The cream appears to be rising to the top of The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership, with ninetyblack Taupo FC opening up a two point lead following Saturday’s round of games, while the top two now appear set to duke it out in season long duel for The Soccer Shop WaiBOP W-League’s crown.
Taupo laid down a marker on Saturday with a 2-1 win at title rivals Otumoetai FC. Things looked to be going to plan when Jordan Lamb did what Jordan Lamb does, scoring the goal that seemingly put the Lakesiders in control midway through the first half.
They looked assured of taking that lead into the break but Otumoetai’s captain, Scott Reid, hit back for the hosts deep into first half added time to alter the half time team talks of both coaches.
A tight second half tussle followed as two evenly matched sides fought for the winner. It fell to Taupo’s Fin Smith to decide the game when he struck home inside the final ten minutes to keep the roll going for his team while simultaneously denting Otumoetai’s challenge.
Flying Mullet Papamoa went on a second half goal scoring binge in defeating Ngaruawahia United 5-0 at Gordon Spratt Park. Remarkably, the game was goalless at the break, but Liam Molloy’s goal four minutes after the restart opened the flood gates.
Molloy went on to complete a hat trick, while substitute Andrew Cooper grabbed a double of his own. Papamoa jumped back into the top three, one point ahead of Otumoetai.
Waikato Unicol dropped more points at home after being held to a 2-2 draw by a rapidly improving Tauranga Blue Rovers. After a goalless first half, Rovers hit two quick fire goals just before the hour mark through Joaquin Reynoso and Olly Tilley, to send a real shiver through the Unicol ranks.
Reuben Henderson struck back for the students with just under a quarter hour left, before Henry Leech came off the bench to secure a point with four minutes on the clock.
Melville United completed a 2-0 victory at bottom side Safer Team Te Puke United thanks to first half goals from Sok Ven and David Brennan. They moved into the top half of what it becoming quite a fluid Premiership table.
The other two matches finished level, as West Hamilton United took home a point from Comag Matamata Swifts after a 2-2 draw, while Gisler Architects Te Awamutu recovered from a two goal half time deficit to draw 3-3 at Tauranga Boys’ College.
Chris Walker put Matamata ahead, before West Hamilton hit back twice through Jarred Tooley and Madison Niwa. Brayden Lissington’s goal ensured the points were shared at the Matamata Domain. Goals from Alfie Cole, Jordan Toy and an own goal saw Tauranga Boys’ lead 3-1 at half time in their match against Te Awamutu, before Tawhiri Ball pulled the visitors to within a goal on the hour mark. Alan Ball’s equaliser in the final minute completed an encouraging afternoon for both sides.
Claudelands Rovers bounced back from their first defeat of the season to record a 2-0 victory over The Soccer Shop WaiBOP W-League’s leaders, Tauranga City.
After a goalless first half, Rovers’ Stella Neems broke the game open with the game’s decisive moment. Her strike, seven minutes after the re-start, edged Rovers in front and gave them the confidence to push on towards victory.
Rhiannon Jones doubled down for Rovers with yet another goal. Her strike came midway through the second half, leaving the visitors with much to do.
Tauranga have been clinical late in games this season, but there was to be no comeback at Galloway Park. Rovers held on to their clean sheet and hauled themselves back level on points with City, who currently have the better goal difference.
Tilemax Papamoa consolidated third spot with a 7-1 win at Tauranga Blue Rovers. Monique Lowry and Briana Osbourne both scored doubles for Papamoa, who moved to within three points of the top two.
Melville United couldn’t quite match last weekend’s result in being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Whakatane Town. Whakatane’s point kept them in the top four. Hamilton Wanderers picked up their second win of the season, beating bottom side Otumoetai 1-0 at home.
Waikato Unicol’s reserves extended their lead at the top of The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Championship with a thumping 6-1 win over bottom side Tauranga Blue Rovers reserves.
Alex Bakx led the way with a hat trick. Tauranga City and Claudelands Rovers moved up the table after both sides secured comfortable away wins. Tauranga won 3-0 at Tokoroa while Rovers, with doubles from Conor Reynolds and Ash Gower-Rudman, won 4-2 at Waharoa Transport Matamata reserves.
The other three games finished level. The curtain raiser at Fergusson Park between Otumoetai and Taupo reserves finished 1-1, while Cambridge versus Bulk Line Otorohanga ended goalless. Papamoa’s reserves and Hamilton Wanderers shared six goals in a 3-3 draw.