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Jake Rathbone scores versus Mosgiel AFC

What might have been on a wonderful day for local football

So close yet so far for our Men’s Premier League side as they played their part in a titanic battle on the Caledonian against Mosgiel AFC which would ultimately decide the fate of the Football South Premier League title.

With a hulking crowd of 500, the Caledonian was buzzing and the quality of the match played out in front of the passionate crowd shows just how far ourselves and Mosgiel have come this year. It was a proper football match full of desire and endeavor with neither side giving an inch and both executing their game plans as best they could.

Our lads will reflect on this game as what might have been with Mosgiel content to barricade their goal and look to utilise their pace up front there were chances for the home side with Dom Scahill left to rue a chance in the first half which might very well have tipped the match in our favour. There were other chances and perhaps on another day it might have fallen our way. Both sides scored with time almost up and credit our lads for picking themselves up immediately after conceding to claim a share of the points. It wasn’t our day but bigger things await this side in 2019 and beyond.

A quiet word on the progress of our side this year after a difficult 2018, a credit to the work of Coach Darren Hart to turn around his side and get them playing such quality football. Yes, we’ve recruited well with a suite of new University of Otago students coming into town but we’ve done so on the back of a clear set of footballing principles which is attractive to those coming to town. We don’t necessarily have the resources of other clubs but there’s plenty of encouragement within the hallowed halls of the University with a clear mandate to see supported students playing within the University community.

On to other games and there was a big clash between two of the traditionally strong side in the Women’s Premier League with our unbeaten side traveling over to the Valley to face Roslyn-Wakari. Things couldn’t have started any worse as we gifted possession away in our own half and Roslyn took a very early (32 seconds) lead. That wasn’t in the game plan anywhere and really shook the girls off and it took a considerable time for the girls to settle after such an early setback. We did move the ball around well briefly at times and Sarah Robinson harassed and harried as she always does converting one of these chances to tie it up but as poorly as we were playing another mistake overplaying things saw Roslyn lead 2-1 at the half.

Nobody was pleased with the way we had been playing and a really positive team discussion saw the girls refocus and look to go back to our quick penetrative one-touch style. Things changed pretty quickly with a well worked moved to earn us a corner that saw Jaimee Paterson find Lizzie Ellis among a swarm of players who planted a booming header in the back of the net. Kara Daeche and Bella Cartman were then introduced and we were well on top.

Of course no game can ever go without controversy and from a long ball down the middle Jords in goal got her hands on the ball just as the Roslyn attacker arrived and let it squeeze through her hands. quickly turning she palmed the ball away to safety but Roslyn were adamant the ball had crossed the line. From the the dugout it wasn’t clear and could have gone either way but that really rattled the home side who were incensed at the none award by the referee.

That incident very much played into our hands as we got time on the ball to move Roslyn around and with their aggression levels raised we drew them in with each touch and then found players in space with both Meike van der Meer and Bella Cartman finishing chances after getting in behind. As the game wore on the tackles kept flying in and we enjoyed plenty of possession and found ways to hold Roslyn off. Overall it was one we felt we deserved on chances created and the amount of possession but it was brutal at times could have swung Roslyn’s way if we had reacted negatively to incidents in the match.

Women’s Seconds hosted Mosgiel AFC at the Football Turfs in a game they had earmarked as one to build for some weeks ago. It was a tight first half with both teams guilty of not making the most of the quality playing surface but still managing to claim two goals each as they went in to the half.

What followed in the second half was a procession with our girls registering seven unanswered goals with both Emma Whalley and Ellie Greenberg helping themselves to four goals each for the match. Finally in their fourth year in the top division after so many near misses our Seconds girls got their first win.

Stu and his Men’s Seconds hosted Caversham AFC at the Football Turfs in the first game of the second round looking to avenge a poor effort in the first round where we were easily defeated by our visitors. With now a full two weeks at our new home venue things were starting to come together nicely and we really hammered things home with a solid 6-2 win that sees us nipping away at the top of the table with several sides within 2-3 points and the lead changing each week.

A bit disappointing to give us two goals in a game that Stu felt a clean sheet was deserved but with Luke in goals feeling under the weather his concentration drifted at times and Caversham scored their goals. YoungJae Lee was all energy as always and claim two strikes at the end the clinch the points.

In Division One Women’s, Yellow found themselves down by 1 goal at the half and facing another defeat that they didn’t feel like the deserved. Bit of a pep talk at half time and they came out firing to score five answered and claim the points with Joyce O’Brien helping herself to a hattrick. Blue battled away hard against the youthful Roslyn side but couldn’t find the same magic they had last week and went down 3 goals to 1.

The unbeaten Men’s Thirds traveled out to South Dunedin to face Dunedin Technical and were outplayed by a home side content to hit balls on the break but right up for the fight. Simply put our boys didn’t turn up and now they need to get stuck in and do the hard work if they are going to claim this long-awaited Division Two title.

The Division Three sides had contrasting games with Fraser and Men’s Fifths smashing their way to unbeaten eleven goals against Northern with Andy Robinson grabbing four along with Albert Aitken three. A relatively rare clean sheet for Samuel Reid in goals. Fourths battled away to a draw away to Caversham with the game a bit all over the place with neither team really dominating. Aaron Conroy was unlucky to see his strike ruled as an own goal with the crucial touch off the defender sending his otherwise off-target strike into the goal.

Thomas and the Men’s Sixths got another win and the burst their way up the league table. 3-1 over a Roslyn side that was sitting below them sees a gap being formed to the bottom sides.