Tauranga City United's winning form continued on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Mangere thanks to a solid team performance and a hat-trick from man of the moment Jack McNab.
In front of a good crowd at Links Avenue, both teams started with a committed approach. Tauranga, despite having to rejig their side due to the unavailability of captain Jon Allen and the pre-game loss of Josh Nelson, gave as good as they got. Young referee Alan Wilson controlled the game well; letting it flow but blowing it up when needed.
Both teams had moments on attack in the first half but returned to the sheds scoreless at the break.
Tauranga were first to strike 10 minutes after the resumption when 16-year-old Jonas Eyskins set up McNab down the left side. He dodged oncoming defenders before smashing a drive past Onehunga Mangere keeper Glen Pascoe from close range but at a narrow angle.
The Blues advantage was retained thanks to a fine finger-tip save from keeper Tom Pamment midway through the half, and it was increased in the 83rd minute when Wilson awarded the Blues a penalty when an Onehunga defender, attempting to control a Sam O'Regan cross, played the ball onto his hand in the box.
McNab dispatched the spot kick with aplomb and just a minute later he completed his hat-trick. The visitors paid the price for giving him room as like last week, he collected a long ball on the right, took aim and buried it into the back of the net.
Tauranga have now moved into fourth place on the table, jumping over Fencibles who lost to Waiuku, and are only five points off second spot. They have another testing challenge this weekend when they travel to Auckland to take on third placed Oratia.
McNab's form must now put him in contention for selection for the WAIBOP United squad. He is a proven goal scorer, with his 23 goals to date this season placing him on top of the Golden Boot ladder.