Another win for leaders Wellington Olympic, a wonder goal for Auckland City’s Cam Howieson and a first loss for Auckland United — these were the key points of Saturday’s fixtures in the Men’s National League.
Olympic stay two points clear after beating previously-unbeaten Auckland United 3-1, while Auckland City kept in touch with the leaders thanks to two Cam Howieson goals and a 2-0 win against the Wellington Phoenix.
In Christchurch, Cashmere Technical beat Napier City Rovers 4-2.
Main photo: Cam Howieson … two goals for Auckland City. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Here’s our round-up of Saturday’s games:
Howieson double gets win for Auckland City
All Whites midfielder Cam Howieson has proven to be the difference between Auckland City and the Wellington Phoenix reserves in their National League Championship match at Kiwitea St.
The Auckland City captain found the back of the net late in each half to lead the quadruple-chasing hosts to a 2-0 win over the young Nix.
Howieson’s first goal came deep in first-half stoppage time, with his second following with just a minute remaining in the 90.
His match-clincher will be a leading contender for the goal of the season, with the midfielder scoring from well inside his half.
The result moves Auckland City to the top of the National League Championship for the time being, while the Phoenix reserves remain sixth in the 10-team competition.
Head coach Chris Greenacre made four changes to the XI which was lost 3-2 at home to Miramar Rangers last weekend. Callum Kennett got the nod in goal in place of Alby Kelly-Heald, while defender Lukas Kelly-Heald, midfielder Fin Conchie and striker Josh Rudland replaced Isaac Hughes, Dan McKay and the suspended Riley Bidois respectively.
First-team players Finn Surman and Lucas Mauragis again started for the reserves, with Surman wearing the captain’s armband.
The young Nix held their own for the first 20 minutes, with Kennett only forced to make one regulation save to deny Howieson.
The reserves also looked impressive going forward, with their best chance falling to Charlie Beale, who blazed a shot narrowly wide.
Auckland City got stronger as the first-half progressed and Emiliano Tade found the back of the net in the 45th minute after being picked out by Joe Lee. However, Lee was deemed to be offside and the goal was ruled out.
Moments later the Oceania champions had their breakthrough, with Howieson slipping in between Surman and Kennett and poking the ball into the back of the net.
City camped themselves in the reserves’ half after the break, with Kennett forced to make a couple of smart saves to prevent the hosts from doubling their lead.
Greenacre responded by making a triple change on the hour mark, with Joseph Chiari, Charlie Beale and Mauragis making way for Riley Manuel, Ben Wallace and Adam Supyk.
The fresh legs made an immediate impact, with the young Nix getting more touches inside the hosts’ half and stemming the flow of Auckland City pressure.
The reserves defended resolutely and kept themselves in the game.
Wallace then had a great opportunity to level the scores in the 79th minute. Unfortunately for him and the young Nix he wasn’t able to head a pinpoint Supyk cross on target from eight yards out.
Ten minutes later Howieson put the result out of doubt with a wondergoal. He took one touch deep inside his half, looked up and, making the most of the wind behind his back, unleashed a shot that cleared Kennett and nestled into the back of the net.
Impressive Olympic keep their lead after win against Auckland United
Wellington Olympic continue to impress with a 3-1 win against previously-unbeaten Auckland United.
Playing at Whitby’s Endeavour Park, Olympic build a 3-0 lead before eventually conceding a goal, and were always good for the points that keep them two points clear at the top of the table.
Kailain Gould opened the scoring five minutes before half-time, giving the home side a 1-0 lead at the break.
Jack-Henry Sinclair continued his scoring run with Olympic’s second goal a couple of minutes after the restart.
Gould scored his second of the game with 20 minutes left.
William Stephen pulled back a goal for United in the 81st minute but it was too little, too late for the Aucklanders.
Coughlan hat-trick inspires Technical to win
A hat-trick from Garbhan Coughlan inspired Cashmere Technical to a 4-2 win at home against Napier City Rovers.
The visitors went ahead through Bill Robertson after 18 minutes but Coughlan levelled later in the half, to send the sides into the break tied at 1-1.
Coughlan put Technical ahead soon after the restart and striker Kian Donkers stretched the lead to 3-1 on the hour mark.
The home seemed to be heading for the win when Napier set local nerves jangling with a goal through Leaford Allen in the 86th minute.
Suddenly, Cashmere were looking vulnerable to a late charge.
But Coughlan put any concerns to rest when he completed his hat-trick a minute later, giving his side the points and a 4-2 victory.
Games played on Saturday November 5, 2022
Cashmere Technical 4 (Garbhan Coughlan 37′, 49′, 87′, Kian Donkers 60′)
Napier City Rovers 2 (Bill Robertson 18′, Leaford Allen 86′
Auckland City 2 (Cam Howieson 45’+3′, 89′)
Wellington Phoenix 0
Wellington Olympic 3 (Kailan Gould 40′, 70′, Jack-Henry Sinclair 47′)
Auckland United 1 (William Stephen 81′)
Games to be played on Sunday November 6, 2022
Miramar Rangers v Christchurch United
David Farrington Park, Wellington, 1pm
Melville United v Birkenhead United
Gower Park, Hamilton, 3pm