Southern back to winning ways
By Markus Fjørtoft
Southern were winless in four, but an impressive first-half secured a much needed three points
In what was the first of four consecutive games at home, Southern were well aware of the importance of the matchup against Hamilton Wanderers. Winless in four, the team needed three points in order to push up the league table, as well as the moral boost that comes with it.
It was a great scene we were served, as Forysth Barr Stadium looked in sublime condition. Southern had beat Hamilton Wanderers 1-0 in the previous fixture, and sought to replicate that against a Hamilton side looking to push themselves in a playoff spot with a win.
However, the day belonged to Garbhan Coughlan. After some lovely flowing football inside Southern's own half, Coughlan collected the ball 35 yards from goal. With space ahead of him, he determinedly advanced and struck the ball with such conviction in the bottom left corner, the goalkeeper was left rooted to his spot. 1-0.
Despite the promising start, it was Hamilton that notched the next goal, as Xavier Pratt's shot got a significant deflection and left Liam Little powerless to prevent it creeping inside his left hand post. The teams were equal.
Yet, dare us remind you the day did belong to our nr. 9. Merely two minutes later, Coughlan weaved his way through the opposition box, beating all and sundry, and finding himself at the top of the five yard box, calmly slotting the ball to the keeper's right. Messi-ish. Southern were back in the lead.
Southern were close to extending their lead only three minutes later. Coughlan was fouled right outside the box, and Danny Ledwith was only inches from burying it in the top left corner. The home crowd did not have to wait long for another goal though. A through ball found Coughlan on the left-hand side with enough space to take on the defender. Coughlan cut in on goal, the defender kept dropping, and with a little luck and slight deflection, Coughlan's strike found itself in the bottom-right corner. 3-1. A hat-trick for Coughlan in the space of twenty minutes.
By the time halftime came around, Southern had earned themselves a couple more chances but failed to convert. Southern had put on a solid display in the first half, and proved dangerous almost every time they found themselves in the opposition half.
As the second half developed, it was a much-improved Hamilton Wanderers that were at show. The team enjoyed more possession, especially in Southern's own half, but despite the vigor by which they approached the half, they failed to create clear-cut chances.
In the 78th minute, Jared Grove fouled Derek Tieku on the edge of the penalty area, but Tommy Semmy's effort hit the wall, and the danger was averted. Hamilton also had a goal correctly disallowed for offside. With the away team committing numbers forward, Southern had chances to catch them on break.
In the 88th minute, Coughlan beat the offside trap and was in on goal, but his effort was shot wide.
It ended 3-1, and Southern are back to winning ways. Coughlan is the headline stealer, but Southern can also show to a great overall team performance. The team now looks ahead to next weekend when Team Wellington come to town to play, yet again, at the beautiful Forysth Barr Stadium. We hope to see you there!
Southern United 3 (Garbhan Coughlan 13', 24', 30')
Hamilton Wanderers 1 (Xavier Pratt 39’)