It was a closely fought match at Fred Taylor Park in West
Auckland in Round 3 of the Stirling Sport Premiership between
Waitakere United and Southern United, and despite a gallant effort
from both sides, the game was drawn 2-2.
Waitakere United have had a strong start to the season with two
big wins over Auckland City FC and newcomers Hamilton Wanderers,
with an unexpected loss to Hawke's Bay in the mix. However Southern
came into the match off the back of two narrow losses in the first
two rounds, and despite being without last week's goal scorer Eric
Molloy and Southern stalwart Jude Fitzpatrick, were impatient to
notch their first win.
Right from the first whistle it was clear it was going to be a
tight game. The game started scrappy and while there were moments
of calm and cohesion for both sides, much of the game was played
frenetically at pace.
Despite a tireless Southern defence, exemplified by Ross Howard
who made many goal-saving tackles throughout the match, Waitakere
United overall had more possession of the ball and scored both
goals after a period of relentless attack.
The first goal came from a powerful shot by Waitakere United's
captain Jake Butler, from out wide that curled expertly into the
top far corner of Liam Little's goal, who, in a rare moment, was
unable to get a hand to the ball.
Ten minutes later Southern United were given the opportunity to
equalise after Danny Ledwith was brought down in the goal box by
Waitakere United's Ian Hogg. Ledwith stepped up and coolly
converted his own penalty to level the scores 1-1.
The goal gave the Southern side a much-needed boost of
confidence, which resulted in more poise on the ball. Andy Mulligan
controlled the left hand side of the pitch making some cutting runs
and was eventually rewarded 25 minutes into the second half
whipping in a lethal cross into the goal box that deflected off a
Waitakere United defender and into the back of the net to give
Southern United a 2-1 lead.
Despite near-heroic efforts in defence for the final 15 minutes
by Southern United, Waitakere United's Scott Hilliar eventually
broke through in the 87th minute to score the equalising