CU and TW earn hard-fought wins

Wellington player Andrew Bevin scores a goal during their Stirling Sports Premiership match Tasman Utd v Team Wellington. Trafalgar Park, Nelson, New Zealand. Sunday 11 December 2016. ©Copyright Photo: Chris Symes /

Two goals in three minutes have seen Canterbury United hand Eastern Suburbs their second defeat of the season, while Team Wellington edged past Tasman United in a fiery contest in round eight of the Stirling Sports Premiership today.

Suburbs, the front-runner after seven rounds in a successful return to New Zealand’s top flight, went down at English Park when Canterbury scored a brace of goals shortly after half-time proved the defining period of the match.

Canterbury United head coach Willy Gerdsen was pleased to see his side bounce back at home after suffering back-to-back defeats.

“We deserved to win to be honest,” he said. “Two-nil against a top-class team who are top of the table, I think we got rewarded for all the hard work we are putting in. The rub of the green didn’t go our way in the last couple of weeks but today I am very proud and pleased with our performance.”

Andre de Jong, a New Zealand U-20 rep, opened the scoring in the 50th minute with a brilliant shot from 25 yards out that rifled into the top left corner.

“It was a world-class goal right in the triangle,” said Gerdsen. “In the last couple of weeks that would have hit the crossbar. It is a small margin of difference [that got us the win].”

The hosts doubled their lead two minutes later when All Whites defender Luke Adams brought down de Jong in the box and the reliable Canterbury captain Aaron Clapham stepped up to convert the penalty.

From there, the Dragons controlled the game and frustrated Suburbs – a succession of yellow cards followed and Anthony Hobbs was sent off for a second yellow in the final moments.

Eastern Suburbs coach Malcolm McPherson was disappointed that his side didn’t take their chances – most notably Osita Chikere and Fabien Kurimata who missed from good positions.

“I actually feel we played really well in the first half,” he said. “On another day we could have been one or two up, we created some really good opportunities. If you take those when you are on top then it changes the whole complexion of the game. Andre took his goal very well and whether it was a penalty is debatable. But credit to Canterbury they have not had a lot of luck themselves so we take it on the chin and look forward to next week.”

Meanwhile further north in Nelson, there was no love lost between Tasman United and Team Wellington as the hosts looked for their first win at home in 2016.

After a physical start where both teams picked up two cautions each in the opening 40 minutes, the game began to open up and Team Wellington found their rhythm.

The form team from recent weeks could have scored heading into halftime on a couple of occasions but for some heroic defending from Tasman’s Daniel Allan.

The defending champions picked up where they left off after the break and took the lead straight when Andrew Bevin scored his first goal of the season.

The hosts, who had managed one win this season, got back on level terms when Ermal Hadjari hit a spectacular shot into the top left corner in the 65th minute.

Jose Figueira’s men responded in kind and Joel Stevens got them back in front 10 minutes later. Stevens scored his fifth of the season when the home team was unable to clear a goalmouth scramble.

There was plenty of feeling the final 15 minutes but Team Wellington held on for an important win.

Stirling Sports Premiership Round 8 Results
Canterbury United 2 (Andre De Jong 50’, Aaron Clapham (pen) 52’)
Eastern Suburbs 0
HT 0-0

Tasman United 1 (Ermal Hadjari 65’)
Team Wellington 2 (Andrew Bevin 47’, Joel Stevens 75’)
HT 0-0

Click here for the Stirling Sports Premiership table


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