Birkenhead United’s challenge for a place in next month’s Grand Final took a backward step with a 2-0 loss to Melville United on Sunday.
The weekend’s results mean Wellington Olympic and Auckland City have strengthened their claims for a finals spot while Birkenhead and Auckland United have slipped off the pace.
Main photo: Oliver Colloty … scored again for Melville United.
Here’s our round-up of Sunday’s results:
Anniversary celebrations get boost by Melville win
Melville United supporters got the perfect fillip for their 50th-anniversary celebrations when their side beat title-chasing Birkenhead United 2-0 at Hamilton’s Gower Park.
The win confirmed that Melville’s 5-2 win at Christchurch United last weekend was no fluke, and that the Waikato side has found some form.
However the win didn’t come easily or quickly.
After a scoreless first half, U-19 international Oliver Collotly put Melville ahead in the 71st minute, when he sent the ‘keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Jerson Giraldo made sure of the win when he scored Melville’s second goal, four minutes into added time.
Birkenhead had pushed everyone forward for a corner and the ball broke clear for Jerson who took possession in the centre circle, enabling him to then dribble half the pitch and put into an empty net.
United climb off bottom with first win of the season
Christchurch United won their first game of the national league season with a 3-0 victory at Miramar Rangers.
Playing in hot sun at David Farrington Park, Christchurch took the lead in the 27th minute when Matt Todd-Smith chipped a gem of a ball through for William Pierce to take down on his chest and fire the ball into the net.
The sides turned around with United leading 1-0, and Rangers showed signs of a revival after the break.
But on the hour, Mika Rabuka capitalised on a mistake by Rangers goalkeeper Joe Knowles to scored from 10 metres.
With five minutes left, referee Chris Bennett awarded the southern visitors a penalty.
Eddie Wilkinson’s spot kick was saved by Knowles but the ball stayed in play and United played their way back into the box for Wilkinson to redeem himself with his side’s third and final goal.
The win lifted United off the foot of the table, leaving Rangers in the bottom spot.
Games to be played on Sunday November 6, 2022
Miramar Rangers 0
Christchurch United 3 (William Pierce 27′, Mika Rabuka 61′, Eddie Wilkinson 87′)
Melville United 2 (Oliver Colloty 71′, Jerson Giraldo 90+4′)
Birkenhead United 0
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′)