Auckland City continued their perfect start to the 2012/13 ASB Premiership today, notching a come-from-behind 3-1 win over ten-man Otago United in Dunedin on a day when the early pacesetters all notched important wins.
Canterbury United got their first points of the season with a 1-0 win over Team Wellington in the Wellington Phoenix curtain-raiser while defending champs Waitakere United edged Waikato FC 1-0 in Whenuapai to leave Waikato, Otago and Team Wellington as the only winless teams after two rounds.
Julyan Collett's second goal of the season after 13 minutes was enough to defeat Team Wellington 1-0 in the capital for only the second time in eight years. The home side's assignment wasn't helped by Solomon Islands international, Henry Fa'arodo, experiencing a visa delay.
In Dunedin, Otago led Auckland City through Regan Coldicott's goal in the 62nd minute, but in a tense encounter, Coldicott soon turned villain when he was sent off with eleven minutes left. While it took Auckland almost 32 minutes to restore parity through substitute Luis Corrales 85th minute equaliser, they needed just four more for another substitute, Alex Feneridis, to shoot them into the lead.
With the game opening up as both team pressed for maximum points, Luis Corrales's second goal of the game - a one on one with former team-mate Liam Little - two minutes into time added on capped Auckland's comeback and a perfect two-from-two start to the season.
In Napier, a double by Sean Lovemore guided Hawke's Bay United to a 4-2 win over YoungHeart Manawatu to leave the Chris Greatholder-coached outfit second on the table. Stephen Hoyle opened the scoring with just six minutes on the clock before former All White midfielder Cole Peverley doubled the lead in the 21st minute.
Lovemore heaped further misery on the visitors with the home side's third two minutes into time added on in the first half before notching his second and Bay's fourth within sixty seconds of the restart.
Lovemore's four goals for the season leave him joint top of the Golden Boot table with Tom Mosquera, who alongside substitute Lewis Cumber, scored once each for the visitors to set up a nervy finish for the home team. Manawatu still lie fourth on the table, with a superior goal difference keeping them in the top four ahead of Canterbury.
Waitakere United move up to third place on the table with their second win of the season, despite a dour performance in a 1-0 win over Waikato FC at Whenuapai.
David Mulligan played the role of hero for the defending champions, scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot after Rory Turner was adjudged to have handled the ball in the 66th minute. Waikato FC's best chance was a Ryan Thomas lob that hit the underside of the crossbar late in the first half.
Next Sunday, Auckland can maintain their playoff charge at home to Hawke's Bay in a mouth-watering showdown between two sides with 100% records, while Waitakere - the premiership's other team with a 100% record - travels to YoungHeart Manawatu.
Sunday's other fixtures see Team Wellington take on Waikato FC at Porritt Stadium in Hamilton, while the match of the round is the South Island derby between Canterbury United and Otago United at ASB Football Park in Christchurch.