An 89th-minute winner from Northland FC's Lewis Miller broke a spirited Papatoetoe side in the Lotto NRFL Division Two.

The late strike was the only goal in a tight affair.

Bottom-placed Papatoetoe set themselves up to frustrate the visitors and the plan nearly worked as they defended doggedly and restricted Northland to shots from distance for large parts of the match.

Northland enjoyed the lion's share of the possession, playing most of the game in their opponent's half but could not find a way through despite the best efforts of the front four.


Ben Mortimer, in for the suspended Kyle Mack was outstanding on the left side of defence and the midfield pair of Lewis Miller and Johnny Fletcher dominated the middle of the park.

In the end, it was a piece of quick thinking from Steve Schimmel that settled the tie.

Spotting Miller unmarked from a free-kick, he tapped the ball to Miller who was able to bypass the wall and fire into the top corner before running over to pull some shapes with his teammates in an obviously rehearsed goal celebration.

Head coach Dan Johnston said it was a top defensive effort.

"It was a game that I thought had got away from us, but as is so often the case at this level, one moment of quality is often what separates sides," he said.

"Lewis pulled it out the bag for us today. He'll get the headlines, but the performance of the team and the clean sheet are the things I'm happiest with."

Northland are at home to Claudelands Rovers next week and stay fourth in the table.

Meanwhile the Stafford Choat Cup reached the third round, with the weekend's fixtures highlighted by a bunch of close affairs.

Kerikeri Bay Builders required a penalty shootout to defeat a tough Central Brown side.

Neither side could be separated as they ended extra time tied at 2-all but Kerikeri held their nerve to win the penalty shootout 4-2.

Kamo grabbed a nervous win over FC Whangarei, coming away with the spoils 2-1.

Tikipunga were given a scare by FC Whangarei Reserves before winning 3-2, while Mangawhai defeated Kerikeri Reserves 2-1.

Onerahi Cowleys Hire and Kaitaia United had easier times of it as they picked up 9-0 victories over Kerikeri Masters and Onerahi Reserves respectively.

The other results saw Madhatters and Tikipunga Reserves grab wins.

In the bowl competition Madhatters Green toppled Kamo Whangarei Aluminium in a penalty shootout, taking that 7-6.

Central Brown Reserves and Kamo Reserves were the other winners while Tikipunga Orange had the bye.