It took 93 minutes for today's Super City derby to spring to life, when 18-year old Auckland City substitute David Browne broke Waitakere United hearts with a last minute winner.
After the dull, frictionless stalemate drifted into injury time, Browne provided a rare moment of inspiration, latching on to a long John Irving through ball before calmly slotting home past Waitakere goalkeeper Daniel Robinson.
The 400-odd crowd at Whenuapai were left frustrated for large chunks of the game, which lacked passion, intensity and general entertainment and looked more like a pre-season hit out than one of the biggest games on the domestic calender.
Waitakere set their defensive stall deep to negate Auckland's speedy attack and their game plan spawned a midfield battle that neither side really won.
Auckland dominated possession without breaking Waitakere down and only looked defensively vulnerable from a few set pieces, while Waitakere battled hard in midfield but lacked a cutting edge up front.
Waitakere player-coach Brian Shelley took a gamble by starting Stoke under 21 striker Derice Richards who had only arrived in New Zealand at 7pm on Friday night, but his partnership with Adam Dickinson never looked like opening up a solid looking Auckland back four.
Despite Auckland also struggling to unlock the Waitakere defence, coach Ramon Tribulietx cut a relaxed figure as the clock ticked down, only making one change in the 84th minute, to bring on Browne.
The pacey Papua New Guinean youth international made an immediate impact, linking well with Emiliano Tade and Ryan DeVries to create a few late half-chances.
In the end, it took an uncharacteristic Auckland long ball to unlock the Waitakere defence, as player-coach Brian Shelley misjudged a defensive header, allowing Browne to sneak in behind.
"I'm glad Ramon put me on, I was dying to get out there," said Browne. "I didn't have much time to get into the game but the through ball from John was spot on, and it just worked out perfectly. The game was a bit dead for bits, but to come on and score the winner, I'm just very happy."
Shelley saw a lot of positives from the match, especially defensively where he said his side looked structurally sound.
"We're a new team, a new group of players and I thought that when they had it, we frustrated them quite a lot and dealt with most things they threw at us. We probably didn't create enough to win the game but I'm gutted we didn't take the point away.
"With five minutes to go we were just looking to hold what we had and take a point, I would have been pleased with that. But Auckland are a quality team and the know how to win games.
"It was still a hell of a difference from last season. They were able to open us up pretty easy last year in all the games, and it didn't happen today."
In today's other match Southern United collected their first points of the season, beating Canterbury United 1-0 in Christchurch.