Waitakere United will have to wait at least a week to wrap up the New Zealand Football Championship's minor premiership after Waikato FC snatched a dramatic 2-1 upset in Ngaruawahia yesterday.
Super sub Stu Watene was the hero for the home side, coming on in the 83rd minute and scoring five minutes later to complete a comeback that began with former Waitakere defender - and now Waikato captain - Graham Pearce stabbing the ball home from close range with 14 minutes remaining.
Waitakere - who still have one game in hand over everyone but Manawatu - had already booked a place in the top four playoffs with victory over Otago on Waitangi Day.
Waitakere's year-long unbeaten league run ends at 20 matches, and the champions remain on 26 points, three away from clinching the minor premiership and a place in next year's O-League.
Auckland City closed the gap on the leaders to five points with a resounding 3-nil over Manawatu at Kiwitea Street, while in Christchurch, Hawke's Bay United dispatched Canterbury United 4-nil to move up to third on 19 points, ahead of Waikato on goal difference.