Waitakere United and Canterbury United broke clear of the chasing pack in the NZ Football Premiership after Hawke's Bay stumbled in Christchurch today.
A come from behind 4-1 win for Waitakere ensured the West Aucklanders unbeaten start to the season continued, while Canterbury and Hawke's Bay swapped places on the ladder as the red and blacks racked up their fifth consecutive win in all competitions beating 10-man Hawke's Bay United 4-0 at ASB Football Park in Christchurch.
At the Cake Tin, Waikato FC heralded in the Mark Cossey era with a 3-2 win over out of sorts YoungHeart Manawatu in the televised match in Wellington. Rory Turner netted his first goal for Waikato FC in the 18th minute before Tom Mosquera levelled in the 68th minute.
But YoungHeart's relief lasted just 60 seconds when Sam Margetts nosed Waikato back in front before Ryan Thomas extended that lead to 3-1 with ten minutes left. Tom Mosquera nabbed his seventh goal of the season two minutes into time added on to give the final 3-2 score line some respectability for Stu Jacobs's team and take over top spot in the golden boot race one goal ahead of Hawke's Bay's Sean Lovemore.
Canterbury United's run of red hot form stretched to five wins from five games after they battered Hawke's Bay United 4-0. Aaron Clapham grabbed a brace scoring his first goal on 33 minutes before ASB Premiership Player of the Month Russell Kamo doubled the lead five minutes later.
Hawke's Bay's situation worsened on 51 minutes after former All White Cole Peverley was sent off. Clapham scored the third from the penalty spot after Kamo was hauled down and skipper Dan Terris - who missed an astonishing open goal chance in the first half - made amends with Canterbury's fourth in the 73rd minute.
At Fred Taylor Park, Otago United looked on track to end their 16-match winless run with Waitakere when Joel Stevens put the Southerners in front after seven minutes. That joy evaporated six minutes later when David Mulligan levelled with a tap in. In-form midfielder Jake Butler gave Waitakere breathing space when he scored ten minutes after the restart before late goals by Roy Krishna and Ryan de Vries blew the score line out to 4-1.
Next week, Team Wellington host Otago United, Hawke's Bay United travel to Whenuapai to take on champions Waitakere United at Fred Taylor Park, while YoungHeart Manawatu faces Canterbury United in Palmerston North.
Auckland City's match with Waikato FC has been postponed due to the Sandringham-based club's participation at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
- © Fairfax NZ News