Northern Hearts happy with title win
Northern Hearts have wrapped up the South Canterbury division one men's football title, after second placed Pleasant Point's shock 2-1 loss to West End.
The second-to-bottom team in the league took their chances better than an out-of-sorts Pleasant Point side, who were rattled from an early refereeing call.
West End's win also confirms Awamoa will finish bottom, while the middle of the table becomes slightly more congested.
Pleasant Point were unlucky not to be given a penalty in the opening three minutes, after the West End goalkeeper clearly took out the Pleasant Point attacker, only for the referee to wave play on.
What followed was 10 minutes of spicy football, as the challenges for the ball became more physical, and the referee waved yellow card after yellow card.
Pleasant Point dominated field position, as they had the speed up-front through Blair Struthers and Jeremy Linton, but they could not find the opening they needed for a goal.
West End were using the long ball to launch most of their attacks, with limited success.
The defences had the best of the opening half hour, although West End were the busier of the two teams.
When Pleasant Point struck the crossbar with two minutes to go, through Linton, it summed up their half perfectly.
West End were given the last chance of the first half through a free kick 30 metres out, in the middle of the field.
The free kick was neatly played over the defensive wall and in to the path of Aaron Procter, who coolly finished despite the attention of the Pleasant Point defenders.
Against the run of play, West End had a goal advantage at halftime.
Pleasant Point came out after halftime determined to get back on level terms.
Midfielder Eddie Iraia looked dangerous for Pleasant Point, as he looked to be the architect of the equaliser, with strong runs on the right wing.
Much like the first half, Pleasant Point had no problem with possession or territory, it was finding the back of the net which proved elusive.
Corner after corner came and went, and time after time they were cleared away by the stubborn West End defence.
West End captain Glen Paul was resolute at the back for his team.
Frustration for Pleasant Point probably turned in to disbelief, when what looked like a harmless long-ball from West End found itself in the path of a charging Kenny Cox, who powered the ball in to the back of the net with eight minutes remaining.
Surprisingly, the game looked safe for West End, until their defence was finally breached by substitute Hamish Marr.
West End were not to be denied a hard-fought win, which Paul dedicated to the family of coach Jim Wilox, who was unable to be at the game due to a family bereavement.
Pleasant Point coach Mike Otley said a lack of execution in front of goal let them down, and they would now have to shift their attention to securing second in the league.
Northern Hearts had no trouble disposing of Awamoa 8-0.
Hearts had seven different goal scorers, and with the league title now wrapped up, player-coach Matt Chambers said they would look to rest a few players before the South Canterbury Cup began in three weeks.
Timaru City continued their strong form with a come-from-behind 4-3 win over Timaru Boys' High School. Despite being down 2-0 at halftime, Timaru City coach Shane Johns said his team rallied with the wind in their favour in the second half.
He credited his left half Dave Stafford with a strong performance, and said he was looking forward to a possible third place decider against Meadowbank United.
TBHS coach Gary Ivamy said it was disappointing to give up the winning position, but he was pleased with the effort of his team.Tom Hall scored twice for TBHS.
Thistle defeated Temuka/Geraldine 4-0. Thistle captain Craig Hinton said it was a good momentum builder for his team.
Temuka/Geraldine coach Rodger Payne said his side struggled into the wind, and were unable to get in to the game.
The Timaru Herald