By Harrison Ryburn
Both fresh off big wins, more goals are expected when Cashmere Technical host Wellington Olympic at English Park on Saturday for the third round of the Men’s National League.
Olympic annihilated Napier City Rovers 7-1, whilst Technical opened their account for the National League season with a 5-1 drubbing of Petone.
Goals have been aplenty for Saturday’s visitors, already scoring twelve in the first two rounds of the competition, including a 5-2 win over Manurewa in round one.
Meanwhile, Cashmere suffered a 1-2 defeat to Auckland United in their opener, having been reduced to 10 men inside the first 20 minutes.
The southerners managed to recover with a big win over first-time National League competitors Petone last weekend, scoring four second-half goals to confirm a 5-1 success.
Yuya Taguchi and Garbhan Coughlan were the standouts, scoring a brace each in a dominant performance.
And facing up against a prolific Olympic attack this weekend will mean the Technical frontline has to step up again.
As always, Garbhan Coughlan will be their target man, but the service from the likes of Yuya Taguchi, Lyle Mattheson, and Aidan Barbour-Ryan produce will be crucial.
Taguchi grabbed two assists along with his two goals last week, whilst Matthysen also had two assists himself, and Barbour-Ryan was in and amongst the action with a goal himself.
Technical haven’t kept a clean sheet since early July, and against an Olympic attack in such rip-raring form, they won’t be confident of achieving one this Saturday.
As such, it will all be about limiting the damage to keep them in with a chance of securing a positive result.
NZ U-17 international goalkeeper Matt Foord will be key in that respect, and is touted as one of the country’s most promising talents in his position.
Tom Schwarz’s experience will be valuable, having amassed more than 170 appearances previously with Canterbury United on the national stage, and having made his return to the Technical starting line-up last week after missing round one.
Olympic travel to Christchurch as the favourites, having won the Central League, and kickstarted the National League campaign with two wins from two.
They began with a hiss and a roar against Napier City Rovers last weekend, scoring four goals inside the first half-hour to kill off the contest at an early stage.
Hat-tricks from Jack-Henry Sinclair and Gianni Bouzoukis were the catalyst as Olympic secured a massive 7-1 win.
Both will be keen to add to their tallies against Technical, with Sinclair having scored in both of their first two games, and centre-back Benjamin Mata having also scored in the early stages of the campaign.
If the early rounds are to go by, Olympic look to be the frontrunners to provide the National League Golden Boot winner, and it very well could be any one of Sinclair, Bouzoukis, Kailan Gould, and even Hamish Watson.
Main photo: Wellington Olympic’s Kailan Gould … a potential contender for this year’s Golden Boot. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
No doubt Olympic will deploy their blitz tactics, using their attacking weapons to strike early.
Technical should put up more of a fight than Napier, and this could be a tight affair, but ultimately, it’s hard not to see the Central League winners claiming the spoils with plenty of goals involved.
Cashmere Technical squad
Matt Foord, Alex Boomer, Danny Knight
Danny Kane, Sam Richards, Andrew Storer, Tom Schwarz, JJ Richards, James Brittain, Lachie McIsaac, Daniel Metherall
Caleb Cottom, Alex Ballard, Aidan Barbour Ryan, Yuya Taguchi, Phoenix Coursey, Sam Lapslie, Yusi Van Dam, Cory Mitchell, Luke Tongue
Garbhan Coughlan, Zander Edwards, Lyle Matthysen, Declan Tyndall
Wellington Olympic squad
Scott Basalaj, Christopher Kotrotsos, Joshua Ingham, Jacob Daly
Jack Cawley, Joseph Hopper, Dylan Wood, Justin Gulley, Benjamin Mata, William Vincent
Tor Davenport Petersen, Nathaneal Hailemariam, Zach Hassall, Joshua Apaapa-Preston, Theo Ettema, Samuel Mitrakas, Tamupiwa Dimairo, Lukas Halikias, Leo Gunn, Hami Paranihi-Nuku, Theo Jones
Kailan Gould, Joel Stevens, Hamish Watson, Gianni Bouzoukis, Jack-Henry Sinclair, Devon Thurston, Gavin Hoy, Isa Prins, Gianluca Salas, Oliver Davies, James Murdoch-Gibbs
Game to be played on Saturday October 7, 2023
Cashmere Technical v. Wellington Olympic
Nga Puna Wai, Wigram, Christchurch, 12pm
Harrison Ryburn is a Canterbury-based football writer.