Southland Football wound up the 2013 season on Saturday at the ILT Football Turf in Invercargill when it's senior men's and academy under-19 rep teams played their Southern United equivalents from Otago.
It was a good day for the locals who gained a win (under 19s) and a draw (senior men) during the afternoon.
It was also a welcome return to representative football for the Southland senior men's team which had not been called up for duty since Otago beat them 5-2 in Dunedin in 2007.
Men's committee chairman Lindsay Thomas has been advocating a return to provincial games since he accepted the role with Southland Football and is keen to follow up with more games next season and beyond.
The youth team suffered a setback when James McGarry netted an early goal for Southern United to give them a 1-0 lead.
Finn Moore replied for Southland to level things up at 1-1 before Jack Boland scored to give the locals a 2-1 advantage that they never surrendered.
Youth team coach Barry Gardiner must have been impressed with the way his team protected the lead, and as most of them will be going to the under-19 tournament in Christchurch at Labour Weekend the outcome showed they are progressing well.
The senior men battled out a dour 0-0 draw in the main fixture with both teams displaying a complete lack of thrust in the attacking third of the field.
As a result goalkeeping saves were at a minimum, although both keepers, Chris Marsh for Southland and Tom Batty for Southern United, were called to the rescue in the second half.
Marsh with a fine point-blank range save and Batty by impeding the progress of Southland striker Steve MacDonald when he appeared likely to score.
It was a different story in midfield and defence where the players were involved in some absorbing struggles as each team fought for domination.
Outstanding for Southland was Gore domiciled Juan Jaurretche at left back. Jaurretche plays his football for Gore Wanderers and is certainly a welcome addition to Southland's football ranks.
The backline was completed by Old Boys' Hamish Low and Jono Ross who combined well to stave off the Southern United strikers.
In mid field Barry Gardiner was as assertive as ever and was well supported by Queens Park's Tom Kent and Ryo Okuyama.
This was the first hitout for new Southern United coach Luiz Uehara's squad and it was depleted somewhat with the absence of senior players from Dunedin Technical, Caversham and Roslyn Wakari. Uehara used the game as an opportunity to assess some fringe players striving for selection in his final lineup.
The bevy of afternoon games was completed with the Southland senior women's team beating the Southland under-17 girls' 2-1, courtesy of goals from Jackie Robertson and Theresa Rhein. Alex McIntosh netted the under-17s goal from the penalty spot.
- The Southland Times