Miramar Rangers disrupt Wellington Olympic's Central League title plans
Miramar Rangers have added another twist to the Central League season by beating leaders Wellington Olympic.
The win hands Napier City Rovers the upper hand in the title chase, as they now sit two points behind Olympic with a game in hand.
Miramar battled best in trying conditions at David Farrington Park on Saturday to win 3-0.
They took the lead in the first ten minutes when Tom Jackson chipped Olympic keeper Scott Basalaj.
Both sides showed periods of dominance during the first half, with possession difficult to maintain in the slippery conditions.
Miramar's second goal came in the 30th minute when Ben Harris smashed a freekick from 25 metres out. Basalaj was helpless to stop the ball sailing past him into the back of the net.
The third came from another freekick that was eventually crossed into the box where Harris got above the defence to knock it in.
The second half saw periods of dominance from Olympic as they continued to apply pressure to the Miramar defence.
Olympic's Jimmy Halikias hit the post, while his team-mates rattled the crossbar two more times in the second half, but it wasn't to be Olympic's day.
The win moves Miramar to third on the ladder, four points behind Olympic with a game in hand.
Napier kept the pressure on Olympic after they grabbed three points against Wellington United.
They took the lead at a soggy Newtown Park with a header to Fergus Neil in the 18th minute. Their captain, Danny Wilson, got in on the action in the second half heading past the United keeper.
Shortly after the Wellington United keeper was sent off, and, with no substitutes left, United placed Sam Phillip in goal, who then went on to save the resulting penalty.
Steven Hoyle completed the 3-0 win for Napier soon after.
Stop Out's title challenge is effectively over after they lost 2-1 to local rivals Lower Hutt. The result sees them five points off the lead with two games to go.
At the bottom of the table, Palmerston North Marist earned a vital point against Wairarapa United to move four points clear of last-placed Petone.
The 1-1 result came after Western Suburbs handed Petone their 12th loss of the season when winning 3-1 at Ole Academy on Friday night.
The teams traded penalties in the first half, but Wests were too strong in the second half, scoring a further two goals and maintaining their one point buffer behind Miramar.
Central League result
Western Suburbs 3 (Owen Parker-Price, Callum McCowatt, OG) Petone 1 (Michael McCutcheon)
Miramar Rangers 3 (Tom Jackson, Ben Harris 2) Wellington Olympic 0
Wellington United 0 Napier City Rovers 3 (Fergus Neil, Danny Wilson, Steven Hoyle)
Stop Out 1 (Lewis Frances) Lower Hutt 2 (Alex MacDonald, Jarrod Stant)
Palmerston North Marist 1 (Jerram Tuck) Wairarapa United 1
Wellington Olympic 33, Napier City Rovers 31*, Miramar Rangers 29*, Western Suburbs 28*, Stop Out 28, Lower Hutt City 17*, Wellington United 17, Wairarapa United 16*, Palmerston North Marist 9**, Petone 5*. * Game/s in hand