Southern United claim back-to-back wins in the Stirling Sports Premiership
Southern United have claimed back-to-back wins in national league football for the first time in more than two years, beating Hamilton Wanderers 4-0 in Mosgiel on Saturday.
Winger Eric Molloy scored at the start of each half and was joined by Danny Furlong in the first spell and Sam Cosgrave late in the second, as Southern triumphed for the second time in a row, following on from their 3-1 win over Tasman United at the end of last year.
It was the first time they'd won two in a row since November 2014, and they will now be setting their sights on a third next Sunday, when they travel north to play Canterbury United in Christchurch, a feat they haven't managed since December 2011.
Even if the wins have come against two sides new to the competition, they show that Southern are an improved outfit this season, and they owe a lot to new coach Paul O'Reilly's move to bring in six players from League of Ireland club Wexford Youths - Molloy and Furlong are two of them - who all started on Saturday.
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Molloy gave his side the perfect opening, finishing neatly at the end of a solo run in the sixth minute at Peter Johnstone Park.
Wanderers were handed a chance to get back in the contest in the 22nd minute, when a Marc Evans free kick was judged to have been handled in the box, but Bailey Webster's penalty was neatly saved by Southern goalkeeper Liam Little, the first time he'd been denied from the spot in four attempts this season.
Despite conceding a second, to Furlong in the 33rd minute, the visitors kept attacking throughout the game, but allowing Molloy his second right as the second half opened would have dented their hopes of making a comeback, and so it proved, with substitute Cosgrave adding a fourth goal for the hosts in the dying minutes.
For Southern, it was the first time they had scored that many since February 2014, while for Wanderers, it was the third game in a row where they have conceded that many, showing they still have plenty of work to do to improve their defence.
The win moves Southern off the bottom of the Stirling Sports Premiership ladder, although Tasman, now two points behind Southern, will be able to move ahead of them if they beat Canterbury United on Sunday.
The other games in the 10th round on Sunday include a rematch of last year's grand final, with league leaders Team Wellington hosting Auckland City at Dave Farrington Park, the Wellington Phoenix reserves travelling north to Auckland to play Eastern Suburbs at Bill McKinlay Park, and Waitakere United hosting Hawke's Bay United at the Trusts Arena.
AT A GLANCE
Southern United 4 (Molloy 2, Furlong, Cosgrave) beat Hamilton Wanderers 0