It was a game to savour between Southern United and Team
Wellington as spectators were treated to a 2-2 draw that might have
ended up 6-6, there were so many goalscoring chances in yesterday's
ASB Premiership football match.
Perfect conditions in the FB Stadium defied external weather,
and the game produced some classy football with Wellington
generally looking impressive, and Southern mounting effective
counter attacks might have grabbed a win.
Never more so than when Jacob Schneider attacked up the right
wing, and despite Wellington looking to have boxed him in - the big
German curved a dipping shot past namesake keeper Jacob Spoonley in
goal, and after only two minutes, Southern United was 1-nil
Coach Luiz Uehara had demanded a strong start, and his players
obliged in spades.
But there was no relaxation for spectators as Wellington hit
back almost immediately when international Solomon Islander striker
Henry Fa'arodo spun and laced in a fifth minute athletic equaliser
in United's crowded penalty area.
Wellington's pedigree showed as Colin Murphy masterminded
elaborate passing moves from midfield and coach Matt Calcott's side
switched play around probing for openings, requiring United
defenders to cover vast tracts of the pitch, and bravely launch
some last ditch tackles.
Keeper Tom Batty inspired confidence with safe hands, and
centreback Matt Joy both organised and led his defence with
In contrast to Wellingtons patient probing attacks, Southern
showed incisive pace that had Regan Coldicott racing clear to
'score' but was denied by a linesmans flag.
Then Andrew Ridden broke through a tackle with the ball and
accelerated clear from halfway. Spotting keeper Spoonley off his
line, the big midfielder opted for a long range flighted shot -
that took forever - but with spectators and Spoonley holding
their breath, the ball flew narrowly over Wellington's
Ajay Cunningham tested the Wellington defence with a similar
flighted freekick that was headed clear, and centreback Joy pounded
in a strong shot that was blocked.
Unfortunately, that was Joy's last involvement as he was hurt in
a goalmouth melee, and limped off to be replaced by Sam Mepham who
went on to have an effective game.
Former Otago player Joel Stevens threatened with some pacey
runs, Charlie Henry launched attacks across the field, and Jamie De
Abreu, and Murphy prompted moves that threatened to unbalance the
In reply Southern's Coldicott turned provider with an accurate
cross that Cam Attwood headed high, and in a day for attacking
defenders Cam Higgins also went close.
Keeper Batty made a fine double save from Stevens, but stood no
chance as the former Green Island play drilled in a 60th minute
goal to give Wellington a 2-1 lead.
Heads slumped in dismay, but showing terrific spirit the team
fought back within minutes and from a Ridden pass, Coldicott rode a
fierce tackle, then used his pace to explode goalwards and slide
the 63rd minute equaliser past Spoonley.
Wellington then probably went on to play its most sustained
attacking football against tired Southern legs, yet even under the
cosh, coach Uehara's side continued to break out of defence and
chase the win.
Coldicott again showed his pace and class to feed Southern's
dynamic midfielder Morgan Day, who set up Henry Flood for a ripper
of a shot that might have won the match, but instead only
frightened a couple of passing seagulls.
Delighted Uehara contrasted with Wellington coach Calcott, who
described his side's effort as ' laboured' with too many
The result moves United up level with WaiBOP on seven
and looking forward to next week's match against the old enemy
Canterbury in Christchurch on Sunday.
At Tahuna park, Southern United's Youth side beat Manawatu 2-1
in squallid wintry conditions, with a super opening goal by Lewis
Jackson, and the second half winner - a penalty - slotted by James
Southern United Squad : 1-Tom BATTY (GK),
3-Nicholas HINDSON, 5-Matt JOY, 7-Sam MEPHAM, 7- Regan COLDICOTT,
8- Aajay CUNNINGHAM 10-Taylor McCORMACK, 11-Peter RAE, 12-Jefferson
POTRICH (GK), 13-Logan WRIGHTWEBB, 15- Morgan Day, 18-Daniel
MORRIS, 19-Campbell HIGGINS, 20-Jacob SCHNEIDER, 21-Andrew RIDDEN,
Coach: Luiz UEHARA
Team Wellington squad: 1-Jacob SPOONLEY (GK),
4-Colin MURPHY, 5-Adam COWAN, 7-Henry FA'ARODO, 8-Cole PEVERLEY,
9-Cory CHETTLEBURGH, 10-Charlie HENRY, 11-Roy KAYARA, 12-Cameron
LINDSAY, 14-James MUSA, 15-Sam MASON-SMITH, 17-Jamie DE ABREU,
18-Tom DOYLE, 19-Tobias BERTSCH, 20-Clayton LEWIS, 21-Justin
GULLEY, 22-Hamish WATSON, 23-Joel STEVENS, 24-Andrew BLAKE,
25-Daniel CLARKE (GK), 26-Tamupiwa DIMAIRO. Coach : Matt
Text and images: Rab Smith