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The Royals delivered an emphatic 12-0 thumping of Northern at the Caledonian Ground on Saturday to put themselves out of reach at the top of the table.
An early headed goal to Frankie Goodwin settled any nerves and the Royals proceeded to score at will.
Skipper Jared Grove scored with a volley from outside the penalty box, and Connor Neil and Raven August also scored to give them a 4-0 halftime lead.
A devastating 10-minute spell early in the second half killed the game off.
Substitute Will Turner headed home from a great cross by Callan Rothmets, before August, Goodwin and Neil all scored again making it 8-0 on 61 minutes played.
Neil beat players at will before drilling home.
Ryan Fleming, who had been instrumental in providing assists, made it 9-0, while Turner added the 10th and Campbell Thompson came on to score the last two goals.
That turned interest to the fight for the remaining two places in the South Island league.
Three second-half goals helped Green Island past University 3-0 in the battle of the second and third-placed teams.
The students had controlled most of possession in the first half, but never seriously threatened Green Island’s goal.
However, five minutes after halftime the deadlock was broken, when the ever-busy Adam Hewson broke into the box on the left.
He scored from a tight angle after some individual brilliance.
Three minutes later Connor Spear scored from close range to double the lead, finishing after a great run and cross from Byron Heath.
Heath scored the final goal in the 71st minute showing his pace, control and ability to finish under pressure.
Roslyn Wakari remained in the race with a 3-2 win over Mosgiel.
Those two teams entering the round in fourth and fifth place.
A Cody Brook brace gave Mosgiel a 2-0 halftime lead, the second an exquisite 40m chip over the stranded Tom Stevens.
Nathan Wilkie pulled one back for Roslyn in the 48th minute, while Sam Cosgrove scored two late goals, including a last-minute winner to give Roslyn a 3-2 victory.
The results leave Green Island in second and Roslyn in third, with two games remaining.
Queenstown won the Central Otago derby 2-0 over Wanaka, thanks to Quinn McDonald and Thomas Mills scoring in each half.
- Neville Watson