By Logan Smith
The Southern League welcomes all five Round 3 fixtures this Good Friday as the battles at the top and bottom ends of the table begin to take shape.
With the top four on maximum points and the bottom four still without any, it’s a chance for the strong starters to establish a foothold on the top half.
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In the early game, Ferrymead Bays welcome Nelson Suburbs to Ferrymead Park. While Suburbs finished higher than Bays in 2022, they find themselves already six points behind their hosts.
At midday, Green Island host Coastal Spirit, hoping to put another home win on the board. At 1.30pm, Christchurch United meet Dunedin City Royals at United Sports Centre, with both teams off to a perfect start so far.
Finally, in the 2.45pm kick-offs, leaders Cashmere Tech host Nomads United, while last-placed FC Twenty 11 will take on Selwyn United in what could be an important relegation battle clash.
Game of the week
Reigning champions Christchurch United, currently in third, welcome Dunedin City Royals to United Sports Centre in a critical early game.
While United and Cashmere Tech finished as the runaway top two previously, the Royals are seen as a team that may be able to challenge them, so this game could provide a good early indicator.
It also poses as an early test to United’s title defence, with Cashmere likely to win their game elsewhere.
Both sides have a maximum six points, have scored aplenty so far and are yet to concede. Streamed live on United’s YouTube, this could be a thriller.
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Last year’s overperformers Nelson Suburbs have looked off the pace in their first two games, struggling defensively and losing both comfortably.
Ferrymead have added to their squad and are off to a strong start with two wins, and I think Nelson’s troubles may continue here with another bad loss on the road.
Player to watch
Former Phoenix academy striker Zander Edwards (18), who spent 2022 with Brighouse Town in England’s seventh tier, is off to a flyer this season for new club Cashmere Technical.
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Coming on as a sub and scoring in both their wins so far, you’d fancy he may have a part to play in their home fixture against Nomads, where chances should be plentiful for Cashmere.
Games to be played on Friday April 7, 2023
Ferrymead Bays v Nelson Suburbs
Ferrymead Park, Christchurch, 11.30am
Green Island v Coastal Spirit
Sunnyvale Park, Dunedin, 12.00pm
Christchurch United v Dunedin City Royals
United Sports Centre, Christchurch, 1.30pm
Cashmere Technical v Nomads United
Garrick Memorial Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm
FC Twenty 11 v Selwyn United
Avonhead Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm
Logan Smith is a passionate football fan and volunteer, based in Dunedin, covering the Southern League.