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South City Royals stayed top of the table after a 3-2 win over Mosgiel on Saturday.
Mosgiel was desperate to get points on the board and the first 10 minutes was a cagey affair.
Just as Mosgiel was starting to get in behind the Royals’ defence with the hard-running Rhys Quarrell, the Royals went ahead on 20 minutes when Jared Groves’ floated corner was nodded home by Kaleb De-Groot Green at the far post.
Another Royals set piece on 25 minutes extended the lead, a well-placed free kick allowing Liam Lockhart to power in a header. It deflected off Lewis Wall for an own goal past the unfortunate Dan Robinson, who was making his debut in goal.
Ryan Fleming had an opportunity to make the game safe for the Royals with a simple tap-in right on halftime but lofted his shot high over the crossbar.
Mosgiel came out attacking in the second half with Kasim Ali prominent and it was his accurate raking pass that found Taylor Donaldson in lots of space and he made no mistake with a low-driven shot.
The visiting side was sitting back defending its lead and Whittaker was certainly the busier of the two keepers, keeping out Ali’s 35m effort and rushing out to deny Quarrell anytime.
In the 89th minute, the Royals broke quickly on the counter, Ollie Cassidy running down the right wing and driving a cross to give Ollie Petersen a simple tap-in to seal the win.
Quarrell was not to be denied, his shot from the edge of the box giving Whittaker no chance.
But the Royals came away with the points and retain top spot on goal difference from University.
The students beat Roslyn-Wakari 4-2 at Logan Park, En Watanabe scoring a hat-trick.
He scored his first after just 10 minutes. University went 2-0 up after another attack down the right and Watanabe tapped home at the far post.
Roslyn pulled one back just before halftime as Scott Casey-Woolridge came off his right wing and his well-struck volley rippled the back of the net.
University scored two quick goals just after the break, firstly through Watanabe and then Ben Stanley’s deflected effort, which deceived the visiting side’s defence.
Roslyn-Wakari’s Josh Lucas pulled one back with a header.
Green Island had an emphatic 9-1 victory over a weakened Queenstown side at Sunnyvale.
Adam Hewson opened the scoring on 18 minutes.
Queenstown then conceded an own goal and a minute later was reduced to 10 men in the 22nd minute with a red card shown for dissent. Hewson was the star of the match, scoring a hat-trick including a shot from 30m that flew into the net.
Matt Milton also scored a classy goal to give the home side a commanding 4-1 lead at the break. Other goals came from Byron Heath, Tom Milton, Connor Spear and Aaron Allan.
Wanaka won at home, beating Northern 2-0. It nearly took a deserved lead on 48 minutes with a penalty, but the trailing leg of Liam Little saved the shot.
Wanaka did find the opening goal after an hour when Ethan Arratia drove forward into the penalty area and hit a low shot that Little got a hand to but could not prevent it from crossing the goal line.
Arratia scored the second when a nice pass from Thomas Tinkas led to a one on one with Little and he shot past the advancing goalkeeper.
- Neville Watson