Hamilton Wanderers started their first ever National League campaign with a win this weekend, a lone goal from Tom Davis in the first half was enough to put the game to bed as Wanderers pass their first challenge at the highest level of New Zealand football.
Southern United made a game of it however, showing Wanderers just how tough the league would be this season. For the opening 5 minutes, fans could argue that Southern held complete control over the game as the home team looked to find their footing.
Wanderers’ first real attack on goal was the first and only goal of the match, Xavier Pratt’s terrific attempt on goal rebounded right to the foot of Tom Davis who showed the composure to fire home from close range.
Alexis Varela was finding room in the midfield to stretch his creative muscles, combining well with Mark Jones on the right hand side, however, each time Wanderers got into range of goal an unnecessary foul or offside call would come out giving Southern the chance to restart the play.
Wanderers’ held much of the possession in the first half, but the play was scrappy and whilst there were a few well executed attempts on goal, Southern were doing their best to keep themselves at a one goal deficit.
The away team whilst not finding as many chances in the first half, did always have the threat of Eric Molloy up front who was causing some havoc trying to find the pockets of spaces in the Wanderers defense.
The second half was still a scrappy affair, Southern however were the ones who were starting to dominate. The likes of Molloy and Ledwith had shots on goals and Matt Oliver had to become the hero producing three massive saves to keep the score at 1-0.
The introduction of Marc Evans and Jama Boss saw Wanderers slowly regain a foothold in the game, but with energy levels depleted both teams continued to play out the scrappy affair with the game finishing with just the one goal.
Whilst not the flashiest of starts to the campaign, Hamilton Wanderers can take positives from their performances along with Southern United as both teams look to challenge for the top spots come season end.