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Being solid at the back meant a result up the front for Southern United last week, something the side is looking to continue when it heads to Christchurch for a derby game tomorrow.
Southern United stood strong against Waitakere at Sunnyvale last Sunday, scoring a late penalty to bag a 1-0 win.
The players stood high in defence and were composed with everything the Auckland-based side threw at them to keep a clean sheet and, courtesy of a Danny Furlong penalty, bag the three points.
More of the same is needed tomorrow when it faces a Canterbury United team which is also having a mixed season.
The sides met earlier in the season when Canterbury United came away with a 2-0 win.
The home team was upset about some refereeing decisions but knew it could have played better.
Southern United coach Paul O’Reilly said a derby always brought a bit more urgency to the game.
"We are expecting that from them. We’ll be looking to get one back over them after they beat us at Sunnyvale earlier in the season," he said.
"I thought it was a pretty close game when we played them. We had a couple of big refereeing calls go against us and we probably did not play as well as we could have."
O’Reilly’s men, though, will have to get the job done tomorrow without three key players, all of them major attacking options for Southern United. Forward Garbhan Coughlan is still recovering from a broken arm, winger Omar Guardiola is also injured and Furlong is struggling with a sore back.
O’Reilly said Furlong could be a chance to come off the bench.
He said the squad, though, was strong and players had done their job when they had had to come in.
Coming in for possibly his first start is English midfielder Nick Treadwell. He was playing for Whitstable Town in the Kent League before joining Southern United late last month.
The defensive performance last week was great, O’Reilly said, and the team just had to continue with that.
The key to a good performance was to maintain that defensive platform and also improve the quality of possession.
The side is eighth on the table with five games left so would have to go on a very strong run to make it into the top four.
O’Reilly had talked about getting into the top six at the start of the season and that was still the goal.Southern United has won two games in a row only once this season and that was in November. The team will travel to Christchurch tomorrow morning and come back late tomorrow night.
Canterbury United is in the fourth and final playoff place on the ladder at present. But it is only five points ahead of Southern United so there is a logjam for the final playoff spot.
Dragons goalkeeper Coey Turipa was outstanding in his side’s 3-2 win over the Wellington Phoenix Reserves last week so he is expected to be a difficult man to beat.
Southern Utd v Canty
Christchurch, tomorrow, 2pm
Southern United: (from) Liam Little, Tom Stevens, Conor O’Keeffe, Kristian Gibson, Tom Connor, Danny Ledwith, Hamish Cotter, Stephen Last, Jared Grove, Andy Ridden, Tim McLennan, Ben Wade, Danny Furlong, Nick Treadwell, Andrew Cromb, Alex Ridsdale
Canterbury United Dragons: (from) Coey Turipa, Dan Terris, Aaron Spain, Tom Schwarz, Gary Ogilvie, Travis Nicklaw, Luke Tongue, Futa Nakamura, George King, Andreas Wilson, Cory Mitchell, Stephen Hoyle, Francis de Vries, Sebastian Schacht, Seth Clark