Souths still with Premier League prospects

SOUTH United has done its dash in the Tamworth men’s competition, but remains a chance of making the Northern Hockey Premier League final after finishing its round commitments with a loss and a draw on the weekend.

Souths Will Turner tries to sneak his stick in and beat Kiwis' Greg Doolan to the ball during their clash on Sunday. Photo: Geoff O'Neill 170814GOD08

Souths Will Turner tries to sneak his stick in and beat Kiwis' Greg Doolan to the ball during their clash on Sunday. Photo: Geoff O'Neill 170814GOD08

The draw came against Kiwi Diggers on Sunday and ended Souths hopes of squeezing into the Tamworth top three.

They have the bye this week, which is the final round, so can’t advance on their 11 points.

But they will pick up two points for the NHPL. That will put them right in the mix, depending on other results.

Armidale City are assured of one spot and are currently on top on 13 points after accounting for Souths 5-nil in their catch-up game on Saturday, and then having the bye the Sunday.

Souths travelled up with only 12, and without a few regular first graders, and were down to the bare 11 not long into the game with one of their players injuring their neck.

“We still created a lot of chances but were a bit one-out in attack and didn’t finish,” coach Chris Massey said.

City didn’t have the same trouble and scored some good goals, he said.

Souths tired a bit towards the end.

“We started running out of legs,” Massey said.

On Sunday Matt Johnston put Kiwis ahead 1-nil at half-time.

Will Turner levelled for Souths mid-way through the second half, and despite chances at both ends the score remained unchanged from 1-all.

“I thought we played really well,” Massey said.

“I thought we created a lot more chances than they did, but we couldn’t capitalise.”

“Just that last pass or last touch we couldn’t get to work for us.”

They probably had the better of the chances late.

At one stage they had consecutive short corners but couldn’t do anything with them.

Massey said Darcy Doyle was again good in goals for them.

Brock Mackay and Will Turner also played pretty well.

There was a fair bit riding on the game for Kiwis as well, and while the draw was enough to make them safe for the Tamworth finals the extra point would have been handy as far as the NHPL. As it is they’re stuck on 10 points with Tudors and Souths.

“It was a game of missed opportunities,” Kiwis co-coach Andrew Davy said.

“In saying that we made some good saves in defence, which kept us in it.”

On the whole though he thought they had the better of the chances, but as has been the story of their last few weeks they struggled to convert the chances they created.

Davy put it down to a combination of factors – good goalkeeping, good last line  defence, with Massey saving two on the line, and things just not quite clicking in attack.

“We’re probably not combining as well up front as we need to be,” he said.

“We’re a bit impatient when we get into the 25. We want to pull the trigger.”

They were also in their forward half a little bit slow with the release and weren’t letting the ball to the work.

When they did they created chances.

He thought Harry Lewin was good up front.

He was tireless and led well. Nick Chaffey also had the best game he’s seen from him in defence.