Coughlan hat-trick earns United points

Hamilton Wanderers defender Jordan Shaw (left) and Southern United striker Garbhan Coughlan...
Hamilton Wanderers defender Jordan Shaw (left) and Southern United striker Garbhan Coughlan tussle for the ball during a National Premiership game at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
A big performance was needed and Garbhan Coughlan delivered.

The Irish striker scored a superb hat-trick to help Southern United to a 3-1 win over the Hamilton Wanderers at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

All three goals came in a devastating 17-minute first half period in which Coughlan made the game look easy.

It gave Southern a much-needed three points and snapped a four-game losing streak.

While happy with the goals, it was those points that Coughlan was most pleased with.

"Pretty good to be fair, I’m happy with three goals," he said of the hat-trick.

"I think as a team we haven’t won in four games, so I think it was more important to get those three points.

"We’ve had a couple of poor performances, then a better performance and we didn’t get anything for it, so it was all about getting three points."

A superb strike from Coughlan ignited the game in the 13th minute.

Both teams had a messy start and neither could string together more than a handful of passes at a time.

But when Coughlan was delivered the ball in the middle of the park 30m out he took his opportunity.

He unleashed and rocketed the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal from range.

Hamilton looked capable of threatening on attack and quickly equalised in the 22nd minute.

Xavier Pratt shot from just outside the box and the ball deflected awkwardly into the bottom right corner.

Coughlan restored United’s lead two minutes later.He showed tremendous skill and patience to beat three defenders in the box.

He resisted the urge to snatch at an earlier chance, before calmly slotting the ball into the same bottom left corner.

On the half-hour mark he was back again.

He received the ball in space up the left sideline and took off towards the box.

This time his shot was deflected, but he still did enough to find the goal.

Southern was unable to score after that and while Hamilton improved, it could not break down the defence.

Derek Tieku did look to have pegged one back for the Wanderers midway through the half, but was judged to be offside.

Coughlan had a chance to make it four in the dying stages, but he was unable to convert.

Despite that it took him to nine goals in seven games, continuing a rich vein of form.

"I’m happy with that. It beats my score from last year, as well," he said.

"I said [I wanted] 10 at the start of the season, but we might have to rethink that if I score again.

"I don’t want to say numbers out loud.

"Just as long as we keep winning, the goals will come. If we win games I’ll score more goals, so hopefully that’s what happens.

"I think at the start of the season it was, not a struggle, but to get going and get the first one — as a striker that’s what you need, to get the first one.

"After that he rest will follow. I think it took four games, I needed to get one on the board and then after that the rest followed."


National premiership
The scores

Southern United 3

Garbhan Coughlan 13’, 24’, 30’

Hamilton Wanderers 1

Xavier Pratt 22’

Halftime: 3-1 SU

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