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The three qualifying Southland soccer league teams were on display in Invercargill in 1976 being Queens Park, Waihopai and United. There was also Green Island from Dunedin competing.
United looked like the team to beat and was up by 2 goals through playing some fast paced soccer.
The ball did not really reach either end of the pitch which meant it was played mainly in mid field and the spectators enjoyed the skills produced by the players.
United had the wind behind them and used their skills to kick long racking balls but they just could not find the net. A couple of great runs from Malcolm Ferguson was the closest they got to the goal.
Realising this tactic was not working for them they tried shorter quick passes, which paid off immediately and Wayne Glendinning started a move that included several players and their result was a goal.
Brian Swales was outstanding for United, carrying the ball forward on attack and then kicking the ball accross the face of the goal for Lindsay Thomas which had the defence scrambling.
One of the better goals seen for a long time, just before half time Steve Hutchby completed a series of quick one-two passes which took his team well down towards goal.
Leaving the ball with Thomas Hutchby, Swale broke right and Thomas then found Swale again and pushed the ball through to him and then when he had everything set up he passed back to Hutchby who put the ball in the net. It was a brillant piece of soccer between the two players and the crowd loved it.
Green Island came out a different team in the second half and had United on the back foot, their coach, Alan Wright got the goal when a ball was deflected off United and grabbed by Murray Muir who fed his coach to score.
Wright had another crack two minutes later but the ball hit the cross-bar.
After a bit of a stand off Glendinning came back at Green Island and with great support from Thomas as much as they tried the gap just never opened.
United deserved the 2-1 win.
Reference: Impressive Play by United. The Southland Times April 1976.
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