Otago United went down 2-1 to Canterbury in the ASB
Premiership football match played yesterday in Christchurch.
Two goals in two minutes by Canterbury rocked Otago on its
heels as Darren White beat Otago keeper Liam Little in the
24th minute, then Dimitar Bayrev repeated the dose in minute
The second Canterbury goal was conceded when Matt Joy and
Tristan Prattley were bisected by a through ball and
Bulgarian Bayrev darted through to score.
Little would be disappointed at allowing the earlier goal,
but went on to have a fine match and saved a penalty awarded
by referee Mirko Benischke in the 71st minute after Julyan
Collett was fouled. The spot kick was taken by All White
Aaron Clapham in his 50th ASB match, but Otago's keeper
guessed correctly and dived full length to save at the base
of his goalpost.
Later, Canterbury top scorer Russell Kamo hit Otago's post,
but keeper Little had it covered.
Green Island winger Joel Stevens kept Otago in the hunt when
keeper Adam Highfield struggled to punch a cross from his
goalmouth, and the nippy youngster showed excellent technique
to rifle a volley past the keeper's flailing arms just before
halftime, making the score 2-1.
"We had a much better second half, pressing high and forcing
mistakes. But for the second week running we suffered badly
from inconsistent refereeing decisions," Otago coach Richard
Otago replaced striker Aaron Burgess with Jude Fitzpatrick in
the 85th minute, and it seemed as if the big midfielder had
turned up trumps when he hit Canterbury's net, but the goal
Striker Ant Hancock also had a chance for glory when he broke
free, but Highfield managed to push Hancock's shot round the
post for a corner.
The match finished in high drama, as a defensive mistake had
referee Benischke awarding an indirect free kick in the
penalty area metres from Otago's goal line, but a wall of
yellow shirts cleared the ball.
The win propels Canterbury into fourth place. For Canterbury,
it was the fourth home game won against Otago after previous
3-0, 3-1 and 2-0 triumphs.
Otago's home record is better, having notched two recent wins
in Dunedin, but Murray's side presently shares bottom slot in
the ASB with Waikato, having played three, won none, scored
two goals and conceded eight.
In other ASB matches, Wellington earned its first win,
beating Waikato 4-1. Waitakere thrashed Manawatu 5-0, and
Harley Rodeka's Hawkes Bay stayed in second top place by
drawing 1-1 with leader Auckland.
Canterbury United 2
Darren White 24, Dimitar Bayrev 26
Otago United 1
Joel Stevens 45.