St Andrews take title in tough clash

St Andrews secured yet another South Canterbury women's title with a 2-0 win over a battered and bruised Geraldine at the Trust Aoraki Turf on Saturday.

A goal in each half made the win look more comfortable than it was, with the defending champions made to work hard to earn their advantage by a Geraldine team showing the battle scars of a long season.

The visitors dugout looked more like a nurses station at times, as several players needed ice and painkillers to manage their niggles.

Geraldine striker Amy McKercher lasted just 90 seconds before she realised she would not be able to take any physical contact. Strike partner Lorraine Ferreira suffered a possible left hamstring tear 20 minutes into the match.

St Andrews utilised their experience to slowly take control of the match, even though chances were rare in the first half.

A well-taken field goal from Juli Galotto broke the deadlock after 27 minutes and came largely against the run of play. Geraldine had plenty of ball but lacked the killer instinct in the attacking circle.

Breakouts from inside their own half would break down when there was no support from the makeshift attack line.

Geraldine had seven penalty corner chances compared with St Andrews' four.

However, St Andrews goalie Anne-Marie McRae was determined to keep a clean sheet.

Galotto and Geraldine's Georgina McCollough worked hard on defence and attack for their teams but St Andrews offered more on-goal. Amber Boyce stamped her mark on the final by doubling St Andrews' advantage nine minutes from fulltime from a rejigged penalty corner move.

St Andrews coach Tim Greenall said he was relieved to win.

"We feel good now, I'm relieved it's over," he said.

"The girls played well, we defended really hard and took our chances.

"We held our composure well and didn't panic.

"It was nice to hold a clean sheet like we did."

Geraldine coach Carl Hardacre said his team lacked an attacking edge after the early injury setbacks.

"That's exactly what it was, a lack of firepower in attack.

"We played well enough to win it but couldn't get the goal we needed."

The Timaru Herald