Collett's goal gives Dragon win over Wellington
Left back Julyan Collett is Canterbury United's topscorer as the Dragons extended their unbeaten streak in Wellington in the national football league.
Collett, who netted in last week's first-round defeat to Auckland City, was on target again at windy Westpac Stadium yesterday in the ASB premiership clash with Team Wellington which doubled as an A-League curtain-raiser.
His 13th-minute strike gave Canterbury a 1-0 win to collect their third successive result on the road in the capital.
"It's not a bad feeling [to be topscorer]," said Collett, who has swapped flanks from right back to left this season to fill the void left by English import Dan Glozier.
Collett streaked down the left flank after he was released by a perfect pass from centreback Vladimir Bayrev, who beat a Wellington striker to create extra space. Collett cut in onto his favoured right foot, slipped by two defenders and drilled a low shot into the corner of the net.
Collett said his goal in Auckland gave him confidence to have another crack and he was enjoying the licence to go forward.
Braithwaite said the victory was vital to Canterbury's campaign because the Dragons could not afford to start the season with two defeats. "It was a good bounce-back from the disappointment of last week. We knew we had two tough games to start against Auckland and Wellington and we had to get something out of them. Ideally, four points would have been fantastic but to get three is a good start for us."
Clearcut chances were rare and both teams, who are looking to close the gap on perennial pacesetters Auckland and Waitakere United, were guilty of too easily turning over possession.
But tireless striker Russell Kamo and All Whites midfielder Aaron Clapham provided Canterbury with that extra touch of class and creativity.
Keeper Adam Highfield used his flailing fists to repel several aerial raids by Wellington and only looked bamboozled once when a corner cannoned off Wellington's big defender Andreas Damgaard and then struck Tom Schwarz before glancing off the Canterbury crossbar.
The Dragons keeper dived to beat out a slick shot after Wellington's Cory Chettleburgh made a mazy run during the home spell's period of dominance in the third quarter.
Auckland, Waitakere and the much-improved Hawke's Bay United are locked at the top of the league with a maximum six points from the first two rounds.
Results: Team Wellington 0 Canterbury United 1 (Julyan Collett). HT: 1-0. Otago United 1 (Regan Coldicott) Auckland City 3 (Luis Corrales 2, Alex Feneridis). HT: 0-0. Waitakere United 1 (David Mulligan pen) Waikato FC 0. HT: 0-0. Hawke's Bay United 4 (Sean Lovemore 2, Stephen Hoyle, Cole Peverley) Youngheart Manawatu 2 (Tom Mosquera, Lewis Cumber). HT: 3-0.