Green Island picked up three points and pulled away from the Southern League relegation zone with a deserved 4-3 win over Coastal Spirit at Sunnyvale on Saturday.
Missing some of their star players, the team responded well to coaches Shane Carvell and Stu Moffats’ game plan.
Just as Coastal began to gain more possession and territory with Cameron Rean a fingertip from first base, Green Island took the lead in the 18th minute after a determined run from Cam Anderson. Beating his marker, he brought the ball back from the touchline to Beckham Wheeler-Greenall whose initial shot was well saved by Angus Dempster, but he was there to score the rebound.
The game started to open up and Coastal’s Michael Hogan found himself unmarked in the box. However, his shot went off the crossbar two minutes later.
Along with Anderson, Caleb Williams and Harrison McLean were front and center in most of the home team’s games while Hogan was front and center in most of Spirit’s games.
Spirit nearly equalized in the 35th minute when Christian Firth tipped Jake Hodder’s header into the woodwork.
Anderson switched flanks and in the 44th minute cut from the left channel and unleashed a shot which Dempster parried extremely well with a flying save.
Green Island doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when Weston Bell ran down the left wing, held up his marker and placed his shot over Dempster and into the far corner of the net.
Coastal reduced the deficit when, following a poor clearance, the ball fell on Kenshin Hayashi and he sent the ball into the net.
The setback was only temporary as in the 60th minute Anderson attacked down the right flank and he aimed his low shot at Dempster and scored the goal his performance deserved.
The home side went further with 20 minutes to go when Dempster dropped the ball, Anderson collected it and drove to the contour line and found Harrison McLean, who made no mistake.
Hogan, who had an exhibition game for Coastal, scored in the 77th minute with a solid header at the far post. Coastal was then denied another goal a minute later when Firth made an instinctive save to prevent Cooper Goldsmith.
Coastal have become accustomed to scoring late goals this season and with four minutes left Firth had to react quickly to recover a loose ball in the box. Centre-back Cam Brewitt then did well to clear a goal-bound effort with a header.
In injury time, Coastal scored from a corner as Nicholas Smith headed home. But he ran out of time and the island secured a 4-3 win and three valuable points.
■ Dunedin City Royals got their revenge on Ferrymead with a well-deserved 3-1 victory in Christchurch.
Kaleb DeGroot-Green opened the scoring in the 29th minute and two goals either side of the half, first for Connor Neill and then En Watanabe in the 47th minute, secured the points.
Ferrymead scored a 90th-minute consolation goal through Michael White.
■ Mosgiel were beaten by three Nomads goals in the first half in Christchurch .
Jack Walecki got the final touch for an unfortunate own goal after 11 minutes. Guy Reeves and Kenny Willocks scored the other Nomads goals.
Selwyn remains bottom of the table after a 3-1 loss to Cashmere Tech.
■ In the first round of the four-team South Island Women’s Championship, Dunedin City Royals beat Roslyn-Wakari 2-1.
The Royals got off to a dream start when Chelsea Whittaker opened the scoring in the third minute with a smashing shot from just inside the box.
But that only excited Roslyn-Wakari, who equalized just six minutes later when Zara Prattley charged a loose ball and made no mistakes in front of goal.
The Royals created more chances but were 1-1 at half-time.
Hannah Mackay-Wright appeared to score her seventh goal of the season to seal victory for the Royals, who host Cashmere Technical in the second round, while Roslyn play Coastal Spirit.
■ In the ODT Southern premiership, Dunedin City Royals came from behind to defeat Northern 4-1 at Forrester Park.
Hayden Teixeira gave the home side the lead. However Max Davidson equalized just before half-time.
The game turned early in the second half when North goalkeeper Liam Little was sent off. The Royals then scored three goals in the space of seven minutes to ensure they remained top of the table.
Roslyn Wakari lost ground to the Royals when they succumbed to a surprise 1-0 loss to Green Island. Blake Fairbairn scoring the winning goal after four minutes.
The university beat Northern Hearts 6-0.
— Neville Watson