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NZF: Auckland extend lead with big win

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Front-runners Auckland City have taken advantage of the inactivity of Team Wellington and Eastern Suburbs to extend their lead at the top of the ISPS Handa Premiership while Southern United and the Wellington Phoenix Reserves also notched wins on a truncated weekend of action.

Only three matches took place due to the OFC Champions League and Auckland did not miss the opportunity to strengthen their position at the summit, doing so in style with a 5-1 dismantling of struggling Canterbury United at home.

Rooted to the foot of the table after winning only two matches, the last thing the Cantabrians would have wanted was a trip to the only undefeated team in the league and, unfortunately for visiting coach Lee Padmore, the match went the way of the form book.

The Navy Blues simply had too much quality for the Dragons to contain in the first half, which brought a five-goal lead for the hosts by the break.

Argentine striker Emiliano Tade got the ball rolling early on and Vanuatu international Brian Kaltak fired home from a corner soon after to double the advantage. It got even worse for Canterbury when golden boot leader Myer Bevan hit his 14th goal of the campaign via the upright before a fine strike from Jordan Vale made it four and Alfie Rogers rubbed salt into the wound on the stroke of half-time.

Canterbury offered more resistance in the second period, keeping a lid on Auckland’s rampant attack and even finding the net themselves with a screamer from former All White Aaron Clapham.

The results were much tighter elsewhere with both other fixtures finishing 2-1.

That wasn’t good news for Canterbury either and they are now even further adrift at the bottom after the Wellington Phoenix Reserves edged out Hamilton Wanderers to open up a five-point gap over the Dragons.

The young ‘WeeNix’ had the pleasure of playing on the hallowed turf of Eden Park as a curtain-raiser for the club’s A-League win over Melbourne City and it was a memorable day for the club as the reserves set the scene with a victory of their own against Hamilton Wanderers.

The Phoenix held the lead after an entertaining first half thanks to a side-footed finish from the over-lapping Callan Elliot but Hamilton were still very much in the contest after having the better of the chances. They finally made one count just before the hour when a low cross was turned in for an own goal but the Phoenix were not to be denied, finding a late winner when Riley Bidois slotted home after a classy run and shot from Ben Old was deflected into his path.

A frantic end-to-end finale then ensued but the Phoenix were able to complete the job and record the third win of their campaign.

Down in Dunedin, Waitakere United were looking to extend an impressive four-game winning streak but that run was brought to an end by a battling performance from Southern United and two superbly-taken goals by youngsters Cody Brook and Cam Mackenzie.

Brook got his side’s nose in front in the opening minutes by tucking home a Garbhan Coughlan cross at the near post but Waitakere equalised mid-way through the half when Gerard Garriga Gibert nodded home a corner.

There was no more scoring until the hour-mark approached and again it was Coughlan with an assist as Southern scored what proved to be the match winner. A break through the middle allowed the Irishman to roll a ball into the path of Mackenzie, who showed good composure to steer his effort past Nick Draper and into the top corner.

Southern then had to come through a tense finish as Waitakere pushed for an equaliser but the hosts held on to record their first three-pointer under new coach Terry Boylan.

For the table and more information on the ISPS Handa Premiership please click here

ISPS Handa Premiership Match Week 14

Southern United 2 (Cody Brook 4’, Cam Mackenzie 54’)

Waitakere United 1 (Gerard Garriga Gibert 26’)

HT: 1-1

Wellington Phoenix Reserves 2 (Callan Elliot 29’, Riley Bidois 89’)

Hamilton Wanderers 1 (Own goal 58’)

HT: 1-0

Auckland City 5 (Emiliano Tade 7’, Brian Kaltak 14’, Myer Bevan 32’, Jordan Vale 35’, Alfie Rogers 43’)

Canterbury United Dragons 1 (Aaron Clapham 78’)

HT: 5-0

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