Cen­tral end ri­val’s run

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JEREMY RUANE

A sen­sa­tional come­back by ASB Chatham Cup hold­ers Cen­tral United at Shep­herds Park on Satur­day has sig­nif­i­cantly tight­ened up the ti­tle race in the Lotto North­ern Men’s Pre­mier League.

Ta­ble lead­ers Birken­head United were 3-0 up and cruis­ing af­ter 27 min­utes and well on course to main­tain their un­beaten start to the sea­son but Cen­tral had other ideas.

The San­dring­ham­based side man­aged to tri­umph 5-4 and have given them­selves a real shot at top­pling the cur­rent lead­ing teams off of their perch.

The roller-coaster en­counter kicked off with Sam Jenk­ins sup­ple­ment­ing Elijah Ne­blett’s dou­ble-strike for Birken­head in the open­ing half hour.

But the out­stand­ing Emil­iano Tade and Joshua Mor­ri­son dragged the vis­i­tors back into it be­fore half­time and a brace of Mi­los Nikolic goals al­lied to an­other ef­fort from Tade had the cen­tral side, which boast just three ASB Premier­ship play­ers, up 5-3 two min­utes be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle. Sam Mar­getts struck a stop­page time con­so­la­tion for the home team to bring about the fi­nal 5-4 re­sult to end Birken­head’s 30-match un­beaten run in North­ern League football.

In other ac­tion, One­hunga Sports and Three Kings United were both held to draws at home.

Rory Kelly’s late equaliser earned ‘‘The Green Ma­chine’’ a 1-1 draw with Hamil­ton Wan­der­ers at Waikaraka Park.

First-half goals from Jar­rod Col­li­gan and Mikhail Bre­de­veldt were not enough to beat Eller­slie at Keith Hay Park.

Reign­ing cham­pi­ons Bay Olympic have dropped into the rel­e­ga­tion zone af­ter putting through their own net to af­ford Ma­nurewa their goal re­sult­ing in a 2-1 loss.

Satur­day’s sec­ond di­vi­sion derby was one-way traf­fic, with lead­ers Western Springs maul­ing One­hunga-Man­gere United 5-1 at Man­gere Do­main.

In the women’s com­pe­ti­tion, ASB National Women’s Knock­out Cup hold­ers Three Kings United made it through to the last 16 of the com­pe­ti­tion on Sun­day af­ter win­ning their sec­ond round tie.

Three Kings scored five goals in the last 10 min­utes as they over­came Eller­slie 7-1 at Michaels Ave.

Af­ter a score­less first half, Mar­tine Puke­tapu helped her­self to a hat­trick while Tessa Berger, Sam Hayr, Jessie Mathews and Jas­mine Pereira also chimed in.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Close con­test: Eller­slie’s Ahmed Al-Jawad, left, and Three King’s Mikhail Bered­velt fight for the ball.

Go to cen­tral­leader. co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion for more pho­tos of Three Kings United’s clash with Eller­slie.

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