Waitakere United have broken a points record under the 14-game soccer competition format for the ASB Premiership after thumping Hawke's Bay United 3-0 at Bluewater Stadium, Napier, yesterday.
Waitakere United's win ended the Bay's eight-match unbeaten run on home turf and also saw Canterbury United - 4-1 winners over bottom-placed YoungHeart Manawatu - leapfrog the Bay into third place.
Auckland City broke a scoring record of their own downing Waikato FC 7-1 at Kiwitea St, the first time in premiership history the navy blues have scored seven goals and only the third time they have won a match by a six-goal margin since 2004.
Team Wellington - eliminated from the playoff chase the previous week - dumped Otago United 2-0 at Rugby Park in Invercargill to ensure the home side end the 2012-13 season without a home win for the first time in the club's nine-year history.
With just one match remaining, Otago, Manawatu and Waikato are desperate to avoid the wooden spoon with all three clubs having accumulated the worst points return for positions six to eight in ASB Premiership records.
Waitakere can become the second team to win an ASB Minor Premiership without losing a game, matching Auckland City's achievement last season, if they can take points off Canterbury United at Fred Taylor Park this Sunday.
In Christchurch, Canterbury leapfrogged the Bay United into third place by beating beat Manawatu 4-1 thanks to an Aaron Clapham hat-trick.
Clapham scored with two penalties, one in each half, and a long-range shot from 22m, to set up an easy victory. Russell Kamo's second-half strike rounded off the scoring for the Dragons, while Seule Soromon netted from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to provide some consolation for YoungHeart Manawatu. This Saturday Wellington finish the regular season at home to a Bay side needing points to avoid fourth place and a semifinal showdown with defending champions Waitakere on March 3 and 10.
On Sunday Auckland City will travel to Palmerston North to take on a YoungHeart Manawatu side desperate to avoid a hat-trick of wooden-spoon finishes, while Otago head for Hamilton to face Waikato in what amounts to a winner-take-all sixth place playoff at Porritt Stadium, should Auckland overcome Manawatu as expected.
Waitakere's match with Canterbury United looms as a potential grand-final rehearsal where a win for the visitors would see them clinch third place and secure an "easier" semifinal with runners-up Auckland City.