Premiership leaders tumble in WaiBOP football

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The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Premiership table’s upper reaches got squeezed over Easter weekend as leaders, Waikato Unicol, tasted defeat for the first time this season while a band of teams below them moved to within striking distance.

Unicol was the only Premiership side entering Easter weekend with a 100 per cent record.

Unicol had a great opportunity to blast away from the chasing pack but instead slipped to a 1-0 defeat thanks to a visiting Comag Matamata Swifts side that has made a habit of forcing such results in recent seasons. Radge Avergonzado’s goal five minutes before the break proved to be all Matamata needed to snap Unicol’s fine start to the season, while also maintaining their own solid opening.

Matches against Matamata have proved to be Unicol’s kryptonite recently, with defeats to the Swifts ending their title challenges in both of the previous two seasons. With a bit more quality they could well have halted that run this time around, but it wasn’t to be.

Matamata took their chance to not only boost their own prospects but also help a handful of other teams as well.

Unicol remain top, one point ahead of Papamoa and two ahead of Matamata, Taupo and Melville United. Papamoa didn’t play over the weekend, having already drawn their previously scheduled match against Tauranga Boys’ College 3-3, while Taupo and Melville made up ground with their second wins of the season.

The match at Crown Park was a cracker as Taupo ran out 5-2 winners over West Hamilton United, despite being two down after only nine minutes. Aaron Dass fired home from the spot in the seventh minute, then Jarred Tooley doubled the Hamiltonians’ lead two minutes later in something of a shock opening.

With over eighty minutes left, however, Taupo had plenty of time to set things to rights and they didn’t muck around. They were handed a penalty of their own on 20 minutes.

Joe O’Donoghue converted, before drawing the champions level six minutes later. Jordan Lamb finally put the Lakesiders ahead ten minutes after the break then O’Donoghue’s second successful spot kick with quarter of an hour left sealed both his hat trick and the game.

Lamb wrapped up an ultimately comfortable win with his second in added time.

Harry Coulson’s first half goal was the only thing of real note to come from Melville United’s 1-0 victory over Tauranga Blue Rovers.

It was an even encounter in which neither team could gain full control but Melville, like Taupo, have now won two in a row after taking only a point from their opening two matches.

In the only other Premiership game played over Easter, Safer Team Te Puke United and Ngaruawahia United shared the points after a 1-1 draw at Litt Park. Liban Mire had given the Green Machine a first half lead and that looked to be enough to secure all three points as the match entered added time.

Alex Johnson popped up in the 93rd minute, however, to rescue a point for Te Puke that pulled them out of the bottom two.

Bulk Lines Otorohanga, Waikato Unicol Reserves and Claudelands Rovers all remain unbeaten in The Soccer Shop WaiBOP Championship.

Otorohanga and Claudelands both had comfortable wins, while Unicol left it late before edging lowly Waharoa Transport Matamata Reserves 1-0.

Otorohanga smacked Tauranga Blue Rovers Reserves 4-0 on Good Friday, with Nathanael Wrack nabbing a brace, while Rovers’ 5-2 win at Taupo’s Reserves on Saturday was built around an Ash Gower-Rudman hat trick.

Otumoetai’s Reserves hammered Tauranga City 4-0, thanks largely to Trey Stewart’s hat trick, while Hamilton Wanderers picked up their second win of the season, 2-0 at Cambridge.

Papamoa’s reserves won their first game of the season after successfully overturning the hosts 3-1 at Tokoroa.

There were no games in The Soccer Shop WaiBOP W-League over Easter.

Match details here:

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