Football: Cliffhanger at Tahuna ends in draw

Green Island player Nick Meglinski shoots past Caversham's Andrew Ridden during their Football...
Green Island player Nick Meglinski shoots past Caversham's Andrew Ridden during their Football South Premier League match at Tonga Park yesterday. Caversham won 2-0. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Form teams set the pace in yesterday's season opening Football South Premier matches, as Caversham and Dunedin Technical won easily, but at Tahuna Park in a mid-table cliffhanger University and Roslyn-Wakari battled out a 3-3 draw.

Both sides controlled phases in the game, and Roslyn started brightly, stringing passes together against a flat Varsity side.

Sustained pressure from coach Colin Thom's side forced a penalty kick, which Mike Sannum converted at his second attempt.

The goal woke Varsity up and the students went on to dominate the rest of the half with penetrating pace on the flanks, especially from Jeremy Fong, that produced a goal for captain Henry Flood, and two from Truth Toheriri.

At the interval, Varsity's 3-1 lead looked solid, and coach Darren Hart's side started well in the second spell, forcing keeper Tom Stevens to pull off a couple of splendid one-on-one saves.

As the clock ticked onwards, Roslyn cranked up its work-rate.

Cam Attwood showed power in central midfield, and there was a glimmer of light as Roslyn hit the net, but linesman Chris Boyd flagged offside, since Varsity's defenders had pushed forward.

It was not until the 82nd minute that Roslyn powered back into the game, when Shea Thompson sliced through to make it 3-2, and more than a few watches were scrutinised as the referee played on.

Just when it seemed Varsity had survived, Roslyn scored in injury time as Rupert Mark carved in from the left and beat keeper James Berry with a ripper of a shot to tie the match 3-3.

Goals in the closing stages of each half certainly entertained the crowd, and while Varsity's coach Hart thought a slow start had cost his side, Roslyn's Thom welcomed the impact his three second-half substitutes - Seamus Gray, Patrick Ebanda and goal-scorer Thompson - had made.

A brave first-half display by Green Island kept Caversham in check for half an hour, but eventually last year's champion side won 2-0 to retain the Blair Davidson Challenge Shield, at Tonga Park.

At Forrester Park, Dunedin Technical served notice of a strong challenge this year as player coach Aaron Burgess opened the scoring in a 4-nil win over Northern.

Other goals came from Taylor McCormack and Tim McLennan (2), as Northern struggled to contain the slick Technical side.

One flaw in maroon was the red card attracted by former Mosgiel defender Mike Abbott in his first game for Tech.

Monday's 2.45pm games are : Northern v Green Island at Forrester Park, Mosgiel v University at Memorial Park, and Dunedin Technical v Roslyn-Wakari at Tahuna Park.

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