Green Island seals title with big win over Northern

Green Island sealed top spot and the Otago Daily Times Southern Championship title with an emphatic 7-2 victory over Northern on Saturday.

The game was shifted from Forrester Park to the new turf at Logan Park and the quicker surface allowed Green Island's incisive movement on and off the ball to come to the fore.

With Chris Kessell pulling the strings from an attacking midfield, Green Island was soon in the ascendancy, Kessell linking well with striker Matt Brazier to test Northern's goalkeeper, Ryan Simpkin, early on.

Green Island's possession allowed Blake Porteous to get forward and the extra man was pinning Northern back, limiting it to breaks as it attempted to feed the ball to Louis Gray and Joshua Skryba.

When Kessell went on a run in the 18th minute he looked up from 30m out to see Simpkin off his line, shot and put Green Island up 1-0.

Four minutes later, Porteous won the ball and found Oscar McCallion, who, with a sublime Maradona turn, beat two defenders and slotted home.

On 35 minutes, Northern won possession and a quick break forward had Skryba pull one back.

A quickfire brace from Matt Brazier in the second half effectively killed off the match - the first when he was instinctively in the right spot to benefit from McCallion's deflected shot and tapped home from 6m and the second when he received a long ball, sped away and coolly finished past Simpkin.

Dunedin Tech had the benefit of a strong wind and put Roslyn under early pressure in their match, especially striker Rhys Quarrell. It went ahead after 10 minutes following a corner when the ball bounced loose and Michael Bergin reacted quickest.

Roslyn's Harley Rodeka was playing in an advanced position and he got the equaliser eight minutes later. Receiving the ball with his back to goal he spun his man and picked his spot in the far post.

Roslyn was not able to take advantage of the wind early in the second half and Tech had the opportunity to take the lead when Quarrell won a penalty - only for Liam Lockhart's spot kick to be saved by keeper Tom Stevens.

Roslyn made Tech pay when Reid Hulleman scored on 73 minutes and then, 3½ minutes later, a thunderous shot from Kasim Ali was saved initially by Tech keeper Daniel Robinson, only to be followed up by Luke Clissold to make the score 3-1. Any hopes of a late Tech comeback were quashed when Quarrell received his marching orders for his second yellow card with 10 minutes remaining.

Wanaka had won four consecutive matches and went into its game against Queenstown looking to stay in second place.

Queenstown was first to break the deadlock on 30 minutes when a corner was not cleared and the loose ball was pounced on by a Rovers striker, who swivelled and superbly volleyed home from 12m out.

The second half had Wanaka showing more urgency . However, Queenstown scored against the run of play when a through ball had keeper Britton Dowling hesitating, which allowed Queenstown to get the vital touch to score after 50 minutes.

Five minutes later, later Wanaka's Barry Grehan gained possession in the middle of the park and drove forward, fed Steve Pleskun, who turned shot past Boccatis to get back in the game.

Queenstown broke and nearly went 3-1 up when Jan Kumar found space wide on the left and drove a rocket of a shot which cannoned of the near post.

Wanaka got a deserved equaliser in the 80th minute - an inswinging corner by Toa Roode had the ball deflecting back across goal to an unmarked Weston Bell, whose volley went in off the crossbar.

Wanaka continued to attack and scored in the 85th minute when Nova Valintine Ruis found himself free in the box and calmly made it 3-2. It was soon 4-2 when Pleskun ran at the defence and squared his pass to Toa Roode, who hit a right-foot shot low past Boccatis.

 - Neville Watson 
 

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