In a clash between two quality sides in the Football South Men’s Premier League a series of missed opportunities proved costly as our boys went down to the home side in Queenstown.
With a few personnel changes for this week, we were aware that we might not be as fluid as previous weeks as our new players adapted to their roles. The first ten minutes showcased this as Queenstown put us under pressure and earned a succession of corners that were well dealt with. After this initial period, we took command of the game and looked good with a number of good opportunities coming our way the best failing to Captain Dom Scahill and Albie Murray in his first start for the side.
The pressure we were putting our hosts under eventually resulted in a goal as a passing move of high quality resulted in Allan McBride getting a sight of goal which was all he needed to curl the ball home in put us in the lead. Unfortunately a couple of key errors right on half time saw us go in behind.
The first Queenstown goal came from a scrappy period where the ball bounced around our box as we were unable to clear our lines. their young striker picked up the loose the ball and showing similar quality to the goal from Allan curled home the equaliser.
Against the run of play, it was just a wake-up call not much else until am minute later Ben O’Farrell was judged to have deliberately played the ball with his hand where after winning possession and then place his hand unsighted on the ball as he got to his feet. We were far from happy with the decision but as always Lindsey was clear in her view and explanation of the play and Carlos stepped up to sent Stewart the wrong way, putting the home side ahead right on half time.
We entered the second half with renewed vigor and a clear plan of how to exploit the tiring home side, it was that man again Carlos who claimed a goal as he curled a ball over the wall from a free kick to deceive Stewart. Well known to our side from his exploits with Southern United Futsal, Carlos has a knack of doing the impossible from the position he gets in and this was another case.
The rest of the half we huffed and puffed but Jaime is a shrewd coach and he knew that denying our midfield space was the key to holding on to the points and despite our best efforts the game finished 3-1 to the home side.
Our only other side in action this week was Stu’s Men’s Seconds who after a couple of mixed performances found themselves propping up the table. The game was scheduled for the Gardens but was moved to Forrester Park as Gardens was deemed unplayable so the boys trekked down the north end of Dunedin with a clear plan in place.
From the outset we were determined to win our individual battles and this was evident as a our defensive quartet of Tim Taylor, Nich Kelly, Tom Gibson and Oliver McAleese got stuck in and won everything that came their way. This gave us a platform to go and really we should have been 3-4 up within the first 15 minutes as En Watanabe on debut for the club weaved his magic resulting in several good chances. The first goal took some time coming but eventually Joe Araya was able to find a pocket of space and then chip the ball home over the Northern keeper. Not long after Captain Nich Kelly bundled home his third for the season.
Coming in to the half time break and shortly after Northern had a number of good chances to score and probably should have buried this as the pressure mounted on our backline. A couple of early second half changes looked to give us a bit more energy and the change to move Caleb Roberts in to midfield and bring on James Coombes up front gave us more control and a critical outlet up top.
As Northern rained balls in to our box from deep gaps started to appear in their backline as Coombes combined with the energetic YoungJae Lee and our third goal came via this combo with YoungJae picking up a loose clearance and chipping the ball home from 40 yards out. Our final goal came via another YoungJae run which saw him round the keeper just near the corner flag and cross to Coombes who unselfishly squared to Junior to finish in to the empty net.
Coach Stu was pretty happy with his troops who had a tough start to the season but were well worth the win this week.
A big game next week for our Men’s Premiers as the host neighbours Northern AFC. A win and our position among the top three sides on table and a place in the South Island inches closer to reality. All going to plan this game will be held at the Caledonian and the live stream will be operating.