A week after a cluster of upsets, Round Four of the Stirling Sports Premiership went more by the form book as every favourite tasted victory in a bumper five-game Sunday slate.

The game of the round came in the capital, where Team Wellington came from 2-0 down to crush Hamilton Wanderers 5-2.

Team Wellington had started their title defence slowly with just three points from their opening three games, and sloppy defending had them facing an uphill battle as Wanderers took an early lead.

However, some stunning individual goals turned the contest in favour of the hosts. Joel Stevens belted two fantastic strikes, while Tom Jackson added a penalty and a superb solo effort to put Wellington well in control. Justin Gulley added a fifth to complete the comeback and seal the second win of the season for the defending champions.


Perhaps matching that contest for drama was the clash between Canterbury United and the Phoenix Under 20s. The Phoenix youngsters went ahead early, only to have promising defender Jack Henry-Sinclair and goalkeeper Keegan Smith sent off. As a result, Canterbury stormed back into the lead, and a late Stephen Hoyle double sealed a comfortable 4-1 win.

Elsewhere, Nelson's first National League game in 16 years was a disappointment for home fans, with a double to Saul Halpin leading Hawke's Bay United to a 3-1 win over Tasman United, who are still searching for their first win.

Also still winless are Southern United, who nearly snared a surprise point against six-time champions Auckland City. Southern had snatched a draw against Waitakere United the week earlier, but couldn't repeat the result as Fabrizio Tavano struck an 82nd minute winner for Ramon Tribulietx's side.

A solitary goal was all that separated Eastern Suburbs and Waitakere United as well. Swedish import Armin Pasagic scored what proved to be the decisive goal just after halftime for Suburbs as they bounced back from a 4-0 drubbing the week before.

Auckland City lead the way on 10 points, having played a game more than their closest rivals Eastern Suburbs (nine points) and Canterbury United (eight). Waitakere United sit in the fourth finals spot on seven points, having also played an extra game.

TABLE: Auckland City 10, Eastern Suburbs 9, Canterbury United 8, Waitakere United 7, Hawke's Bay United 6, Team Wellington 6, Hamilton Wanderers 6, Wellington Phoenix U-20 4, Tasman United 2, Southern United 1