An acrobatic scissors kick from All White Aaron Clapham kept Canterbury United in the hunt for their first ASB Premiership crown after they fought back to draw 1-1 with league leaders Auckland City at Kiwitea Street today.
It was just the second time this season that Auckland have dropped points at home and the result keeps Keith Braithwaite's men three-points behind last year's Championship winners, in second place.
Auckland striker Adam Dickinson fired his side into an early lead after eight minutes, fielding a clearance on the edge of the area and driving home a powerful strike.
Just after halftime Clapham capitalised on a defensive deflection to equalise with a real opportunist's goal, swiveling then smashing from inside the box. It was the Canterbury midfielders sixth of the season and puts him level with Auckland's Emiliano Tade and Waitakere's Richie Cardozo at the top of the Golden Boot charts.
Auckland substitute Chris Bale picked up a red card in the 90th minute after he was booked for a late tackle and then compounded the damage with another yellow for talking back to the ref.
Team Wellington dropped to fifth on the ladder after fighting out a thrilling 2-2 draw with struggling Southern United in Dunedin.
Southern have had a roller-coaster of results over the past two weeks, first beating Waitakere 3-1 away and then losing 6-1 at home to Hawkes Bay.
But yesterday they found some more consistency to earn just their third result of the season. Jacob Schneider opened the scoring for Southern after two minutes before Henry Fa'arodo and Joel Stevens swung the pendulum back in Wellington's favour. Regan Coldicott produced a moment of brilliance to snatch the equaliser, receiving the ball on halfway and beating two defenders before calmly slotting home.
Waitakere took advantage of the top-three dropping points by snapping their three match losing streak with a comprehensive 6-1 win over SC Wanderers at North Harbour Stadium.
Goals from Jordan Lowdon, Maksim Manko, Dylan Stansfield (2), Cardozo and Sansern Limwatthana helped push the West Auckland side back into the top-four after they dropped out last week for the first time in nine years.
On Saturday, Hawkes Bay survived a late scare from WaiBOP to win 3-2, after going 3-0 up after 28 minutes. Tom Biss, Bill Robertson and Sean Lovemore fired the Bay off to a perfect start before Jack McNab and Sam Messam pulled goals back to give them a late fright.