The favourites for the ISPS Handa Premiership title have climbed to the top of the leaderboard after round four.
Defending champions Team Wellington, who earlier this year claimed the Charity Cup, showed their experience to overcome Tasman United 2-1 at home, while eight-time champions Auckland City FC hit top gear when they put away Hamilton Wanderers 6-0 at Kiwitea St.
The matchup between Jose Figuera’s side and a resurgent Tasman United proved an intriguing fixture and Tom Jackson stepped up when his team needed him most to clinch the three points in injury time.
Jackson, the Golden Boot winner of the 2016 – 17 in Team Wellington’s surge to back-to-back titles, got the hosts off to an ideal start when he converted a fine cross with a header in the seventh minute.
Former Wellington Phoenix star Paul Ifill came on early in the second half and two minutes after taking the pitch his name was on the scoresheet to get Tasman back on level terms.
The visitors were the better side for much of the game, but Team Wellington found a way to win with Jackson converting a late chance in injury time to ensure the home fans went home happy.
Meanwhile up in Auckland, it was all one-way traffic as the Navy Blues showed their class for their biggest win of the season.
Prominent forwards Ryan De Vries and Emiliano Tade both scored in each half and fellow forward Callum McCowatt chipped in with one more. A second half own goal rounded out the scorecard.
Auckland City, who had got off to a slow start to the ISPS Handa Premiership, continued their recent resurgence with a dominant display in both halves. They are top of the table on goal difference with both of Auckland City and Team Wellington playing an extra game at this stage.
Crosstown rivals Waitakere United had a frustrating day out west when they were upset 2-1 by Southern United at Trusts Stadium. The five-time Premiership champions, who have won only once this season, went ahead through Eder Franchini-Pasten in the 70th minute when he finished a chance from inside the box.
But the visitors jumped to life after going behind and two carbon copy goals from Danny Furlong in injury time saw Southern United take home a valuable three points. Southern went into stoppage a goal down before Furlong poached one from a knock down in the box and then scored from the same spot two minutes later for an unlikely win.
Also in Auckland, Eastern Suburbs lost their first game of the season, going down 2-1 in a tight affair with Hawkes Bay United. Brett Angell’s team took the lead in the 20th minute when a fine cross came in from left and Bjorn Christiesen was on hand to finish. It was a lead they took into half-time and then Christiesen doubled the advantage when he finished well in the 52nd minute.
Danny Hay’s team, who had got off to a perfect start to the ISPS Handa Premiership, rallied and got back within one when Max Mata scored in the 77th minute. The home side finished strongly but Hawke’s Bay United held on for a valuable three points away from home to move into fourth place.
The final game of the round – the Wellington Phoenix hosting the Canterbury United Dragons – was postponed to weekend of February 10/11 due to the clash with the All Whites versus Peru in the FIFA World Cup Intercontinental Playoff.
ISPS Handa Premiership Round Four Results
Team Wellington 2 (Tom Jackson 7’, 90’ + 3’) Tasman United 1 (Paul Ifill 56’) HT 1-0
Auckland City FC 6 (Ryan De Vries 14’, 90’, Callum McCowatt 27’, Emiliano Tade 42’, 78’, Own goal 67’) Hamilton Wanderers 0 HT 3-0
Waitakere United 1 (Eder Franchini-Pasten 70’) Southern United 2 (Danny Furlong 90’ +1’, 90’ +3’) HT 0-0
Eastern Suburbs 1 (Max Mata 77’) Hawkes Bay United 2 (Bjorn Christiesen 20’, 52’) HT 0-1
For more information contact
NZ Football Media and Communications Manager
+64 27 403 8905