Pedro Fernandes, left, and Nico Otero celebrate Nico’s black belt.

The senior men and a large troupe of supporters made the long road road trip to Tauranga, and were rewarded with two hard-fought wins. 

The First XI returned to the top of Division One with an impressive 3-1 victory, with rangy winger Ramon “the King” Lindner bagging all three goals. 

Strong winds and a rutted pitch made playing positive football difficult, but Waiheke pushed forward relentlessly from the opening whistle. The men in red drew first blood in the 32nd minute when Lindner calmly side-footed home after a free flowing Waiheke attack. Barely two minutes later Tauranga equalised with a sucker punch goal from a slick counter attack, and at halftime the teams stood even with the match on a knife edge. 

Happily Waiheke were simply irresistible in the second half as they dominated possession and territory. They were rewarded in the 65th minute when Lindner cut in from the right and his powerful shot took a wicked deflection to leave Tauranga’s keeper flatfooted and beaten at his near post. 

Lindner confirmed the win in 73rd minute with a vicious long range strike from outside the area, and Waiheke ran out  the clock expertly for a crucial victory in a must-win game. 

This weekend Waiheke take a well-earned rest with a bye, and then have four more games to play as the title race goes down to the wire.

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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