But the Waitakere result left shell-shocked Waikato coach Paul Nixon baffled as to how his team has failed to secure a draw following a sensational finish to a lively, entertaining contest.
"How did we lose that?" he queried.
At 2-3 down, Waikato earned what appeared to be a life-saving penalty in the 90th minute when striker Harry Redwood was brought down after dribbling into the box.
But with Nixon loudly instructing that star playmaker Mohamed Awad was to take the spot kick, captain for the day Mark Jones pulled rank and decided he would do so instead. However his kick was touched onto the post and clear by Waitakere keeper Scott Armistead.
Then with Waikato continuing to press forward in search of the denied equaliser, Waitakere caught them on the break in injury time. Though James Debenham had his shot parried, Jordan Vale had the easiest of tasks in tapping into an empty net to seal the game.
It gave Waitakere their third successive win and Waikato their second successive home loss.
Earlier Debenham opend the scoring for Waitakere in the fifth minute, only for Waiakto defender Troy Hope to tap home an equaliser from a corner following a goalkeeper error five minutes later.
In the 36th minute Warren Pinto put Waitakere ahead 2-1, though there was again more than a hint of keeper error as Max Tommy dived too early.
In the 57th minute Van Ewart put Waikato back in contention with a tidy finish, in which he took a touch, turned, and shot. It was Ewart’s third goal in the competition.
Best for Waitakere were Debenham and striker Rory Turner, while centre back Johnny Konings was a pillar for Waikato, Ewart was dangerous, and Awad showed glimpses of real class.
In Napier, Thomas Doyle and own goal gave Auckland a 2-0 halftime lead before second half strikes from Alex Ridsdale, Mario Illich and Halili Nagime guided the Chris Zorocich-coached side to a comfortable 5-0 win.
In the Southern Conference, Canterbury beat Otago 2-0, while in the capital Team Wellington trashed a ten-man YoungHeart Manawatu side 6-0.
Jordan Vale and James Wypich lead the Golden Boot race on four goals, while Jared Putt, Warren Pinto, Van Ewart abd Van Elia all back up on three goals each.