University wins in shootout to upset form book

It was top versus bottom in the men's premier competition at the weekend.

Albany regained that top spot last weekend, while University B has struggled for points this year.

As with the corresponding women's fixture yesterday, this is not how the match played out at all, University winning a shootout 2-1 after the scores were tied 2-2.

University struck first through Tim Searle, taking a 1-0 lead into the first quarter break.

The Panthers have often led in games this season and then surrendered the lead.

They were determined not to do so on Saturday, but Albany is not top of the table for no reason.

It struck back and evened the score before halftime.

The Alligators scored again midway through the third quarter.

At that point one could have been forgiven for thinking the match was going to follow a familiar pattern for these sides.

But Albany was unable to make the most of its lead.

As the clock ticked down, the Panthers continued to gain confidence they could bring it back.

As with their draw with Taieri a few weeks back, they evened the scores in the last few minutes.

Searle grabbed his double and took the game into a shootout.

Both sides had been in shootouts before this season.

Albany was two from two while University had won its only post-game tilt.

It was Panthers keeper Allan Carson who proved the difference.

He saved both Albany attempts on goal and, when University scored its final shot through experienced campaigner Jamie Pollock, it had won the shootout 2-0
and claimed the bonus point.

In the other matches, University put Southland away, and Kings United beat Taieri to claim the Challenge Shield, the sixth time it has moved this season.

The top three are all within one point of each other now with Taieri a couple of games back.

University B's two points this week closes the gap on Southland for fifth place, but both sides will struggle to make the top four from here.

 - Matt West

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