Claudelands Rovers righted the wrongs of last weekend's shock defeat to Melville United to claim a monumental win over league leaders Tauranga City AFC and haul themselves back to the summit of the table.

It was the game Claudelands needed to win. A loss would had put them six points behind Tauranga City, and destiny out of their own hands, but with this win Claudelands still control that destiny.

It was the team's best game since their opener against Tauranga Blue Rovers, led by a spirited performance from the backline of Abbie Watson, Kelly Le Quesne, Stephanie Andrews-Paul and Gemma Cottrell, guided by Georgia Williams in between the posts.

Between the defence and the midfield, Tauranga struggled to break, with only a couple of efforts testing Williams.

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Up front Claudeland's Stacey Palmer was causing havoc on the left wing and could have had a hat-trick in the first half were it not for dogged defending and stellar goalkeeping from Tauranga's defence.

The first half wore on with both teams fighting for the crucial first goal, but none could find a way through both the goalkeepers, and going into the shed Tauranga would be the happier of the two teams knowing a draw would still keep them ahead.

In the second half Claudelands kept pushing to make their break.

In the midfield, Rachel Porteous and Paige McCloskey were breaking up numerous Tauranga attacks to spring their own which eventually led to the opening goal of the game.

A free kick floated in by Stephanie Andrews-Paul found its way to the feet of Natalie Dixon. Her shot was blocked by the Tauranga keeper but the rebound found its way to Stella Neems who made no mistake from five yards out to put Claudelands 1-0 up.

The goal opened the game up, with Tauranga now having to push harder for a goal, allowing Claudelands to spring on the counter attack.

Pressure from Stacey Palmer and Stella Neems eventually allowed Rhiannon Jones to double the lead with a rifled shot from outside the box and to give Claudelands a 2-0 cushion.

A man of the match performance from Gemma Cottrell (left) and Stacey Palmer led Claudelands to a 2-0 win over Tauranga City AFC. Photo / Evahn Martinsen
A man of the match performance from Gemma Cottrell (left) and Stacey Palmer led Claudelands to a 2-0 win over Tauranga City AFC. Photo / Evahn Martinsen

Claudelands held on to the 2-0 scoreline, and secured their spot back level with Tauranga City at the top of the table.

After the game coach Tai Ballantyne credited the team's performance and was impressed with the much more improved pressing off the ball from his players.

The team now faces a trip down to Whakatāne with another win needed to keep their hopes alive of returning to the Northern Premier League.