Playing against Canterbury United – the side in second place coming into the weekend’s action – at ASB Football Park in Christchurch, the visitors knew a victory in what was their final game of the year could be enough to clinch the league crown depending on other results.
And in typical fashion for the league in 2015, they did so in dramatic style, Jack Imray scoring the winner in the second minute of stoppage time to claim a 2-1 victory after first half goals from Finn Moore (Team Wellington) and Aidan Barbour-Ryan (Canterbury Utd).
The result pushed Team Wellington to 24 points for the season off the back of eight wins from their 11 matches, a tally out of the reach of the chasing pack who all have next weekend’s final round remaining to play.
Waitakere United, third coming into Sunday, had their title dreams ended by Southern United at Tahuna Park in Dunedin on Sunday.
The hosts, early leaders of the competition, went fourth with a 5-4 win courtesy of doubles to Ben Kiore and Ryan Fleming and a Lewis Jackson goal.
Waitakere, who held a third minute lead through Niko Kirwan, didn’t quite have enough on the day despite further goals to Noah Billingsley, Jack Gusmeroli and a Judd Baker stoppage time strike.
Auckland City moved to within a point of Canterbury United in second place with an emphatic 6-1 victory over the Wellington Phoenix at Kiwitea Street on Sunday.
Late first half goals to Oscar Ramsay and Reid Drake had the hosts 2-0 up at the break before they added four further goals in the second half through Drake, Myer Bevan, Connor Cahill-Fahey and George Debenham. Merlin Luke-Miny struck the only goal in reply for the Phoenix with 11 minutes to go.
WaiBOP United occupy sixth place after their 2-1 win over Manawatu United at Memorial Park in Palmerston North.
Second half goals five minutes apart from Bailey Webster (pen) and Jacob Mechell had the visitors clear enough to claim the points after Jayde Thompson-Ashford’s stoppage time goal for the hosts.
Defending champions Nelson Marlborough Falcons sit in seventh place going into the final round after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Auckland United at Centre Park in Mangere.
Jaiden van der Heijden gave the hosts a 20th minute lead only for Sean Parkes to restore parity with what proved to be the final goal of the game just four minutes later. Auckland United sit in eighth place after the draw.
On Saturday, Hawke’s Bay were again denied their first win of the season – conceding an equaliser to Heartland Wairarapa in the second minute of stoppage time at Petane Domain in Napier for a 2-2 draw.
Ross Willox gave the hosts a 10th minute lead before Tim Fenton levelled for Heartland seven minutes before halftime. Cheauxyan Maukau-McPhee restored Hawke’s Bay’s advantage just after the hour mark and the team again seemed set for their first victory until Taylor Hall-Jones found the back of the hosts’ net in the second minute of added time.
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football