It has been a long and frustrating season for Rotorua United Coach Neil Rush but he had a smile on his face on Saturday after watching his side finally deliver on their potential with a 3-0 win over cross town rivals Ngongotaha.
The three points resulted in United removing the threat of relegation to finish in eighth place.
Ngongotaha Coach Shane Davis acknowledged United were the best team on the day.
"We were without several key players but I can't take anything away from United, they deserved their win."
Rotorua took the lead in the third minute when Gary Hamilton's header beat the keeper. The goal settled United who started to play with more confidence. Keiran Van de Goot out-paced the Villagers' defence in the 25th minute and made it 2-0. Lawrie Scott scored late to give United a deserved 3-0 win.
At Crown Park, Taupo underlined their domination of the league with a 3-1 win over Waikato Unicol. Byron Thessman gave Taupo a 1-0 lead at the break and Alan Lamb assured Taupo of retaining the Challenge Shield with a second half double.
Old Blues' fate is out of their control after a 3-1 loss to Otumoetai. If Tauranga Boys' College can win their last two games Old Blues will be relegated.
It was a scoreless first half but Matt Collins put Otumoetai ahead before Reuben Wood equalised for Old Blues. The key moment in the game came when Old Blues failed to convert a penalty. Matt Collins didn't waste his chance from the spot and with Old Blues pushing forward in search of the equaliser Daniel Miller scored to confirm the win for Otumoetai.