Timaru City get off mark in South Canterbury Football League
Timaru Herald. Reporter:CHRIS HYDE
Timaru City are off the mark for the season, holding on for a gutsy 1-1 draw in an at-times pulsating encounter with in-form West End.
Both sides squandered good opportunities to ice the game during their South Canterbury Football League match-up at West End Park on Saturday.
West End will be disappointed not to come away with three points but may walk away the happier as the draw means they retain the keenly-contested Karen Cox memorial trophy.
The game was highly entertaining early on with West End peppering the goal and Timaru City giving as good as they got on the counter attack.
It took a plum of a goal from West End defender Glen Paul to put the green and whites ahead mid-way through the first half.
Paul brought the ball down well outside the area, and was gifted a yard of space to launch a shot. It was not a bullet but it was perfectly placed and to the dismay of Timaru City's keeper, dipped just under the crossbar.
West End were far more structured but they struggled to contain the attacking presence of Ryan Hanifin and Nasy Khynku who latched on to long balls sent their way more often than not.
It was Khynku who provided Timaru's equaliser, albeit a little fortuitously, near the end of the first half when his wheeling shot cannoned off a defender and looped over keeper-coach Trevor Johnston.
The game lulled along after halftime until the 70th minute when both keepers were involved in collisions with the opposing team.
The ignition of injustice seemed to wake both sides up, but neither could finish their chances.
West End striker Tyler Cox had a superb day when it came to getting free but was frustrated by the inability to finish, while his brother Kenny had an immediate impact off the bench and would have scored were it not for a superb save.
With five minutes to go, Hanifin had space to launch a curling shot from distance for Timaru, but it was blocked by Johnston and then launched forward to Connor Bourke.
With three attackers bearing down on one Timaru City defender, Bourke opted for the short pass but it was off-target, and last week's four-goal hero Danny Campbell could not wrap his foot around it.