Ngongotahā coach Andrew Gibbs hopes his team are reaching a turning point after encouraging signs in defeat to the Northern Regional Football League 's second division's top team on Saturday.
McDonald's Ngongotahā Men's NRFL first team were beaten 7-2 by competition leaders Claudelands Rovers. The Hamilton side are the only unbeaten team across all three divisions.
Despite his side's defeat, Ngongotahā are yet to win this season, Gibbs is positive they are heading in the right direction.
"I can't have too many complaints. They were the best side we have played this year and it was also our best performance this year."
Ngongotahā went into Saturday's fixture on the back of two goalless games and Gibbs says he is happy to see his team scoring on the counterattack.
"The turning point was all three goals in the first half were soft, and I said if we can cut those soft goals out were are in the game."
Ngongotahā are in a similar position to last season, where they were without a win midway through and then surged to a mid-table finish.
"It would be very easy to play a game like that and get more down on confidence, none of my boys took it like that. They knew they had caused some problems on the counterattack and couple of goals does the world of good.
"A big key to our success last year is we got into a really focused mode where we didn't care who was playing us, we just focused on what we had to do really well. If we can do that, we can be a problem for anyone."
Ngongotahā host fifth-placed Auckland club Unimount Bohemian Celtic on Saturday and Gibbs wants his team to build on the effort against Claudelands.
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"We go into this Saturday really fired up. We see them as an opportunity to knock someone off and start our run – anytime sooner rather than later would be good. If we play the sort of football we want to play and put them under pressure we will see where it goes."
In the first division, Tauranga City had a two-all draw with Bucklands Beach. The result extended their unbeaten run to three games, including a Chatham Cup victory last week.
Tauranga are seventh on the table, but are just six points behind third-placed Bucklands.
Tauranga Host Three Kings United at Links Ave on Saturday.
Northern League Football results
Tauranga City 2 Bucklands Beach 2, Bay Olympic 1 Waiheke United 1, Hibiscus Coast 0 Takapuna 6, Mt Albert-Ponsonby 4 Fencibles United 1, Three Kings United 2 Ellerslie 1, Waitemata 1 Forrest Hill-Milford United 2.
Second division: Ngongotahā 2 Claudelands Rovers 7, Albany United 2 Franklin United 4, Manurewa 0 Metro 3, Northland 1 Cambridge 2, Onehunga-Mangere United 1 Oratia United 1, Uni-Mt Bohemian Celtic 1 Greenhithe Catimba 1.
Northern League draw for Saturday, May 25
Tauranga City v Three Kings United, Fencibles Utd v Waitemata, Takapuna v Mt Albert Ponsonby, Waiheke Utd v Hibiscus Coast, Bucklands Beach v Forrest Hill Milford, Ellerslie v Bay Olympic.
Second division: Ngongotahā v Unimount Bohemian Celtic, Cambridge v Manurewa, Oratia United v Northland, Franklin United v Onehunga Mangere, Greenhithe Catimba v Albany United, Claudelands Rovers v Metro.