After beating Otumoetai 7-0, spirits were raised further around the Claudelands clubrooms on Sunday afternoon as news filtered in that title rivals Tauranga City had lost 4-1 at Papamoa.

That left Claudelands (played 13) two points ahead of Papamoa (played 14) and five ahead of Tauranga (played 12).

With the league entering the third round, any slip-up could prove costly in the race for promotion. The winners of the WaiBOP W-League face a home-and-away playoff against the AFF/NFF Women's Conference League champions.

Ellerslie top that table, closely followed by Hibiscus Coast.

Advertisement

Against Otumoetai, Claudelands produced a complete performance in the first half.

Leanna Ryan stole the show in front of goal and Stella Neems returned to form with a creative display in the middle of the attacking trio.

On multiple occasions, Neems found a burst of pace and vision that had been lacking in recent matches, with link-up play across the park and a superb run late in the second half to set up the game's last goal.

Olivia Schuler stood out at the back, with Otumoetai restricted to few chances in front of goal.

Neems opened the scoring for Claudelands just minutes into the match after a Ryan cross caused mayhem in the box, before Ryan went on to score four, including one directly from a corner.

Paige McCloskey (left) and Stella Neems were two of Claudelands stand out players. Photo / Warren Jones
Paige McCloskey (left) and Stella Neems were two of Claudelands stand out players. Photo / Warren Jones

Paige McCloskey doubled her season tally with a well-taken goal from inside the penalty area, while her midfield partners Abbie Watson and Lauren McErlean dominated for the first 45 minutes.

In the second half, the game fell slightly flat, with only one further goal.

The win puts Claudelands in a strong position but Sunday's game at Melville will be pivotal as they look to move one step closer to promotion.

Advertisement

Melville remain the only team Claudelands have yet to beat this season, losing 2-1 in the first round, before a 0-0 draw this month.

Hamilton Wanderers v Glenfield Rovers

Hamilton Wanderers look set for a top-three finish in the Northern League Women's Premier Division after a 2-2 draw against second-placed Glenfield Rovers on Sunday.

This season is proving successful for the Hamilton side, who are into the semifinals of the Kate Sheppard Cup against Eastern Suburbs at the end of August, with a chance to secure their first major trophy in recent years.

Grace Wisnewski in action for Hamilton Wanderers. Photo / Grant Stantiall
Grace Wisnewski in action for Hamilton Wanderers. Photo / Grant Stantiall

Wanderers opened the scoring, giving Glenfield the lead with an own goal, but Kate Williams equalised five minutes later.

Helen Arjomandi gave Hamilton the lead in the 45th minute but Helena Kelderman found a late goal for Glenfield Rovers to tie up the game in the 85th minute.

While the league title may be out of touch, Wanderers are continuing to cement their spot as one of the Northern League's top teams.