Northland claimed all the points yesterday with a 2-1 win over Claudelands Rovers at Onerahi yesterday in the Lotto NRFL Division 2.
Captain Steve Schimmel scored from the penalty spot twice to secure the win, but the hosts should have scored from open play.
Northland really took the game to their opponents, but in spite of creating openings and playing most of the game inside the Claudeland's half they could not break the deadlock until the 32nd minute, when Schimmel latched onto a through ball and was taken down by the 'keeper for a penalty.
He duly converted to open the scoring.
The second half carried on in a similar vein, with Northland dominating possession but lacking the cutting edge to finish off their opponents.
A flurry of opportunities led to the second goal, with Claudelands throwing bodies at the ball and a shot on goal striking the hand of one of their defenders in the box.
The skipper completed the job and repeated what he had done at the other end to double the lead.
The saying goes that 'a two goal lead in football is a dangerous thing', and it proved correct for the last 25 minutes yesterday.
Northland eased off a bit and allowed Claudelands to come at them, and they were rewarded for their efforts 12 minutes from time when Jason Shaw pulled one back to set up a nervy finish.
Head coach Dan Johnston said there are improvements to be made despite the result.
"In the end we did enough to get the points, but I don't think we gave the best account of ourselves in the second half," he said.
"I'm happy with the win and the points and we played some nice football in parts but overall I think we could have been a bit better today."
Northland head on the road again next week to play Mangere United.
In the Northland Women's Premier competition, Kamo have inched closer to claiming the title with a strong win.
Kamo grabbed a vital 5-1 victory over Central Brown as two of the top sides in the competition went head to head.
They now move four points clear of their latest opponents with just three rounds to go.
Bay Cosmos also picked up a convincing win, defeating Tikipunga Diamonds 4-1.
The other match saw Kaikohe beat Onerahi 2-0.
Kerikeri clinched the Northland Premier Men's Division without playing in the competition this weekend.
Central Brown fell to Tikipunga 3-1 meaning they won't be able catch the competition leaders, making the rest of the season a formality.
Kamo picked up a win 5-2 win over Bream Bay United thanks to a top effort from Keegan Baddeley.
Baddeley picked up four goals in a sublime performance while Sammy Oso scored with an overhead bicycle kick.
Kerikeri were in action over the weekend, clinching a Federation One Cup finals berth in a penalty shootout victory over Glen Eden Rangers.
The two sides couldn't be separated in a high-scoring encounter. After finishing regulation time 4-4, they both added a goal in extra time to take it through to penalties.
Kerikeri held their nerve to win the shootout 4-3, booking the meeting with Takapuna Boca Seniors in the final in Auckland on September 2.