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Weekend Review

Stirling Sports Premiership Match vs Hamilton Wanderers.

1-0 Loss to Hamilton Wanderers

by Rab Smith

It was always going to be a tight match, and so it proved as Hamilton's 9th minute strike by Tom Davis - who laced in a rebound - was the only goal of the match at Porritt Stadium.

And another contributory factor was the performance of Hamilton's young keeper Matt Oliver who got the nod in front of Damian Hirst. And no wonder - young Oliver had already starred for Hamilton when despite being reduced to 10 men, the Wanderers stole a 2-1 win over Tauranga City mainly due to another stonewall performance by the young keeper that included a penalty save.

Plus in a pre-season match a few weeks back, Oliver hit the news again, "The leather on Matt Oliver's gloves got quite a work-out as 10 man Hamilton drew nil-all with East Coast Bays and the keeper excelled..." said headlines. Credit where due, the keeper continued his fine form to deny Southern on Saturday despite a parade of goalscoring chances being created. Thems the breaks... Southern started well enough with young Ben O'Farrell getting a couple of shots on target, and the marauding runs of Andy Mulligan created havoc and set up chances for Harley Rodeka and Eric Molloy. But Oliver blunted the Southern attack, as he denied good efforts by Molloy, Mulligan, Rodeka, Danny Ledwith and a booming header by Stephen Last on the stroke of halftime.

Keeper Oliver's best effort however, was a super double save from Malloy that could have turned the game. At the other end, Liam Little in the Southern goal saw less action, but had to make a couple of smart saves to keep Southern's hopes alive.

Referee Campbell Kirk-Waugh also featured, as he yellow carded several Southern players, defender Danny Ledwith, Andrew Ridden ( who replaced Ben O'Farrell in the 40th minute ) Rodeka, and Craig Ferguson as the contest heated up. Hamilton's Webster was also booked in the 33rd minute.

There were several good combination attacks as Ferguson linked with Mulligan and delivered effective crosses, and Malloy certainly tested the home side's keeper but to no avail. Possibly Southern's best chance was centreback Last's header in the 45th minute, when the big defender found space to launch a strong header down at goal, and once again keeper Oliver saved.

Southern coach O'Reilly was disappointed. 'We should have come away with something. We dominated the second half, after a fairly even first spell. 'Their keeper ( Oliver ) had a superb match, didn't put a foot wrong, and made a couple of double saves, where he blocked the first shot, then bounced up to grab the second attempt. He would be their Man of the Match.'

O'Reilly continued, ' The goal we conceded after nine minutes was from a corner - that we cleared... but the lad clipped it back in, and hit the jackpot, and the net. Well taken but fortuitous.' 'For us, our best performers were Stephen Last and Craig Ferguson, plus a solid match by Mike Hogan. But there many good performances. We made lots of chances, played with good intensity and - on the day just could not beat their keeper,' he said.

Southern overnights in Hamilton, and after some navel gazing will bounce back, secure in the knowledge that they produced a strong performance, that deserved at least a share of the points.

Next week at the FB Stadium, Southern expects a big supportive crowd for the classic derby match with Canterbury's Dragons at the late kick-off time of 4.35 pm to accommodate the TV cameras.



National Women's League, Southern United vs Canterbury Pride

5-2 loss to Canterbury Pride

By Tom Stevens

An early 11 o'clock kick off didn't hinder our start, with Mikayla Gray winning possession off Canterbury's Right Back to then cross to the far post for Renee Bacon to side-foot home in just the 3rd min. Canterbury replied soon after in the 9th min and again in the 23rd. For the rest of the half, we defended well with plenty of brave tackles and Jade Middleditch making a couple of good saves. We kept them honest, causing them problems on the counter.

We were also competitive throughout the second half so it was disappointing to concede the 3rd goal via a volley from a corner and then their 4th being a 25 yard screamer, leaving Jade no chance. Canterbury scored again in the 77th min after a strong run and cross from their right wing.

However, it was great to finish the game with the last goal of the game in the 93rd minute with Renee Bacon getting her 2nd via a smart finish after a classy diagonal through ball from Holly Johnstone. Holly did a good job containing Football Fern Annalie Longo, while Kate Guildford kept their last week's hat-trick getter quiet.

Our MOTM was Captain Annie Gilchrist who was dominant at Centre Back, in the air and 1 v 1, leading by example. Plenty of positives today, including scoring twice away from home (when was the last time Football South did that??). We'll work on a few things at training this week and should give last year's League winners, Northern a good fight at Tahuna Park on Saturday!