Andrew Ridden broke the deadlock with a fine goal after 41
minutes to set up Southern United's first win of the season when it
beat Wanderers SC 2-1 at North Harbour Stadium yesterday and
vacated the competitions bottom slot.
Always a good time to score just before halftime, United
trotted off with heads held high, after defending stoutly in that
first half when Wanderers created many chances.
But a top match by goalkeeper Tom Batty blunted the young
Wanderers side, and as the half progressed it was Southern United
who looked the more dangerous.
Nevertheless, it was a serious halftime team talk from coach
Luiz Uehara, urging his team to continue to play controlled
football, yet with a mind on the Wanderers resilient form this
season, in snatching late goals.
From his advanced midfield role, Ridden continued to threaten,
and Henrique Viana became more involved as the game progressed.
Wanderers Andre De Jong, son of NZ striker Fred, made forays
into the United box, and on the left wing Nick Sugden found space
to deliver crosses.
But keeper Batty's form snuffed out several freekicks and
corners by Wanderers, and in the 51st minute, the industrious Peter
Rae wriggled free and delivered a perfect cross for Viana to head
United into a 2-nil lead.
Any thought of coasting was dispelled however, when referee Matt
Conger first punished Viana with a yellow card, then flashed a
second yellow at Cam Attwood and United was down to ten men with
over 20 minutes to go.
Coach Uehara made changes as he dragged Viana, and brought on
Taylor McCormack, but Wanderers seized the moment to narrow the
score almost immediately when Michael Den Heijer showed tight skill
to swivel and shoot his team back in the game.
2-1 after 68 minutes, and with an extra man Wanderers pushed
forward, as in a bid to tighten things up, Sam Mepham replaced
Open play produced chances for both sides as Nick Hindson burst
through in a 1v1 with keeper Zac Speedy, then it was Batty's turn
as he saved from Scott Doney.
Referee Conger played four long minutes of extra time to
frazzle the nerves of coaches Uehara and Darren Hart, but it was
Mepham who drew down the curtain with blazing shot as full time was
' This was another step along the way,' said coach Uehara. ' We
have played better and lost, but as the game went on, our players
showed fitness, skill and courage against a very good young
' Best of all was the high level of concentration we maintained,
and if we continue to achieve that... we will pick up more