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Monday, February 26, 2007

Menapi's double for Waitakere seals victory against Manawatu and ensures minor premiership title

Waitakere United remain unbeaten at home in the New Zealand Football Championship (NZFC) this season after Saturday afternoon's emphatic 3-1 win over second placed YoungHeart Manawatu which sealed the minor premiership title for the West Auckland club.

The win moves Waitakere five points clear of Manawatu at the top of the table and makes Waitakere odds on to claim home advantage for next month's NZFC Grand Final.

With just two rounds left in the regular season, Waitakere need just a point to wrap up top spot while other results this weekend all but confirmed Manawatu and Auckland City as the two sides who will playoff for the right to meet Waitakere in that Grand Final.

During the match, Solomon Islander Commins Menapi gave Waitakere a deserved 1-0 lead 33 minutes into the game getting a flick on a goalbound Allan Pearce shot to head it into the top right hand corner.

Against the run of play Manawatu's Solomon imported striker Benjamin Totori scored his 22nd goal of the season just before the break, cutting through the middle of the Waitakere defence before sliding his shot underneath the advancing Michael Utting for the equaliser.

Waitakere came out with renewed intent in the second half and with just seven minutes gone they were back in front thanks to a superb individual goal by Allan Pearce. Waitakere weren't finished yet and a few minutes later, Solomons import Commins Menapi made it 3-1 when he scored his second after a good through ball by Jeff Campbell.

Even at 3-1 down, Manawatu were unable to lift their game with Totori trying hard up front but running up against the solid defensive pairing of George Suri, another Solomon Islander, and Danny Hay.

Source: NZFC

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