
Coast are in pole position but could miss out on the title and promotion, if they lose to West Auckland in next weekend’s final fixture, and if Ngaruawahia beat Franklin United.
West Auckland miss chance to go top
Title challengers West Auckland blew their opportunity to go top of the table with a shock 1-0 loss at home to Beachlands Maraetai who went into the game second bottom on the table.
Playing at Brains Park, Kelston, both sides struggled to find a way through and they played out a goalless first half.
The second half seemed destined to go the same way until a minute from time when Jamie Birch scored the winner for Beachlands Maraetai.
The result leaves West Auckland third on the table but in control of their destiny when it comes to promotion.
If they beat Hibiscus Coast next weekend by two goals or more, they go up. If Ngaruawahia lose or draw to Franklin, West Auckland also take the second division title.
Stoppage time winner sinks 10-man Cambridge
Franklin United pulled off a 1-0 win against Cambridge who played an hour with 10-men at Pukekohe’s Bledisloe Park.
The first half produced no goals but a couple of yellow cards (one to each team) and a straight red in the 31st minute when referee Kirk Davis dismissed Cambridge defender Blair Pennell for a foul.
The second half was equally barren in terms of goals, and both sides collected a couple more cautions each.
As the game seemed headed for a scoreless draw, Franklin substitute Harrison Sage scored the winner, four minutes into added time, prompting a home town celebration.
Main photo: Harrison Sage (13) leads the celebrations as he scores Franklin’s winner in stoppage time. Photo: Joan Grey.
Franklin v Cambridge
Oratia keep scrapping till the end
Bottom of the table they may be, but Oratia United keep chasing results each week and they got a 2-2 draw this time round against fourth-placed Bucklands Beach.
Bucklands Beach took the lead at MacLeans College through Dominic Mutti in the 11th minute.
As the teams were almost headed for the half-time break, Oratia grabbed an equaliser through Rayn Walden.
The west Aucklanders took the lead for the first time in the game after 66 minutes when Thomas Jacobson scored.
But Bucklands Beach levelled through Carl Burgoyne with quarter of an hour to go.
Next weekend, Oratia get the chance to end their season with a morale-boosting win when they meet Cambridge in a bottom-of-the-table clash.
Claudelands beat Northland 3-2
All the goals came early in Claudelands Rovers’ 3-2 win against Northland at Hamilton’s Galloway Park.
Rovers captain Bailey Webster opened the scoring when he put away a penalty after only five minutes.
Northland responded through Jackson West after 17 minutes.
However, Daniel Finlay reclaimed the lead for the home side, scoring in the 26th minute.
Six minutes before half-time, Northland’s Kyle Levell tied up the score 2-2.
Two minutes after the restart, Henry Thompson scored Claudelands’ third goal, giving them a 3-2 lead.
It turned out to be the game-winner.
Games played Saturday August 27, 2022
Hibiscus Coast 3 (Trent Mayes 53′, Adam Dickinson 60′, Julian Stevenson 90’+6′)
Ngaruawahia United 2 (Ivan Alonso 77′, Ben Moore 90+2′)
West Auckland 0
Beachlands Maraetai 1 (Jamie Birch 89′)
Bucklands Beach 2 (Dominic Mutti 11′, Carl Burgoyne 75′)
Oratia United 2 (Rayn Walden 45+1′, Thomas Jacobson 66′)
Franklin United 1 (Harrison Sage 90+4′)
Claudelands Rovers 3 (Bailey Webster 5′, Daniel Finlay 26′, Henry Thompson 47′)
Northland 2 (Jackson West 17′, Kyle Levell 39′)
Games to be played on Saturday September 3, 2022
Northland (6th) v Bucklands Beach (4th)
Trigg Arena, Whangarei, 3pm
Ngaruawahia United (2nd) v Franklin United (5th)
Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia, 3pm
Oratia United (10th) v Cambridge (9th)
Parrs Park, Oratia, 3pm
Hibiscus Coast (1st) v West Auckland (3rd)
Stanmore Bay Park, Stanmore Bay, 3pm
Beachlands Maraetai (8th) v Claudelands Rover (7th)
Te Puru Park, Beachlands, 3pm
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