PREVIEW: Leading sides set to meet in Southern League’s next round of games

By Logan Smith & Harrison Ryburn

Round 5 of the Southern League promises to deliver some intense clashes, headlined by two fixtures between top-half sides to be streamed by FIFA+.

Dunedin City Royals kick things off at home to UC Football early on Saturday afternoon, with both sides still searching for a first win of the season.

Later, FC Twenty 11 take on Christchurch United at Avonhead Park in a top-against-bottom match, and Selwyn United will hope to register a second win of the season at home to Nomads United.

Sunday brings the more heavyweight games, with National League hopefuls Coastal Spirit and Ferrymead Bays in action at midday while Nelson Suburbs and Cashmere Technical will both put unbeaten records on the line at Saxton Fields.

Cashmere Technical’s Lyle Matthysen … has scored six goals in four rounds.

Game of the week

Nelson Suburbs and Cashmere Technical have similar records so far, enjoying some big wins and high-scoring draws with Coastal Spirit.

Last week saw uneasy victories for both, as Suburbs defeated UC 1-0 with both teams reduced to 10 men, while Cashmere had a surprisingly close 4-2 win against Selwyn.

Nelson have a difficult task at home at Saxton Fields, and a result will signal their seriousness in pushing for a National League place. Technical will be keen not to drop points and lose further ground to Christchurch United who look certain to beat FC Twenty 11.

Players to watch

Coastal Spirit would do well to keep an eye on Japanese forward Satsuki Ito (30) this Sunday.

He’s scored in four consecutive games for Ferrymead Bays, showing excellent positioning and sharp finishing in the penalty area to help his side into the top half of the table.

Spirit have had some issues at the back so far this season, and keeping players like Ito quiet is a must if they are to improve their National League qualification hopes.

— Logan Smith

Michael Hornsby … settling in with Christchurch United.

German defender Michael Hornsby netted twice for Christchurch United in a convincing 5-0 win over Dunedin City Royals last week, his first goals for his new club since joining in the summer.

The 25-year-old, who has spent most of his playing career in the United States, helped Christchurch United to only their second clean sheet in five matches, against the Royals.

FC Twenty 11 aren’t expected to pose much trouble for the United defence, but after leaking goals against UC and Ferrymead, a second consecutive clean sheet would do Hornsby and his teammates’ confidence some good.

— Harrison Ryburn

Bold prediction

Both Selwyn and Nomads have been hard to figure out so far, turning out contrasting performance levels across different weeks.

Selwyn, in particular, have seemed to get thrashed one week, then put in a strong performance the next time out.

Nomads will have felt bullish after victories over Dunedin City and FC Twenty 11, but a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Coastal Spirit last week will be a blow.

I’m picking the topsy-turvy nature of both teams’ form to continue with a 4-1 victory to Nomads.

— Logan Smith

Two of the league’s winless sides butt heads this Saturday, as Dunedin City Royals host UC Football at Tahuna Park. The Royals have been disappointing to start the season, shipping 16 goals and struggling for defensive stability.

Newly-promoted UC Football have been competitive with four defeats by a one-goal margin so far, so this should be tight and feature a few goals.

I’m backing the Royals to pick up their first three points in an entertaining 3-2 win.

— Harrison Ryburn

Joel Stevens (left) has been in great form for new club Christchurch United since his move from Wellington Olympic. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Golden Boot

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


Games to be played on Saturday April 27, 2024

Dunedin City Royals v UC Football
Tahuna Park, Dunedin, 12.30pm

FC Twenty 11 v Christchurch United
Avonhead Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm

Selwyn United v Nomads United
Foster Park, Rolleston, 3pm

Games to be played on Sunday April 28, 2024

Coastal Spirit v Ferrymead Bays
Linfield Park, Bromley, 12pm

Nelson Suburbs v Cashmere Technical
Saxton Fields, Nelson, 12.45pm

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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