FRED WOODCOCK - The Dominion Post | Monday, 28 May 2007
Two Michael Eagar penalties helped guide Miramar Rangers to a come-from-behind 3-2 win against Olympic in a clash of the Central League football heavyweights yesterday.
Both teams went into the crucial round eight match with identical records and just the one goal separating them.
So it was no surprise the match went down to the wire, though it was Miramar who finished the strongest, scoring twice in the final 15 minutes to grab three vital points - enough to put them into outright second, just two points behind league leaders Western Suburbs (19 points).
Olympic are third on 14 points, with Napier City Rovers a point further back in fourth, but the home side was left to rue a chance gone begging at Newtown Park.
Eagar put Miramar ahead with an early penalty after a clear-cut late challenge in the box, though Olympic fought back well and created several chances themselves before Mikey Halikias nodded in the equaliser just before the break.
Both sides continued to trade blows before George Barbarouses put the home side ahead on the hour mark after a well-worked passing movement down the right flank.
However, that proved to be the catalyst for a Miramar revival.
They dominated the final 20 minutes and could easily have banged in another two or three goals before it was left to Eagar, who capitalised on another indiscretion in the box - this time a handball - to score the winner from the spot.
In other matches, Western Suburbs destroyed Lower Hutt City 5-0 to maintain their two-point lead, while Napier City Rovers were comfortable 3-0 winners over Stop Out, Taranaki and Palmerston North Marist shared the points from a 1-1 draw, and Gisborne City prevailed 5-3 against Wellington United.