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Dunedin Technical coach Tony Martin has described his side’s punishing 5-1 defeat by Nelson Suburbs and lowly finish on the Southern Football League standings as a valuable learning experience.
His side was outplayed by Nelson in its last game of the season on Saturday. Nelson was particularly dominant in the second half, knocking in four unanswered goals.
It has given the St Kilda-based club a lot to think about as it reflects on its efforts in the inaugural tournament.
It finished seventh in the eight-team competition, having won just one of its seven games.
Martin was not about to gloss over his side’s struggles or the disappointing results of the Football South teams. In fact, he was keen to highlight them.
"The number one lesson is the standard is higher, the game is quicker, we have to do things faster and we have to be tactically more aware," Martin said, adding he was not at all surprised by the dominance of the Mainland Football sides.
"The league down here has been allowed to drift off in standards for the last 10 years, and that was fully what we expected.
"While you are always wanting to do better in terms on your league results, I think it is a fair reflection [of the comparative strengths of the sides].
"We need the league because, as the results have proven, there is a gap between us and the Mainland teams and we need to be closer and more competitive ... otherwise the gap to the national league will become too great."
Dunedin Technical was playing well up until just before halftime. It led 1-0 until Nelson scored an equaliser just before the break.
The game quickly "got away" on Dunedin Technical. It played some "end of the season" footy in the final 40 minutes, Martin said.
"It is a negative result in terms of the goals. But we got a lot out of it in terms of our team and where we are at and where we are going.
"The beauty of this league is if you make mistakes you get punished. We made mistakes, got punished and as we tried to chase the game got punished again.
"You’ve got to experience that to actually be better."
Queenstown also had a humbling day, losing 6-0 to Nomads United at home.
Southland United did not fare any better, losing 3-0 to Ferrymead Bays in Christchurch. The loss meant it finished last in the tournament.
Queenstown has one game remaining, but will finish sixth. Cashmere Technical beat Coastal Spirit 2-0 on Saturday to wrap up the title.