Even look to opening of Southern Premier League

Green Island’s Aaron Allan seeks to knock the ball away from Roslyn Wakari’s Karma Gyeltshen...
Green Island’s Aaron Allan seeks to knock the ball away from Roslyn Wakari’s Karma Gyeltshen during the opening round of the Southern Premier League at Ellis Park on Saturday. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Three draws marked an even first round as the Southern Premier League got under way on Saturday.

Defending champion Green Island was held 2-2 by Roslyn Wakari at Ellis Park.

Green Island started the stronger, with both Matt Milton and Adam Hewson having early scoring chances.

Roslyn settled and absorbed the pressure and the home side hit back on the counter with some slick passing for Jamie Le Comte who opened the scoring on 13 minutes.

Green Island’s Cam Anderson, on debut after transferring from Mosgiel, was sent off on 39 minutes by referee Jack Henderson after accumulating his second yellow card.

His wayward arm struck Jak Stevenson in the face.

Green Island soon regrouped and continued to attack through star player Matt Brazier, who forced Tom Stevens into a couple of saves.

At the other end, Green Island’s Christian Firth pulled off a sharp save just before the break to deny a driven effort from Luke Clissold.

In the second half, Green Island was launching long balls from deep and it finally paid dividends.

Hewson latched his head on to one at the far post and equalised on 53 minutes.

Harley Rodeka took the lead back for Roslyn five minutes later.

He got on the end of a wide through ball and with his left foot struck across Firth.

Island brought on Max Johnston up front and pushed for the equaliser.

This allowed Brazier to drop deeper and run at the defence and it was from one such run that the equaliser came.

A run into the box drew Roslyn’s defenders and Shay Thom put in the challenge, and referee Henderson deliberated with both assistant referees before pointing to the spot.

Max Johnson sent Stevens the wrong way to make it 2-2 with six minutes left.

Brazier had the chance for a late winner but his shot was saved by the impressive Stevens.

Meanwhile the South City Royals got the perfect start in their first match, although they also settled for a 2-2 draw away against Queenstown.

Ryan Fleming opened the scoring after only 68 seconds — the Royals pouncing on a loose ball in the midfield and finding Fleming, who finished neatly.

The home side equalised when a shot from skipper Thomas Mills was saved by Liam Whittaker, but debutant Graham Beveridge slotted the rebound.

Eleven minutes into the second half Connor Neil’s header put the Royals back in front, and while they had control of the game, Jack Niven scored an equaliser with 15 minutes left to leave it at 2-2.

Across the Crown Range, Wanaka played out a 1-1 draw against the visiting Mosgiel side.

Taylor Donaldson scored when he got on the end of a raking diagonal 40m pass from Kasim Ali to give the visitors the lead.

However, Wanaka hit back late when Fletcher Cavanagh finished from the edge of the box after Mosgiel did not clear a corner.

Wanaka continued its pressure late but could not break the deadlock.

Otago University beat Northern 6-1 in the other game of the round last Wednesday.

 - Neville Watson

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