By Logan Smith
A pair of matches in Dunedin look set to have an impact on the National League qualification race, with Dunedin City Royals needing to end a poor run of form to stay in contention.
Round 12 of the Southern League kicks off on Friday night, with Selwyn United taking on Ferrymead Bays under the lights at Foster Park.
Saturday brings three games, with Green Island at home at midday against second-placed Cashmere Technical.
At 12.30pm, Dunedin City Royals welcome Nelson Suburbs who face a long trip south, then at 2.45pm, in a match that will be live-streamed, Nomads United host Christchurch United.
Finally, on Sunday, Coastal Spirit play FC Twenty 11 at Linfield Park from midday, with the visitors in need of results soon after losing ground on all three relegation rivals last weekend.
Game of the week
The Royals have entered a slowdown in form of late, with three games in all competitions without victory.
Last weekend saw them held to a disappointing draw with Selwyn, and Cashmere Tech increased the gap by winning against Nelson Suburbs. It’s clear the Royals need to get winning again to stay in the National League qualification race.
Nelson have started to look much tougher to beat, but will be reeling after capitulating a 4-1 lead against Cashmere to lose 5-4. They’ll look to build on good recent performances and get a result against the third-placed Royals.
Suburbs have tended to struggle away to the Royals, but arriving in better form, it’ll be a close one to call.
Player to watch
Experienced striker Garbhan Coughlan (30) has already come up as a player to watch this season, but his ability to rescue Cashmere when they need him justifies his second inclusion.
Down 4-1 at half-time against Nelson Suburbs, Coughlan bagged three second-half goals to help them to an incredible 5-4 comeback win.
Away against a Green Island side that tend to play well at Sunnyvale and just beat FC Twenty 11 3-0, Cashmere eyes may just be on Garbhan Coughlan to deliver the goals to secure them three more points.
Selwyn had been on a horror run of defeats, but ended that with a draw in Dunedin last weekend, looking quite solid while doing so.
Against a Ferrymead team that can be quite inconsistent and have already lost to relegation battlers FC Twenty 11 and Nomads United this season, they’ll fancy their chances to get more points on the board.
And, in fact, I’ve got them nabbing an ugly 1-0 win.
Games to be played on Friday June 30, 2023
Selwyn United v Ferrymead Bays
Foster Park, Rolleston, 7pm
Games to be played on Saturday July 1, 2023
Green Island v Cashmere Technical
Sunnyvale Park, Green Island, 12pm
Dunedin City Royals v Nelson Suburbs
Dunedin Artificial Turf, Dunedin, 12.30pm
Nomads United v Christchurch United
Tulett Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm
Game to be played on Sunday July 2, 2023
Coastal Spirit v FC Twenty 11
Linfield Park, Christchurch, 12pm
Logan Smith is a passionate football fan and volunteer, based in Dunedin, covering the Southern League.