Defending champions FC Western found winning form again when beating Francis Douglas Memorial College 3-0 at the college grounds in New Plymouth on Saturday.
The game started with FDMC making good use of the wind on their backs and edging the possession in the first 10 minutes putting Rampage Fitness Western under pressure.
Western soon got a foothold in the game, keeping the ball down low to beat the wind.
The breakthrough came after 24 minutes, a crossfield pass which Richard Dodera flicked on with his head, for Ben Furze to run on to and volley past the FDMC goalkeeper.
The second came in the 28th minute from a cross into the box which FDMC failed to clear leaving Francious Hussillos to calmly place the ball in the bottom corner to make it 2-0 at halftime.
The second half was a scrappy affair with both sides wasting possession by not being able to keep hold of the ball and create a tempo.
Western got their third goal in the 78th minute, through great vision from Mark Bland.
The FDMC keeper came out of his box to clear the ball, Bland tackled him and as keeper was backtracking chipped the ball over his head and into back of an empty net.
New Plymouth Boys' High School almost turned the title race upside down with a battling display against league leaders Autocity Cars New Plymouth Rangers.
For the first 70 minutes, NPBHS matched the league leaders and almost went ahead for a second time in the game. However, Rangers stepped up a gear to finish strongly and post a flattering 4-1 victory against a committed school side.
Rangers came out the blocks strongly in the first half and threw everything at the school side. Tom Roodbean and Zane Coleman were inspirational as the NPBHS defence refused to succumb to the pressure.
Roodbean made three or four last ditch challenges and Coleman made a save from point blank range that any keeper would have been proud of.
Boys' High soaked up the pressure and then hit Rangers on the break. Some nice play between the forwards led to Rangers forward Russell Laird bringing down the NPBHS striker in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and captain Simon Gibson dispatched the penalty to make it 1-0.
Rangers were clearly shell shocked and could not find their rhythm again after that with the score remaining unchanged heading to the halftime break.
Rangers came out with purpose in the second half and scored within five minutes of the re-start to level the scores.
NPBHS were pinned back in their half as Rangers went on the offensive and took the lead in the 50th minute with a goal to Malcolm Bourgoise.
NPBHS created a few chances on the break, one of which by Callum Bourgoise hit the post after some good work by High School's man of the match Matthew Chadwick.
Rangers kept up the pressure and finally got the breakthrough with a 30m thunderbolt from midfielder Nathan Hill. NPBHS had no response to that goal and leaked two soft goals in the last 15 minutes.
Ciaran Forsythe got on the score sheet with a header at the 75th minute-mark and Brad Hickley scored the fourth goal in the 80th minute.
Match officials had a busy time issuing five yellow cards.
In other matches Moturoa beat Peringa 2-0, Inglewood pinched a 4-3 win against Hawera, while Eltham had the bye.
Key matchups this Saturday will be New Plymouth Rangers against Eltham at Merrilands Domain in New Plymouth and Moturoa at home to Hawera in a battle for the wooden spoon.
- Taranaki Daily News
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