16 Feb 2009

waitakere win NZFC minor premiership

5:47 am on 16 February 2009

A dramatic late winner from Fijian striker Roy Krishna crowned Waitakere United as New Zealand Football Championship minor premiers for the third straight time after a 1-nil win over Hawke's Bay United in Napier.

After a shock loss to Waikato last weekend, Waitakere's celebrations looked set to be delayed for at least another week until with two minutes remaining, Krishna capped a right-flank run with an angled shot to seal all three points for visitors, and one of New Zealand's two spots in next season's O-League.

Already assured of spot in the top four playoffs, the win moves the defending champions to 29 points, eight clear of both Auckland City and YoungHeart Manawatu - the latter climbing to third with an equally dramatic 1-nil home win over 10-man Waikato FC in the weekend's only other fixture on Saturday.

With just two weeks to play in the regular season, any three of five teams could join Waitakere in the top four, although fourth placed Hawke's Bay and fifth placed Waikato - both on 19 points - have only one game left each.

Even sixth placed Team Wellington on 17 points could yet sneak themselves into the top half finish would rise above Hawke's Bay and Waikato with a win over Canterbury at Newtown Park next weekend.