Gardiner keen for more games

Southland Football development officer Barry Gardiner hopes Otago United will continue to play games in Invercargill to help inspire Southland children.

For just the second time a National Premiership Football game was played at Rugby Park in Invercargill when Otago United hosted Wellington yesterday.

About 350 football followers showed up for the occasion - down on the 500 Southland football had hoped for - but Gardiner still deemed it a success.

"I think it's a fantastic opportunity for our younger players to see national league level football, and not just our young players but everybody to see a higher level of football which is good," he said.

"I'd like to see in the future that at least once a year they are down here. I think what they are trying to do is, because it's a federation seven team, so basically a team from south, the idea is to incorporate more of the region."

He said the crowd of about 350 was on par with what Otago had been getting for home games in Dunedin.

The result didn't go Otago United's way as they conceded two first-half goals to lose 2-0 in their final game of the 2012-13 competition.

The first came in the 16th minute when Otago were guilty of a sloppy clearance, giving the ball straight to Cory Chettleburgh who lobbed it on to the head of Henry Fa'arodo who scored the goal.

The second came just eight minutes later, again from a poor clearance from Otago.

Benjudah Fitzpatrick's clearance hit Hamish Watson, who deflected it back behind the defensive line. He then went one-on-one with United goalkeeper Liam Little and doubled Wellington's lead.

To Otago's credit they did match Wellington throughout a good chunk of the rest of the game but couldn't claw their way back.

They finish the season without picking up a point at home and had an overall record of 12 losses and two wins.

The Southland Times