Late goal puts Dogs through to semis

Kieran O’Connor.
Kieran O’Connor.
A 58th-minute goal has sent the Southern Dogs through to the semifinals of the national hockey league.

Kieran O’Connor scored the winner in the dying stages in the team’s quarterfinal in Wellington last night, securing a 3-2 upset win over the Central Mavericks.

The Dogs had to come from behind, having trailed 2-1 late in the third quarter.

Lachie Davidson scored the equaliser from a penalty corner in the 42nd minute, before O’Connor touched one in after a ball was laid across with less than three minutes to go.

Earlier it had been a rocky start, as Dylan Thomas gave Central a 1-0 lead from a penalty corner just four minutes into the game.

That had come as a surprise to Southern, as the Central penalty corner combinations had not looked good in previous games.

Southern captain Nick Ross struck back before the first break, but Mac Wilcox answered early with another penalty corner in the second quarter to give Central a 2-1 lead.

Cocah Mark Kake said the team was "over the moon" and had stuck together as a group the whole way through.

He felt the team had grown better as the tournament progressed.

Without any pre-tournament games, the pool matches had acted as build-up games and the side was now clicking.

Both teams played a similar style, countering quickly, making for an intense, end-to-end game.Kake said experienced duo Nick Ross and Nick Elder had been  calming influences on the side.

He also thought defenders Matt Moore and Vinnie O’Connor had been key, both making some crucial tackles to keep out the Central attack.

Goal keeper Dom Dixon also had a strong game, making several impressive one-on-one saves.

Southern will play North Harbour in tomorrow’s semifinal at 2.30pm.

While the Dogs lost the earlier meeting between the two teams 4-0, the team had decided to replace some of its players at 2-0 in order to give them some rest.

Kake said North Harbour liked to knock the ball around the back, meaning Southern would look to set its defence up to look for intercepts.

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