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Bottle-neck at top of Northern League

The Northern League has a fourth different leader, and it could be any one of four clubs.

Birkenhead United jumped over Western Springs and Auckland City to the top spot in the Northern League, part of NZ Football's National League competition, with a convincing 4-1 victory over Springs on Saturday.


Lauren Down, Polly Inglis get White Ferns contracts Central Pulse beat Mystics to continue title charge 

Birko got two second-half goals from midfielder Luke Jorgensen, including one from the penalty spot, and others from Shiv Nair and Sam Philip in the first half as they lead 4-0 until added-time.

With their eighth win in 11 matches, Birkenhead moved to 26 points, one ahead of City, who were held to a scoreless draw by Auckland United, Springs and Eastern Suburbs, who defeated Bay Olympic 1-0.

Kelvin Kalua scored the winning goal Suburbs in the 37th minute at Madills Farm, while Malcolm Young netted two goals in East Coast Bays' 3-1 victory at Manurewa, and Hamilton Wanderers scored their first win of the season, 2-1 at home against West Coast Rangers, with two goals from Ronaldo Lopez Munoz.

Birkenhead and City have a chance to create some space on their chasers, with the leaders having one match in hand and the three-time Northern League champions having played two fewer matches.

Behind the top-four, United and Tauranga City, who defeated Melville United 2-1 in Hamilton on Sunday, both have 20 points as they try to keep pace in the race for National League berths.

Fresh off shock second round Chatham Cup exits, Cashmere Technical defeated Christchurch United 4-2 in a crucial Southern League encounter on Saturday.

Lachlan McIsaac scored a pair of second-half goals at Garrick Memorial Park, while Jack Hallahan and Yuya Taguchi also found the net as Technical maintained their league lead, now two points over Coastal Spirit.

Christchurch United led 2-1 in the 58th minute after goals from Matt Brazier and David Yoo, but Technical immediately responded with three goals in nine minutes to take all three points.

Alejandro Steinwascher moved to second in goals in the Southern League, with two strikes in Coastal's 5-1 victory over UC Football, while Lennon Whewell and Trevin Myers each scored a brace in Nelson Suburbs' 6-2 win over Dunedin City Royals, and Nomads United defeated Ferrymead Bays 2-1 on Nick Simpson's 82nd-minute goal.

In the Central League, defending National League champions Wellington Olympic picked up three crucial points from a 2-0 victory over Napier City Rovers in a top-three clash at Wakefield Park on Saturday.

Jonty Roubos scored in the 61st minute and Tor Davenport Petersen in the 82nd minute as Olympic won for the ninth time in 10 matches, preserving their two-point league lead over Western Suburbs.

Lucas Meek scored a hat-trick as Suburbs pumped in three goals in the final 10 minutes in a 5-1 victory over Island Bay United on Sunday, keeping pace with Olympic and putting them in a good position to claim one of three National League spots.

Waterside Karori and North Wellington played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at Karori Park. The Docksiders took a lead in the second minute of stoppage-time through Tuawiorangi Reedy Dunn but the Northerners equalised thanks to an own-goal from Gabriel Cooper.

Meanwhile, Auckland United and West Coast Rangers continue to make the NRFL Women’s Premier competition a two-race, with a 14-point gap back to third-placed Eastern Suburbs.

United remained without a loss, easing to a 3-1 victory over Fencibles United in Round 11, while Rangers got two late goals from Catherine Smith to overcome a one-goal deficit to defeat Hamilton Wanderers 3-2.

Defending champions Western Springs defeated Ellerslie 1-0 on Maia Lythe's 89th-minute goal but are still 18 points adrift of the leaders, while Hibiscus Coast upset Eastern Suburbs 1-0 on league-leading goalscorer Danica Urlich-Beech's 68th-minute strike.



Birkenhead United 4 Western Springs 1

Eastern Suburbs 1 Bay Olympic 0

Auckland City 0 Auckland United 0

East Coast Bays 3 Manurewa 1

Hamilton Wanderers 2 West Coast Rangers 1

Tauranga City 2 Melville United 1


Phoenix Reserves 2 Miramar Rangers 0

Wellington Olympic 2 Napier City Rovers 0

Waterside Karori 3 North Wellington 3

Petone 3 Stop Out 1

Western Suburbs 5 Island Bay United 1


Nelson Suburbs 6 Dunedin City Royals 2

Nomads United 2 Ferrymead Bays 1

Cashmere Technical 4 Christchurch United 2

Selwyn United 4 FC Twenty11 0

Coastal Spirit 5 UC Football 1


Western Springs 1 Ellerslie 0

West Coast Rangers 3 Hamilton Wanderers 2

Hibiscus Coast 1 Eastern Suburbs 0

Auckland United 3 Fencibles United 1


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