Hawke’s Bay United – who trounced YoungHeart Manawatu 5-1 in Palmerston North – engaged in a tit for tat with Waitakere as both sides threatened to send goal records tumbling in frenzied first halves across the country.
The West Aucklanders were 6-0 up within 23 minutes of the first half as Waikato drowned under a deluge of goals from Brian Shelley, Roy Krishna, Chad Coombes, Ryan de Vries and two by Allan Pearce, while Hawke’s Bay raced out to a 4-0 lead inside 21 minutes.
Second-placed Auckland City kept their campaign on track with a comfortable 3-1 win over a spirited Otago United while Team Wellington resurrected their playoff hopes with an invaluable 2-0 away win at Canterbury United in Christchurch.
In Hamilton, Waikato FC had an afternoon to forget – Allan Pearce hit the first of nine Waitakere United goals with a thunderous 30 metre shot on ten minutes, but few expected what happened next as a five further goals were added inside 17 minutes.
Rory Turner pulled one back for Waikato on the hour mark to save some face, but Pearce completed his hat-trick from a corner on 83 minutes and Krishna hit a quick-fire brace in the dying stages to notch his and give the Paul Marshall-coached outfit a 9-1 victory.
A win by an eight goal margin has been accomplished five times in ASB Premiership history and this is the third time Waitakere United have matched it. It is also the biggest ever away win by any team in the competition’s history.
Waikato FC weren’t the only provincial club suffering.
In Palmerston North, YoungHeart Manawatu also crumbled as Hawke’s Bay United’s semi-final charge gathered pace. First half goals for Dakota Lucas, former All Whites Cole Peverley and Jarrod Smith, and a brace by Sean Lovemore set the Bay up for a comfortable 5-0 halftime lead as the home side sank without trace.
A consolation goal for Seule Soromon midway through the second stanza was all Manawatu had to show for a poor afternoon that sees the Palmerstonians rooted firmly to the bottom of the table. There was insult to injury when Nathan Cooksley was sent off a minute before time, the fourth YoungHeart Manawatu player to see red in two weeks.
At Kiwitea Street, Auckland City disposed of Otago United 3-1 as the club bid farewell to former South African international striker and club hero Keryn Jordan.
The home side opened the scoring when Manel Exposito and Pedro Cecilia Santa Garcia combined to set up Andrew Milne for a tap in after goalkeeper Liam Little could only block an Exposito shot on 17 minutes. Auckland doubled their lead seven minutes later when an Exposito free-kick was deflected into Little’s net.
Otago staged a comeback when Regan Coldicott slammed home a scintillating volley eight minutes before the half time, but substitute Adam Dickinson scrambled home a close range finish to make the game safe for Auckland City midway through the second half.
In Christchurch, Team Wellington cut Canterbury’s nine point advantage over the capital men to just six after they beat the Dragons 2-0 in Christchurch. A Wiremu Patrick penalty on the stroke of halftime gave the visitors a handy lead before Luis Corrales – who re-signed from Auckland City during the transfer window – notched a debut goal on 68 minutes to seal a 2-0 victory. It is Canterbury’s third consecutive loss and opens up a window of opportunity for Team Wellington to make a late dash for the semi-finals.
Next Saturday, Team Wellington host ailing Waikato FC and Waitakere United take on YoungHeart Manawatu as top meets bottom. Sunday’s fixtures see Hawke’s Bay United’s unbeaten home record go under examination when they play Auckland City at Bluewater Stadium in Napier. Otago United and Canterbury United clash in the South Island derby at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Biggest wins in the ASB Premiership 2004-present
2006/07 Waitakere United 8-0 Otago United
2007/08 Waitakere United 9-1 Canterbury United
Team Wellington 8-0 YoungHeart Manawatu
2011/12 Canterbury United 9-1 YoungHeart Manawatu
2012/13 Waikato FC 1-9 Waitakere United