Southside too strong for Avros
“YOU don't win grand finals in April-May,” was the message coming from Southside coach Wayne Edwards after his side recorded a 5-0 victory over an improved Avros outfit on Saturday.
Southside, winless this season prior to Saturday, indicated they will give the Grafton Men's Hockey A grade competition a real shake with a near flawless display of hockey.
Edwards was understandably delighted with his side's performance.
“We were much better this week ... we have limited our squad to 14 players which has given us more continuity,” he said.
“We were none from three until today's game and we can only go forward from here.
Southside came out of the blocks firing and within minutes had several shots at goal, only to be denied by Avros goalkeeper Damien Rose.
After sustained pressure Southside received a timely penalty corner and Kurt Morris drag-flicked the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Southside continued to bombard Rose and again received a penalty corner. Morris repeated his first effort and flicked the ball into the backboard to put his side ahead 2-0.
Avros' defence looked brittle at times and a lack of talk did not help their cause.
Southside repeatedly channelled the ball down the right side, which paid dividends - Reece Edwards found him self unmarked at the top of the circle and hammered the ball past the goalie for a 3-0 scoreline.
With half time looming Avros appeared to step up a gear and mounted several attacking raids, but could not find the net.
Against the run of play Southside, through Edwards and some luck, saw the ball rebound off his stick and into the net for a 4-0 lead at the break.
The second half saw a different and committed Avros side take the field. Led superbly by captain-coach Michael Wunderlich they finally put pressure on Southside's backs.
Wunderlich's precise passing gave his side several scoring opportunities, but they failed to capitalise.
Both sides continued to attack down the edges and with the new 'free-hit' rule implemented, the game was being played at a hectic pace.
Southside could have went further ahead if not for a brilliant piece of goalkeeping by Rose, whose out-stretched arm deflected the ball away from the net.
An intercept by Edwards just outside the circle saw him beat two defenders and then back-stick the ball into the goal and put the game beyond doubt.
At times hockey can be a cruel game - just ask Wunderlich. He received a superb pass, which he fired into the circle, the ball deflected off a teammate's stick and into the net. However, the players' excitement was short-lived as the umpire ruled the ball had come off the stick and then onto the player's foot.
Southside's win came on the back of their expansive play and tight defence.
Having Kurt Morris back from injury gave them more attacking options up front, and with Dean Herbert, they will test most defences.
Once again Avros failed to perform to their ability in the first half.
Their second-half effort proved they can mix it with the more fancied sides in the competition.
For Southside, Morris was the pick of the players while the experienced Wunderlich and Dave Young were Avros' best.
In the other game played, City Bears got out of jail with a 1-all draw against Sailors.
Ahead 1-0 with only 13 minutes remaining Sailors looked to have the game in the bag until a goal by Dave Dart levelled the score.