Southern draws with Auckland
PHILLIP ROLLO AND ANDREW VOERMAN Tasman United coach Davor Tavich is refusing to wave the white flag despite his team conceding an 89th minute equaliser in a 4-4 draw with Hamilton Wanderers that shone the spotlight on their worryingly high penalty count.
Although they did not dip to the lows of last weekend’s 6-0 thrashing at the hands of rivals Canterbury United, Tasman left their temporary home at Saxton Field ruing another disappointing result in the ISPS Handa Premiership as Hamilton’s Alexis Varela scored directly from a freekick with just one minute left to play.
‘‘It is a knock,’’ Tavich said. ‘‘But there’s still seven games left and we always thought we’d need five wins to be there or thereabouts, so until we have no mathematical chance of making the top four then we’ll keep playing and then if we’re good enough we’ll win those five games.’’
Tasman’s Paul Ifill and Hamilton’s Armin Pasagic converted two penalties each in a match that saw four penalties awarded, with Ifill ending the game with a hat-trick.
Tavich said it was not acceptable to be conceding so many penalties, now averaging one every 1.2 games. However, with both penalties coming courtesy of hand balls on Sunday, he said there was no easy solution.
‘‘It has been a worry for the whole season. I guess a little bit of composure in our box when we’re defending would go a long way. But it’s easier said than done,’’ he said.
‘‘You commit [to the tackle] and sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it goes against you. The problem is when it’s in the box it’s a penalty and we’ve conceded quite a few.’’
Although they are now winless in 21 games, Hamilton coach Ricki Herbert said the draw was another ‘‘tick in the box’’ for the competition strugglers.
‘‘We’ve worked hard,’’ Herbert said, having now registered back-to-back draws.
‘‘This is a side that we’re trying to build for the future. A lot of the players are local, we have some young players coming into the team, and we showed good character to come back into the game.’’ Strangely, Tasman were forced to change into their alternate strip at halftime, with the referees only realising after 45 minutes of play that blue and white clashed with blue and white.
Meanwhile, Canterbury United were unable to close the gap on Auckland City after they drew 1-1 with Waita¯kere United at Trusts Arena on Sunday.
Waita¯kere fell behind in the 31st minute after conceding an own goal. They then equalised in the 58th minute, when Godwin Darkwa got on the end of a ball in from the left from Keegan Linderboom.
Both keepers – Coey Turipa for Canterbury and Liam Anderson for Waitakere – were busy, and Canterbury were lucky not to go down to 10 men late on, when James Pendrigh committed a cynical foul to stop a counter attack, but wasn’t shown a second yellow card.
Eastern Suburbs were the big winners of the weekend, beating Team Wellington 2-1 on Saturday to move into a share of the lead.
Auckland City drew 1-1 with Southern United with Ben Wade equalising for Southern after Auckland went ahead just after halftime and Hawke’s Bay United beat the Wellington Phoenix reserves 3-2 on the road.
Paul Ifill (right) netted threee goals for Tasman United against Hamilton in Nelson yesterday.