Southern United goalkeeper Rhys Dawes produced a monster effort in goals to help his side secure a gritty point in a 1-all draw with Port United on Tuesday night.
On a night of talking points, the Ospreys overcame a number of hurdles pre-game and during the fixture to share the points in a result that allowed them to end a three-game losing streak.
Ethan Perry and Beau Wynter were shown red cards in the second half and they lost Roan Whitemann to a positive Covid test result and Bayden Schumann to injury less than two hours before kick-off.
Port United coach Adam Bruest was left to lament a night of missed opportunities after Riley Taylor’s first-half strike cancelled out Wynter’s 25th minute goal.
“I thought we had the better of the game, but we just didn’t find that goal,” Bruest said.
“Their goalkeeper was good and he kept them in the game. I thought we definitely had way more shots, but we just couldn’t convert when we needed to really. It’s back to the drawing board.”
The Ospreys were reduced to nine men when Wynter was sent off with five minutes remaining, but United still couldn’t find the key to unlock a resolute defence.
“Maybe it was a bit of a coaching error from me towards the end and I’ll put my hand up and tell the boys at training on Thursday,” Bruest said.
“I had guys on the bench, but I thought the side we had really should have got the job done.”
Southern United coach Jonathan Newman was full of praise for his side, in particular Dawes, who came up with a number of second-half saves to keep his side in the contest.
“Our goalkeeper was definitely the busier of the two and Rhys Dawes had an absolute monster of a game for us,” Newman said.
“In the end some of the saves he made got us the point that we ended up with. There were four saves in the second half that I thought ‘he’s got no right to make those’, but he made them.
“He was the real hero for us.”
The draw keeps the Port Macquarie-based side in fifth position on the ladder while Southern leapfrog Port Saints into seventh.
Newman was more than happy his players could walk away from a roadtrip with something to show for their efforts.
“Ultimately if you had have said ‘you’ll finish with nine players on the park and get a point at Dixie Park’ I would have said ‘thank you’ and taken it,” he said.
“The boys really dug in hard and after we’d had those three losses on the trot you could see the determination not to concede late was immense.
“They definitely earned [the point], there’s no doubt about it.”