The top three leaders of the Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership have maintained their positions after each securing wins at the weekend, but at the other end of the scale things look almost over for Te Puke.
The top two, Flying Mullet Pāpāmoa and ninetyblack Taupō, played the bottom two, West Hamilton United and Safer Team Te Puke United respectively. Both looked likely to be routine wins but Taupō were pushed all the way in their 1-0 win over a Te Puke side that knew defeat would confirm their relegation.
Te Puke's defeat means they cannot finish the season outside the bottom two as they sit seven points off 10th with two games remaining. Taupō's win maintained their five-point gap behind Pāpāmoa with two games in hand.
Pāpāmoa made easier work of their 3-0 win over West Hamilton. Goals inside the first 20 minutes from Colm Kenny and Andrew Cooper removed any doubts of it being a tricky afternoon before Kenny's second on the hour confirmed the three points for the current Premiership leaders.
Ōtūmoetai overcame a halftime deficit to beat 10th placed Ngaruawahia 2-1 at Fergusson Park. Noor Mire gave the Green Machine the half time lead, before Jordi Langston levelled the game 20 minutes after the restart. Ryan Peddle was Ōtūmoetai's match winner 13 minutes from time. Anything other than victory would have meant the end of Ōtūmoetai's faint title hopes.
Fourth-placed Waikato Unicol and Waikato rivals Gisler Architects Te Awamutu shared the points after a 2-all draw at Jansen Park. Te Awamutu held the halftime lead after two goals in a minute just before the half hour had overturned a lead given to Unicol only minutes earlier by Thomas Wright. Te Awamutu went close to bagging all three points, hanging on until deep into added time when Unicol's Krishaant Singh popped up with the equaliser.
Tauranga Blue Rovers stay fifth after a joyless visit to the Matamata Domain. Comag Matamata Swifts made it 16 goals in three games as they won 5-0 thanks in large part to Brad West's hatrick. Chris Walker also struck for the Swifts, while Jamie Baxter's late free kick rounded out the scoring.
Futsal White Jordi Ditfort scored a second half brace to help Melville overturn a half time deficit at Tauranga Boys' College but it wasn't enough to secure all three points. Scott Hawkins had given Tauranga Boys' a first half lead before Braxton Fisher struck three minutes from the end to ensure the match ended 2-all.
On Sunday, Claudelands Rovers moved back to the top of W-League table. A late Stephanie Andrews-Paul goal gave Rovers a 2-1 victory at Whakatāne Town while at the same time previous leaders, Tilemax Pāpāmoa, were held to a 1-all draw at home by Melville United.
Tauranga City, the third horse in the W-League race, smashed cross-town rivals Ōtūmoetai 11-0 as they kept their own title chances alive.
The W-League title now looks like being decided by the two games still to be played between Rovers and City. Both games are at Links Ave, which could give City the advantage but they will likely need to win them both to edge ahead of Rovers.
Bulk Lines Otorohanga's season long march to The Soccer Shop Championship title has almost reached it's conclusion. Otorohanga won comfortably again on Saturday, 8-1 at Tokoroa, while second-placed Claudelands surprisingly tasted the agony of a 3-1 defeat at Flying Mullet Pāpāmoa Reserves.
Otorohanga now have a seven-point lead at the top of the Championship table with three games to play.
In the other Championship games, Tauranga City won 2-0 at Waikato Unicol's Reserves and Ōtūmoetai's Reserves were held to a 2-all draw by Hamilton Wanderers. These results kept Unicol in third, while Tauranga moved ahead of Ōtūmoetai into fourth on goals scored.
Taupō's reserves stayed sixth after a 5-2 win at Cambridge while Tauranga Blue Rovers Reserves won 2-1 at Waharoa Transport Matamata Reserves.
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