Miramar setup crucial Central League clash with Olympic after win over Napier
The Central League season has taken another eventful turn with Miramar Rangers getting the better of Napier City Rovers on Sunday.
Miramar followed their extra time win over Napier in the Chatham Cup on June 26 with another late win at Park Island in Napier this weekend.
Despite playing into a stiff breeze in the first half, the home side took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Saul Halpin was the provider, laying on a good ball for Tom Biss to run onto and apply the finish.
But Biss went from hero to villain when he was sent off for a late challenge in the 55th minute.
Substitute Niko Kirwan had only been on the park two minutes when he equalised for Miramar with 20 minutes to play.
Miramar striker Ben Harris then looked as though he'd blown a chance to win the game when Napier goalkeeper Ruben Parker saved his 81st-minute penalty, but he proved the hero when firing home the winner eight minutes later.
It sets up a tantalising clash between Miramar and Olympic next Saturday, with Miramar seven points behind with one game in hand over the league leaders.
Miramar's win helped Olympic in their quest for the Central League title, with their comprehensive 7-2 victory over Palmerston North Marist at Wakefield Park on Saturday giving them a five-point buffer over Napier and Stop Out, although Napier has a game in hand on the other two sides.
Conditions at Wakefield Park were wet and cold as the visitors saw themselves down three goals in the first 30 minutes, two to Sam Blackburn and one to Jimmy Haidakis.
Olympic continued their dominant performance in the second half scoring another four goals, successfully shutting Marist out of the game, despite two consolation goals from Jerram Tuck and Michael Sheridan.
At a soggy Hutt Park, Stop Out and Wests struggled through a fairly uneventful first half with the only goal coming from Andrew Abba, as he was left unmarked outside the box and crossed it on the angle past the Wests keeper.
The halftime talk from Wests coach Declan Edge must have hit the mark as the team dominated the second half scoring three unanswered goals, two to Owen Parker-Price and one from Dalton Wilkins to win 3-1.
Their next game is Friday night at Ole Academy against Petone, who caused an upset yesterday against Wairarapa United with their first win of the season.
The 3-1 win gives them hope of avoiding relegation as they now sit just three points behind Palmerston North, but the Manawatu side have an extra game in hand over them.
In Saturday's late game, Lower Hutt faced Wellington United in truly awful conditions at Fraser Park.
Lower Hutt were able to overcome the elements to win 2-0, with goals to Jeremy Field and Sam Dewar in the tightly contested match.
Men's Central League – week 15
Wellington Olympic 7 (Sam Blackburn 2, Jimmy Haidakis 2, Juan Chang 2, Gianni Bouzoukis) Palmerston North Marist 2 (Jerram Tuck, Michael Sheridan)
Stop Out 1 (Andrew Abba) Western Suburbs 3 (Owen Parker-Price 2, Dalton Wilkins)
Wairarapa United 1 (Mark Hemi) Petone 3 (Joe Harris, Paora Porter, Michael McCutcheon)
Lower Hutt City 2 (Jeremy Field, Sam Dewar) Wellington United 0
Napier City Rovers 1 (Tom Biss) Miramar Rangers 1 (Niko Kirwan)
Wellington Olympic 33, Napier City Rovers 28*, Stop Out 28, Miramar Rangers 26*, Western Suburbs 25*, Wellington United 17, Wairarapa United 15*, Lower Hutt City 14*, Palmerston North Marist 8**, Petone 5*
*game/s in hand