Wanderers down a man in deadlock
Hamilton Wanderers had a right to feel grumpy after their see-saw 3-3 draw against Onehunga Sports on Saturday.
The share of the points mean Mark Cossey's side are now sixth in the Northern League Premier Division standings - albeit only seven points from top spot - but Wanderers probably deserved more from an action-packed encounter at Waikaraka Park.
They recovered from a shaky start, when they fell behind 2-0 after just 11 minutes to gain the lead in the second half, only to concede a late equaliser after being reduced to 10 men.
Adam Luque's dismissal with just under half an hour to play was the third time the visitors had complaints about a decision from referee Nick Waldron.
Their first came when Onehunga's opening goal saw Keenan Hoedemaker's shot scrape past goalkeeper Vladi Frank, who had a Sports player run across his sight from a seemingly offside position, but the goal was given after Waldron consulted at length with the linesman.
A minute later, the visitors protested the awarding of a penalty, but Ricky Broderson's challenge from behind was always fraught with danger and Cameron Lindsay put away the spot-kick.
Yet Wanderers responded well and pulled one back eight minutes later when a near-post corner wasn't cleared and Mark Jones smacked the loose ball into the net with a left-foot volley.
Sean Lovemore should have restored Onehunga's two-goal advantage soon after, but his miss allowed Wanderers to draw level in the 26th minute when Harshae Raniga fouled Wade Molony in the box and Jones swept home the penalty.
Gurjeet Singh put Wanderers in front four minutes into the second spell from close range at the back stick after Jones had got to the byline and driven in a low cross, but Frank had to make a couple of good saves before Luque was sent off.
The centre back fouled a Sports striker who was breaking through on goal, but while Wanderers felt defender Johnny Konings was coming across in cover, Waldron ruled it a red card offence.
The visitors soon after lost Jones with a rib injury after colliding with opposing keeper Alex Gibson and Wanderers were further frustrated when Ross Haviland hauled down Singh as he went past the last defender but Waldron this time ruled cover was there and just booked the impressive Haviland.
Frank made a fine save with his feet as seven minutes of added time was played, but couldn't stop Lovemore's volley from the edge of the box that drew Onehunga level.
Ngaruawahia United are another side seeking a slice of luck after another narrow defeat left them anchored to the bottom of the Premier table.
Rodi Rojas' side went down 1-0 away to Central United and are now five points shy of second-to-bottom Waitakere United and still seeking their first victory of the league season.
Melville United's recent run of form has helped them retain an outside shot at one of three promotion spots from Division One.
Not surprisingly, their resurgence has coincided with the recruitment of Welsh striker Leon Newell, who now has nine goals in seven matches after a superlative hat-trick at Gower Park against third-placed Western Springs helped his side to a 4-3 win.
Newell's classy finishes had Melville three ahead in the first half and Dan Finlay extended that lead before Adam Dickinson pulled one back before halftime.
A Dickinson penalty and a Nicolai Berry goal ensured Melville had a nervous second spell before claiming three points to move to within seven of third-placed Springs.
In Division Two, Claudelands Rovers gained three valuable points with a 3-1 home victory over Oratia United at Galloway Park.Two goals from Waikato Ball and the other from Neels Prakesh pushed Rovers up to 10th in the 12-team league.