Auckland City have wrestled back prime position in the Stirling Sports Premiership after a 1-0 win over Eastern Suburbs.

Consistently front-runners in the competition over the years, Auckland had suffered a slow start to the season to be in the middle of a renewed pack of title contenders.

Yet, after returning from the Club World Cup, Ramon Tribulietx's men are back in control after edging Suburbs, who were riding high at the top of the table.

An Emiliano Tade penalty proved the difference between the two teams; the prolific striker scoring on the second attempt, with a re-take ordered due to encroachment after his first penalty was saved.

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The win moves Auckland to second on the ladder with 16 points, tied with Suburbs and one point behind Team Wellington, but the six-time champions have a vital game in hand on their challengers.

Team Wellington missed their chance to open up a buffer atop the table, held to a 3-3 draw by Canterbury United at David Farrington Park.

Goals to Andy Bevin and Tom Jackson gave Wellington an early two-goal lead, but Canterbury stalwart Aaron Clapham pulled one back before the break with a quality free-kick.

Wellington were given a huge advantage when Canterbury import Gary Ogilvie was sent off at half-time for headbutting an opponent.

However, it was Canterbury who came out of the sheds firing, winning a penalty which Clapham converted before future All White Andre de Jong finished off a counter-attack to put the visitors 3-2 up.

They couldn't hold onto their advantage with 10 men though, and while Wellington had Justin Gulley sent off in injury time, Jackson had already struck to seal a draw.

In the other game played on Sunday, Hamilton Wanderers took out a 6-4 goalfest over Hawke's Bay United.

Tied 1-1 at halftime, the game erupted in the second stanza. Hamilton took a 3-1 lead, then, as the meme dictates, blew it as United came back to level the scores.

However, the sloppy yet entertaining contest was capped off by three more Wanderers strikes and one Bay consolation as Wanderers kept themselves in the thick of the playoff race.