By Harrison Ryburn
All the pressure is on Chatham Cup holders and Southern League champions Christchurch United as they host cross-town rivals Cashmere Technical on Friday night.
Christchurch United’s hopes of contesting the Grand Final of the 2023 Men’s National League are now out of their own hands.
They sit four points behind second-placed Wellington Olympic, with two rounds to play.
United have been in must-win territory for a while now, but their chances of playing in the final were dealt a huge blow with a 2-5 defeat away to Olympic last weekend.
Main photo: Christchurch United lost to 10-man Wellington Olympic in their Round 7 game.
United fell 0-3 behind inside the first half hour, and despite scoring two goals at the start of the second half with Eoghan Stokes and Samuel Philip, couldn’t reel in their opponents.
Wellington Olympic need two points from their remaining two games against Auckland City and the Wellington Phoenix reserves to make sure of their place in the final, while only a win against Cashmere Technical would keep United’s slim hopes alive.
Christchurch United and Cashmere Technical are set to meet for the fifth time this season, having got to know each other well across the course of their respective campaigns.
United have won two of the four previous matches, including English Cup final and Chatham Cup victories, with Technical claiming the spoils once, and one draw.
It’s a fixture that has become the predominant South Island rivalry over the past few years, with both clubs representing the Southern League in the National League for the past two seasons.
Technical haven’t quite had the same success as their rivals this season, but have climbed to fourth on the ladder with a 4-2 win over Napier City Rovers last weekend.
Garbhan Coughlan was again the standout player, notching a hat-trick in Technical’s third victory of the National League campaign.
It means they sit just three points behind United with two rounds to play, and will have their sights set on overtaking their cross-town rivals for third place in the National League this season.
The wheels look to have come off Christchurch United’s title hopes after defeat last weekend, and whether they still have the fight to keep those slim chances alive will be put to the test against their Southern rivals.
Technical have the ability to heap the pressure on, and this looms as a standout Southern League derby to kick off round eight.
Scott Morris, Frewen Watts
Nicholas Murphy, Riley Grover, Aaron O’Driscoll, Cameron Lindsay, Benjamin Lapslie
Louis King, Abdul Khalifa, Mason Stearn, Thomas Chao, Daniel Meyn, Matthew Tod-Smith, Jago Godden, Eoghan Stokes
Jackson Cole, Sam Philip, Daniel Maclennan, Haris Zeb, Joel Peterson, Luca Molnar, Edward Wilkinson, Sorasit Mac Prathumphitak, Jonty Bidois
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
Christchurch United v Cashmere Technical
United Sports Centre, Christchurch, 7pm
Harrison Ryburn is a Canterbury-based football writer.