After a tough first round loss, the Northland FC men's first team got their season back on track with a tight, 1-0 win against Ngongotaha AFC on Saturday.
Playing at home against their Rotorua-based opponents, the Northland boys set out to correct their errors from last week but despite having the majority of possession, the game remained goalless until Kyle Levell smashed home the match-winner in the 81st minute.
"It was a funny game because they pretty much set out to frustrate us and spoil our day, they were really difficult to break down," head coach Owen Liiv said.
Both sides put up strong defensive performances which made it difficult for either team to carve out any good opportunities in front of goal.
"So often in those games you'd be on top in terms of possession and chances created but the score stays 0-0 and you make one mistake and they score and you end up losing," Liiv said.
"I'm grateful to the boys at the back for holding firm although we need to do more and I know we have it in us, we'll go back to the training ground to take it up a level next week."
He said the team's confidence took a hit after the first round loss and to come back a better side in the next game was crucial.
"It was really important to bounce back with a win because it shows the boys that we can do it and hopefully we go from strength to strength."
The side will come up against newcomers Greenhithe Catimba at 3pm on Saturday at QBE Stadium in Auckland. The Northland FC men's reserve team also won their game against Ngongotaha reserves, 3-1 and will play a mirror fixture at 12.30pm.
The Northland FC women's team also tasted victory in the first round of their season, beating Hibiscus Coast 1-0 in Whangaparaoa on Sunday in the AFF/NFF women's conference.
The win would have tasted extra sweet for the team as it was Hibiscus Coast who knocked Northland out of the semifinal in last year's cup competition. The side next plays Eastern Suburbs Yellow in Auckland on Sunday.
In Northland's men's club competition, last year's champions, Onerahi Duder Construction carried on their destructive form against Tikipunga Metalcraft Roofing, winning 6-1.
Onerahi coach Grant Short credited the side's good preseason which helped the team keep their composure after conceding early.
"We would have liked the clean-sheet but it was good to come back from one down, because it seemed like we were comfortable up to then and the guys responded really well."
He said the team's style needed refining before next weekend's game and he felt his side had more to give as the season progressed.
Other games in the round finished with Kaeo-Inter beating Kerikeri Bay Builders 1-0 and Madhatters City Motors beating FC Whangārei 2-1.
Last year's women's club competition winners, Onerahi Heritage Homes, were even better in their first outing of the season, trumping Bream Bay United 7-2 in their game on Sunday.
Other results finished with Kerikeri Fairview beating Central Brown 7-1, Kamo beating Bay Cosmos 5-0 and Madhatters Stonehaven beating Tikipunga AFC 3-2.