PREVIEW: Weekend draw favours in-form teams in the Southern League

posted in: News, Southern League

By Logan Smith & Harrison Ryburn

The top three sides in the Southern League all face potential banana skins this weekend, facing bottom half opponents who they’re expected to beat.

Christchurch United, Cashmere Technical and Nelson Suburbs go into Round 4 looking to protect their unbeaten starts to the season.

In an entirely Christchurch-based round, the travelling teams kick off at 2pm, with UC Football hosting Nelson Suburbs at English Park and leaders Christchurch United welcoming Dunedin City Royals to the United Sports Centre.

Later, at 2.45pm, Nomads United and Coastal Spirit face off where both will hope to build on positive starts to the season, while Ferrymead Bays should account for FC Twenty 11 and Cashmere Technical will be expected to coast past Selwyn United.

If results run to form, the top three sides and Coastal Spirit will stay unbeaten, and the bottom three of Dunedin City Royals, UC Football and FC Twenty 11 will remain without victory.

Game of the week

The match between Nomads United and Coastal Spirit at Tulett Park primes as the most interesting match of the round.

Despite losing in the opening round, Nomads find themselves in fourth place after impressive victories over Dunedin City Royals and FC Twenty 11. A result against Coastal would really signal their intent to compete at a new level in 2024.

The visitors, however, need to put wins on the board now after impressive performances weren’t turned into victories.

The Spirit were held to a 3-3 draw in Nelson, followed by a 4-4 thriller against Cashmere.

Such results will still be encouraging, but they will be frustrated to have let two-goal leads slip on both occasions.

The game will be streamed life and free by FIFA+.

Players to watch

Garbhan Coughlan … leading goalscorer in the competition.

After missing Cashmere Technical’s opening round trip to Dunedin, star striker Garbhan Coughlan (31) has stormed into first place in the top scorer standings, aided by a six-goal haul against FC Twenty 11.

While Selwyn United have three points on the board thanks to a Round 2 win against UC, they’ve been on the wrong end of thrashings against Coastal Spirit and Nelson Suburbs.

Technical’s attack looks absolutely on fire, and it may be a question of how many Coughlan and Cashmere can fire past Selwyn at Garrick Memorial Park.

Logan Smith

Dunedin City Royals have struggled in the early stages of the season, with two losses and a draw, but Will Turner has consistently looked one of their best with three goals in the first three games.

He turned the clash against Ferrymead Bays on its head with two goals in a 4-4 draw last week, having only scored seven times across the previous three Southern League seasons.

He’ll be one to watch as Dunedin City Royals face off with competition heavyweights Christchurch United on Saturday.

— Harrison Ryburn

Christchurch United … off to a strong start to the season. Photo credit: Christchurch United.

Bold prediction

Although they have kept winning and moved into first place, Christchurch United have been suspect at the back in recent 4-3 wins against Ferrymead Bays and UC Football.

Adding to their concern may be the attacking prowess shown by Dunedin City Royals in their 4-4 draw against Bays.

I’m still expecting United to win, but the Royals could put some heat on their back line, which includes former Dunedin City defender Kaleb de Groot-Green. I’m thinking 5-3 to Christchurch United.

— Logan Smith

It’s hard to pinpoint a fixture likely to have fewer than four goals in it again this week, but Coastal Spirits’ visit to Nomads United on Saturday perhaps looks the most likely.

Spirit are one of four unbeaten teams and made a statement for National League qualification with a 4-4 draw against Cashmere last week.

Nomads sit above them following back-to-back victories, but I believe Spirit are the better side this season and will come away with a 2-1 victory.

— Harrison Ryburn

Golden Boot

7 — Garbhan Coughlan (Cashmere Technical)
6 — Alejandro Steinwascher (Coastal Spirit), Lyle Matthysen (Cashmere Technical)
5 — Spencer Barber (Nelson Suburbs)
4 — Joel Stevens (Christchurch United)
3 — Angus Mcintyre (Nomads United), Lennon Whewell (Nelson Suburbs), Satsuki Ito (Ferrymead Bays), Will Turner (Dunedin City Royals)


Games to be played on Saturday April 20, 2024

Christchurch United v Dunedin City Royals
United Sports Centre, Christchurch, 2pm

UC Football v Nelson Suburbs
English Park, Christchurch, 2pm

Nomads United v Coastal Spirit
Ground, City, 2.45pm

Cashmere Technical v Selwyn United
Ground, City, 2.45pm

Ferrymead Bays v FC Twenty 11
Ferrymead Park, Ferrymead, 2.45pm

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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