Old Boys too strong again
Old Boys domination of this season's Southland Football premier men's Donald Gray Cup competition continued on Saturday at the ILT Football Turf, in Invercargill, when they accounted for Southend United 5-1.
Last year's champions Southend United played their best football of the season for long spells but were outfinished by Old Boys who ran in three of their goals in the final 15 minutes.
"It was a much better performance today [Saturday] and the two missed opportunities when we were trailing by just one goal proved costly," said Southend United coach Iain Walker.
The game was slow to gain momentum as both teams worked to get their rhythm going in the early exchanges.
Old Boys made most of the attacking plays but were met by stubborn opposition from the Southend defence for whom centre back Danny Turnhout had an outstanding game.
When Southend began to hit their straps Old Boys skipper and centre back Hamish Low proved his worth as he matched Turnhout's performance at the other end.
The first goal came at the 15-minute mark when a high cross was floated into the Southend penalty box where Bara'a Toubat got the final touch to the ball and nudged it into the net to put Old Boys ahead 1-0.
Neither team could find a way through stubborn defensive play and Old Boys protected their one goal advantage to the half time break.
Southend's best chance came three minutes into the second half when Kyle Schins mistimed his shot on an open Old Boys goal and hit the ball wide of the net.
Two minutes later Old Boys proud record of not having conceded a goal in 590 minutes of football this season came to an end.
And it was in quite spectacular fashion as Southend's Kurt Knarston drove a thunderous volley some 23 metres from goal over the outstretched arms of Old Boys' keeper Mitch Fowler and into the roof of the net to level the score at 1-1.
Southend's jubilation lasted just five minutes as James Tucker rose high above the Southend defenders to restore Old Boys' lead at 2-1.
Midway through the half fitness became a factor and Old Boys began to gain superiority around the field.
They extended their lead to 3-1 when Toubat netted his second goal of the afternoon and then in quick succession goals from Jack Boland and Jordan Wards inflated the winning margin to 5-1.
"It was a good game, we began playing too fast and made many mistakes early, but once we settled down we created chances and scored goals when it mattered." said Old Boys coach Ignacio Sande.
At Surrey Park EWL Waihopai celebrated their club day with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Autotec Thistle.
The teams, who had fought out a 2-2 draw in round one, shared bottom place without a win for the season going into the game so a delighted Waihopai coach Shane Harpur was thrilled with the result.
Harpur suggested that after a bad start to the season selecting a consistent starting eleven for this and the previous two games contributed to their improvement.
Waihopai led 2-1 at the half time break through goals from Mohammed Sheraan, and Matthew McDowell to a reply from Thistle's Morgan Vine.
Second half goals from Carl Henderson and Grant Bell were enough to lift Waihopai above Thistle on the points table with their 4-1 win.
Division One: Winton 5, Western Rovers 3; Queens Park 2, Old Boys 1; Gore Wanderers Red 3, Gore Wanderers Black 2; GoPro Invercargill Thistle 5, Arrow International Waihopai 4.
Division Two: Thistle Blue 3, Smiths City Waihopai 1; Southend United Black 4, Queens Park Masters 0; Old Boys Red 24, Western Rovers 0; Cleanways Thistle 2, Old Boys White 1; Gore Wanderers 0, Old Boys Black 0; Southend United Green 5, Queens Park 1.