Meadowbank United is on the cusp of something special in the South Canterbury football competition.
The Oamaru side is on top of the division one ladder, six points clear of Northern Hearts A, which it beat 4-2 at the Oamaru Showgrounds on Saturday, with one game remaining.
A first-half Daniel Brokenshire goal cancelled out a penalty by Hearts and scores were locked 1-1 at halftime.
The game’s decisive period came when Matt Haywood, the competition’s leading scorer, bagged a brace in the space of two minutes in the second half, while Caleb Roberts sealed the result with superb individual effort at the 80-minute mark. Louis Guahnan scored a consolation goal for Hearts.
Meadowbank coach Simon Willetts was “ecstatic” with the result, which gave his side a decisive advantage over chasers Hearts, Thistle A and West End A.
“We dominated across the park, pretty much,” Willetts said.
“We’ve been working on our short game … it proved its worth. Just the dynamic running off the ball was great to see, which generated a lot of opportunities for us.”
However, he was wary of the threat the teams below Meadowbank posed.
Hearts and West End have two games in hand, while Thistle has one as a result of Chatham Cup fixtures.
For Meadowbank to claim its first South Canterbury title, it has to beat Timaru City on Saturday, and hope Hearts, West End and Thistle drop at least one of their remaining games in the 12-match competition.
“If we want to win the competition, we have to win this game,” Willetts said.
Willetts is also in charge of the Meadowbank women’s side, which drew 1-1 with Mountainview High School on Sunday.
Rebecca Whittet scored Meadowbank’s sole goal.
Willetts said the going was tough, particularly in the early stages.
“We took a wee while to get into it _ it was quite wet up there. Once we got into it, the girls made some great opportunities. I was a bit disappointed with a draw, but it’s obviously better than a
“We’ve got a few wee things to work on and we’ll be doing that this week.”
The Meadowbank reserves beat Northern Hearts B 3-1 after leading 2-0 at halftime. Carl Burke scored a double for Meadowbank and Caleb McIntosh added a third.
Meadowbank’s women’s team plays Northern Hearts Red in Timaru on Sunday, while the Meadowbank reserves face Timaru City reserves. Both men’s games will be played at the Oamaru Showgrounds.