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Lower grade wins the highlight as Premier teams struggle

It was wins in the lower grades this weekend that were the highlight for the University side as both our Men’s and Women’s Premier teams were defeated in local rivalries.

After a poor couple of weeks our Women’s Premiers faced off with the table leading Dunedin Technical side knowing anything less than a full performance would result in becoming another victim of our free scoring visitors. A cagey first twenty minutes so both sides holding plenty of possession with neither side really looking overly threatening, our new look defence was holding firm and there were chances to break open the game through accurate forward balls.

Dunedin Technical took the lead after a defensive misread allowed their winger to come inside unmarked and slot past Sophie Armitage in goals, what followed was our best patch of the match as opportunities were created with Meike van der Meer looking threatening on the ball up front. The equalising goal eventually came when Beth Elliott picked up the ball in space between the lines and arrowed a 25 yard finish in. Back and forward followed with our visitors regaining the lead via an almost identical goal where a lack of tracking saw their other wing finish via a strong save from Sophie right on half time.

Plenty of opportunities for both sides to find another goal with Dunedin Technical having the better of chances including a half volley that cannoned back off the cross bar, eventually they claimed their third goal direct from a corner as the mass of bodies in front of Sophie blocked her path and saw the ball nestle in the back of the net. The intensity of the game was taking its toll on both sides and as the benches were cleared the game lost a bit of the quality and ended up a 3-1 win to our visitors. A much better performance and plenty of optimism for the next set of matches.

On Sunday out at Hancock Park, our Men’s Premiers had the chance to take points in the Southern Football League against South Dunedin’s strong men’s side Caversham AFC. With some last minute injury concerns leaving our benched weakened the onus was on the starting eleven to get the business done.

This started well with our boys enjoying the lion’s share of possession against our hosts who were content to soak up pressure and launch direct balls in to the corner for their speedy front runners. The early endeavour from Santeri saw us go one up with a quality finish in to the bottom corner, a great platform to go on. Inexplicably our defense went to sleep and Caversham found themselves with three unmarked runners and easily tied the game. A pretty open period which saw goals for both sides, with the home side bringing the physical side including a vicious tackle from behind which somehow only saw a free kick and no red card awarded.

We went straight back up the other end and pilled on the pressure resulting in a penalty being awarded for hand ball. The initial strike was well saved by Caversham’s keeper but Captain Dom Scahill followed up the save and with a well placed finish. Plenty of half chances to build on our lead with Tom Durkin in particular finding lots of space in behind their defense, another error saw Caversham awarded a corner which was floated in and a strong connection saw them tie things up at the half.

The second half was full of promise with the boys determined to go on and claim the win, unfortunately the Caversham coaching team had read our side pretty well and as they sat deep inside their own half they waited for our lads to over play things and when it happened pounced on possession and released their willing front runners, three times in 10 minutes we over played things against their defensive block and they countered with great effect. Our worst effort of the season and on the end of a 6-2 battering.

A disappointing result against table topping Mosgiel saw Stu and the Seconds desperate for a win against neighbours Northern to keep any hopes of a successful season alive. Despite being the bottom side in the league Northern always bring something to the game and on the tiny Forrester Three pitch this had the look of a difficult game.

One nil down at the half and looking like the season would end of that grey day down the Valley, with nothing to lose the boys pushed forward and managed to create chances with the returning James Harris proving the difference as he finished twice from just inside the box to see our boys claim the game by the slim one goal margin.

Jack and Men’s Thirds faced off with third placed Dunedin Technical looking to take revenge for our first round loss, with only wins able to keep the season alive a strong side took it to Tech with Franc and Sam Wolfinden controlling the midfield and adding goals the quality of their play. Ended up 5-1 up and happy to keep those wins going as we hope that Northern slips up somewhere along the way.

Women’s Division One Yellow took on the league leading Roslyn Wakari side and after playing out a cagey first half with no goals to show, played their part in an entertaining game which saw our girls claim the win with a 5-4 advantage that keeps some slim title hopes alive if other teams are to slip up along the way. Blue took on Green Island Seconds and with numbers still light due to injuries struggled for the most part and ended up well beaten 4-0.

A festival of football late at the Football Turfs with both our Men’s Fourths and Fifths playing side by side in late kick offs. At home on our quality surface both games looked like easy wins on paper but a combination of over zealous reffing in the fourths game and poor finishing in the fifths game saw both teams drawn in to a battle. Wins are wins in the end and both our teams managed to find the results they needed with Fourths winning two nil over Caversham and Fifths four one over Northern.

In Division Fourths, Sevenths just scrapped in to the top six and it probably showed as they were beaten five nil by Dunedin Technical, with Sixths winning their bottom five clash 8-2 over Grants Braes in a moral boosting win.