Ngongotahā AFC may have lost 3-1 to Takapuna yesterday, but their overall performance was much improved on what they produced two months ago.
When the side's met in the third round of the Northern Region Football league Division 2 in April, Ngongotahā were all at sea as Takapuna romped to a 6-1 victory.
Ngongotahā have improved immensely since that game and created plenty of opportunities against the competition leaders at Tamarahi Reserve yesterday.
Ngongotahā coach Andrew Gibbs said his side had the better of the game, but Takapuna were able to turn the few chances they had into goals.
"I was really, really pleased actually, playing the top of the table, I don't think 3-1 really reflected the game at all. Realistically a 1-all draw probably would've been a fair reflection of the game.
"We were certainly more effective than them in the first half. Last time we played them they gave us a bit of a schooling in football, they played with a lot of width and did a lot of two-man plays down the line. This time we set up to stop that and we were very effective at doing that.
"It's still a massive ask for players to change to a formation that they're not used to and to nullify a team that are very, very good," Gibbs said.
He said a lack of a final pass and some of the finishing was lacking at times.
"At times we had two-on-one or three-on-one situations, but we weren't able to beat the defender with the last pass. That's a work-on and it's a bit of a 'what could have been' situation.
"We've been working on it all season and we actually have some really gifted goal scorers. Probably at the start of the season we didn't do enough hard work in the area and I think it's just a case of confidence, we'll get there."
He said two of the standout players from the game were centre backs Cormac Waller and Jordyn McKay.
"We've got two very young centre backs. Jordyn's actually a natural striker or wing player and we're turning him into a centre back. I've shown a bit of faith in them and yesterday they were just immense, they hardly put a foot wrong," he said.
Ngongotahā 1 (Hayden Booker 80') Takapuna 3 (Elliott Dooley 37', Matt Hawke 69', Tommy Miller 81'). HT: 0-1.