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Dragons defeat Phoenix Reserves

The Canterbury United Dragons did their best to stay in the hunt for a place in the ISPS Handa Football Premiership playoffs, with a win over the Wellington Phoenix reserves. However, a point for Waitakere in their draw with Auckland City was enough to deny them that opportunity.

In what was the last match for the Dragons franchise, as the National competition returns to a club-based format, the Canterbury side defeated the Phoenix reserves 5-1. They got off to a great start with several attacks going close. Unfortunately for the Phoenix, during one of those attacks Yuya Taguchi was through on goal, and fouled just outside the box resulting in a red card for the defender, and they would play most of the match with 10 men. Soon after, Lyle Matthysen finished off a great pass from Garbhan Coughlan to put the Dragons 1-0 up. Towards the back end of the half, Coughlan hit the crossbar, and Taguchi retrieved the ball and passed off to Eddie Wilkinson who slotted passed the Phoenix keeper to extend the lead to two. Right on halftime Coughlan finally got a goal of his own as he turned the Phoenix defence inside out and hit the back of the net. The Dragons went into half 3-0 up.

In the second half the Phoenix reserves, despite being a man down, were keen to put pressure on Canterbury on the break, and succeeded in finishing off one of those counter attacks to claw one goal back. However, the Dragons weren’t finished yet, and Coughlan scored a second after latching onto a Taguchi cross. Former North Canterbury player Luke Tongue, who was busy throughout the match, had a good chance but put it high and wide. Coughlan finished his hattrick, after being brought down in the box. His penalty was almost saved by the Phoenix keeper, but trickled across the line.  The Dragons finished the match, and their last match for the season, and the franchise, 5-1 up.

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