Navy Blues lead at top narrows

Words: NZF Media

Monday 4 December 2017

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The Navy Blues lead at the top of the ISPS Handa Premiership has narrowed following the latest round of action in New Zealand's top tier domestic football competition. 

Defending champions Team Wellington secured an important win in round seven of the ISPS Handa Premiership, while the Wellington Phoenix Reserves and Hamilton Wanderers upset two of the semi-final contenders.

Team Wellington, who went down 2-1 to Waitakere United last weekend in Auckland, bounced back with a 2-0 win over the Canterbury United Dragons in fine conditions at David Farrington Park. 

Angus Kilkolly opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Canterbury keeper Coey Turipa was caught off his line.  Jose Figuiera’s side held that lead until half time and after the break New Zealand U-20 rep Jack Henry Sinclair put the result beyond doubt when he scored his first goal for the club this season in the 64th minute.

The result sees Team Wellington draw level with Auckland City on points after they have played eight games. The Navy Blues, who are currently in the UAE preparing for the FIFA Club World Cup, have played seven games and lead with a spectacular goal difference of 20.

Meanwhile, Tasman United were looking to advance their chances of a playoff spot but were upset 2-0 by the Wellington Phoenix Reserves at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.

The Davor Tavich coached side, who were third going into the weekend, went behind in the 30th minute when another New Zealand U-20 rep Sarpreet Singh bended one in from a corner.

Coming back into the match got that much harder for the hosts when Yousif Al-Khalisy was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 52nd minute. Another New Zealand U-20 rep Logan Rogerson dispatched a penalty confidently in the 83rd minute to make it 2-0 and the Chris Greenacre coached side held on to record their first win of the season, while Tasman United slipped from third place down to sixth.

Hamilton Wanderers also secured their first result of the season when they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Southern United at Porritt Stadium.

The men from the south have been a revelation this season and heading into the round seven clash they were on nine points and within touch of the leaders, but Ricki Herbert’s side delivered a determined performance to ensure they would claim a point.  

Southern United got off to the ideal start when Andrew Ridden headed home to score within the opening minute of the game. Four minutes later they doubled their advantage when Omar Guardiola converted from a free kick. He hit his free kick from the edge of the box over the Hamilton wall, and managed to get it to dip just below the crossbar.

Michael Built got the hosts back in the game in the 16th minute when he headed home an Armin Pasagic cross and the locals began to believe.

After the break, Southern United made a mistake and turned over the ball; Wanderers counter-attacked with good effect. They levelled the scores when Alexis Varela found the bottom left corner of the goal with a great strike. The draw sees Southern United on 10 points in fifth place and Wanderers remain in 10th place.

There was also a frenetic start at Bluewater Stadium in Napier as Waitakere United picked up a valuable 3-1 win away from home against Hawke’s Bay United.

The substitutes were still finding their seats when Waitakere United went ahead. The hosts were untidy at the back and Keegan Linderboom made them pay with a good strike to claim the lead after a minute.

There was more to come from the five-time champions when they scored from a set-piece in the 16th minute. A corner kick found space in the box and Julyan Collett was on hand to finish well.

Hawke’s Bay United got back into the game before half time when Wesley Cain scored on the end of a great pass from midfielder Adam Thurston.

But Brett Angell’s side joy was short lived when former All White Jake Butler put the result beyond doubt when he delivered an excellent strike from a free kick to give the keeper no chance.

The win saw Waitakere United, who got off to a slow start to the ISPS Handa Premiership, climb to third on the ladder five points back from leaders Auckland City FC.


 ISPS Handa Premiership Round 7 Results

Tasman United 0 
Wellington Phoenix Reserves 2 (Sarpreet Singh 31’, Logan Rogerson pen 82’)
HT: 0-1

Hawke’s Bay United 1 (Wesley Cain 40’)
Waitakere United 3 (Keegan Linderboom 1’, Julyan Collett 16’, Jake Butler 51’)
HT: 1-2

Team Wellington 2 (Angus Kilkolly 13’, Jack-Henry Sinclair 64’)
Canterbury United Dragons 0
HT: 1-0

Hamilton Wanderers 2 (Michael Built 19’, Alexis Varela 48’)
Southern United 2 (Andrew Ridden 1’, Omar Guardiola 5’)
HT: 1-2

Eastern Suburbs vs Auckland City FC
Rescheduled for 24 January 

For the ISPS Handa Premiership table please click here

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