PREVIEW: Thrashings set scene for second round of Southern League

posted in: News, Southern League

By Logan Smith and Harrison Ryburn

A set of opening round thrashings have given Southern League outfits wildly contrasting starts, with Nelson Suburbs, Coastal Spirit, Cashmere Technical and Christchurch United all cruising to handsome wins.

READ MORE: Results from opening round of Southern League >>>>

Squad lists: Who played for who in Southern League’s opening round >>>>

Nomads United and Dunedin City Royals open the second round in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon, with both looking to improve upon disappointing defeats to last year’s top two teams.

Later, Cashmere Technical host FC Twenty 11 in what could be another tough game for the visitors; UC Football take on Selwyn United with both searching for a first win of the season; and champions Christchurch United head cross-town to play Ferrymead Bays.

Sunday’s sole game promises to be a belter, with Nelson Suburbs welcoming Coastal Spirit in a top-of-the-table clash, with both storming to huge wins in the opening round.

Joel Stevens (left) … has left national champions Wellington Olympic to join Christchurch United for whom he scored a double against Nomads United in the opening round. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Game of the week

It’s hard to go past Nelson Suburbs’ match against Coastal Spirit.

Suburbs put up a 9-0 win against FC Twenty 11 last weekend, while Spirit thumped Selwyn 7-0.

Both clubs have the ambition to push Christchurch United and Cashmere Technical for the two coveted National League places, so this weekend’s clash could be a strong indicator of who is ready to take the next step.

Coastal Spirit are fancied by many to be the closest challenger but will be wary as trips to Nelson are known as tough assignments, reflected by the 5-0 drubbing Suburbs handed to the Spirit last time they were in town.

Match programme

READ: Nelson Suburbs’ programme for match against Coastal Spirit >>>>

Bold prediction

It could be an early gauge of the relegation battle when UC Football host Selwyn United at English Park, with UC promoted from the tier below and Selwyn having struggled last year.

The hosts looked much more competitive in Round 1, losing 1-0 to Ferrymead Bays, so I’m picking they’ll get their first-ever Southern League win this Saturday, perhaps by a 3-1 scoreline.

— Logan Smith

Both Nomads United and Dunedin City Royals began their 2024 seasons with heavy defeats to the competition’s two established powerhouses of Christchurch United and Cashmere Technical last weekend.

Based on that premise, they may struggle to compete for a National League spot this season but will be desperate to kickstart their campaign in a more winnable contest for both sides. Nomads started poorly against Christchurch United, whilst Dunedin equalised against Cashmere during the first half before conceding four straight to lose 5-1.

This should be one of the more competitive matches of the round, and I’m picking a 2-2 draw.

— Harrison Ryburn

Players to watch

Midfielder Liam Pledger (23) stepped into the captaincy on his competitive debut for UC Football last week and played an important role in breaking up play to protect his side’s defence.

Pledger joined UC Football from Coastal Spirit in the off-season.

This weekend’s match against another of Pledger’s former clubs, Selwyn United, should be one where UC aren’t on the back foot as much, so Pledger and the rest of the midfield will want to set the tone to dominate the game.

Up against a Selwyn team with much experience at this level, his leadership qualities may be important for the hosts.

— Logan Smith

Alex Steinwascher … four goals in his debut for Coastal Spirit.

Coastal Spirit have ambitions of competing for a National League spot this season, and American striker Alex Steinwascher (23) may well be key to those hopes.

He began with campaign with a bang last weekend, scoring four goals in the first half of Spirit’s 7-0 demolition of Selwyn United.

One of a raft of new signings at Coastal Spirit, Steinwascher (23) has plied his trade in USL League One (the American third tier) for most of his career and will look to continue his impressive start to the season when Spirit make the trip to Nelson Suburbs on Sunday.

— Harrison Ryburn


Nomads United v Dunedin City Royals
Tulett Park, Christchurch, 2pm

Ferrymead Bays v Christchurch United
Ferrymead Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm

Cashmere Technical v FC Twenty 11
Garrick Memorial Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm

Universities of Canterbury v Selwyn United
English Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm

Game to be played on Sunday April 7, 2024

Nelson Suburbs v Coastal Spirit
Saxton Fields, Nelson, 12.30pm


Logan Smith

Logan Smith is a passionate football fan and volunteer, based in Dunedin, covering the Southern League.

Harrison Ryburn

Harrison Ryburn is a Canterbury-based football writer.

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