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Southland United has bounced back in emphatic style to cause a major upset in the Southern Football League.
Coming off two consecutive hefty losses, the side beat Coastal Spirit 2-1 in Christchurch yesterday.
It was a win made even more impressive by the fact that Coastal Spirit was coming off an 11-1 win against Queenstown FC a week ago.
While in previous matches Southland has wilted after competitive starts, this time it was able to hold on.
It went up 1-0 in the 12th minute. A through-ball put Hayato Wakino into space in behind the defence.
That left him one-on-one with the Coastal Spirit goalkeeper and he duly dispatched.
That became 2-0 in the 31st minute after Southland had identified the left side as being a weakness of the host.
It played up there and crossed into Jack Borland, who tapped the ball in on the six-yard box. The side held that lead until halftime and coach Luis Pavia said Southland had controlled the game throughout the first 45 minutes.
That became tougher after the break as Coastal Spirit began to put Southland under the pump. However, rather than folding, the Southland defence proved resilient in what Pavia described as a brave display. It did concede with eight minutes to play, hbut the side was able to hold firm to close out the win.
The win was a big one for Southland and it had been looking forward to its first points.
However, Pavia said the feeling it had been more competitive than the score suggested in last week’s 6-1 loss to Nomads United had provided motivation.
"As I said earlier this week, I don’t think the difference between our teams from down south compared to the teams from Christchurch is that big.
"I think we were happy today; we had a good performance.
"It was easy for us to approach this game; we came from a loss and we were quite disappointed with that. Coastal Spirit came from an 11-1 win. It’s difficult for them to get any better than that.
"After the game they said they didn’t, but probably they took us a bit easier than they usually do with other teams."
He said the side had worked well during the week and was now looking to take its form into its penultimate match against Nelson Suburbs next week.