Team Taranaki increased their lead to four points over their closest rival in the Federation Football League competition on Saturday.
Team Taranaki picked up three points when scoring a scratchy 2-0 win away to Feilding. The success was made even sweeter when closest rival Wanganui Athletic managed only a 2-2 draw against Palmerston North Boys' High School.
"We won, but we were not able to win convincingly," Team Taranaki head coach Ian McGrath said.
"It was three points hard earned with a goal in either half," he said. "In reality we could have had two more, but both by Michael Reive and Patrick Hay were ruled controversially offside."
McGrath said Team Taranaki started well and dominated the early exchanges but were unable to score.
"We were just not getting the rub of the green in front of goal," he said.
"We thought we had scored a perfectly good goal midway through the half when defender Michael Reive converted from close range with a diving header at the back post, but to the amazement of everyone it was ruled offside."
The disappointment at one end nearly turned into an immediate setback the other as Feilding broke on the counter-attack and Aaron Richardson found himself clear one-on-one with Team Taranaki goalkeeper Nick Walker, who pulled off a brilliant save.
Team Taranaki eventually opened the scoring late in the first half when Hayden Murray wriggled his way into the penalty area, beat two defenders and slid the ball just inside the post from six metres out.
Midway through the second half Hay scored the second, stabbing in from close range to finish off a sweeping move down the right.
Hay thought he had made it 3-0 moments later, but it was ruled offside.
"It was a bit frustrating for the players," McGrath said.
"Every time we thought we were pulling away in the game, it was not to be.
"We thought they were both good goals."
McGrath said the clean sheet defensively was also very pleasing.
After two weeks on the road, Team Taranaki return to Pukekura Park on Sunday to take on Havelock North. The match starts at noon.
- Taranaki Daily News
Is Ma'a Nonu returning to the Hurricanes ...Related story: Ma'a Nonu's return to Hurricanes confirmed