Chatham Cup giantkillers FC Nelson relish home draw in next round

By Logan Smith

FC Nelson have emerged as Chatham Cup giantkillers, toppling Southern League side Nelson Suburbs to earn a spot in the competition’s last 32.

The scale of the upset is demonstrated by the fact that FC Nelson play in the same local league as Suburbs’ reserves.

It’s the first time since 2014, Nelson Suburbs have been beaten in the Chatham Cup by local opposition.

Now, FC Nelson relish the prospect of causing another cup upset as they’ve been drawn at home against another Southern League club, Canterbury’s Ferrymead Bays, in the third round.

Main photo: FC Nelson’s head coach Paul Brydon … ‘We’ve got a lot of experience.’ Photo credit: FC Nelson.

READ MORE: Third round draw decides fates of last 32 clubs in Chatham Cup >>>>

After their 2-1 win against Suburbs at Saxton Fields, FC Nelson head coach Paul Brydon told Friends of Football defensive organisation and bravery on the ball were key elements in causing the upset.

“We’ve got a lot of experience, lads that have played Mainland Premier League,” he said.

“Billy Scott, who played for Western Suburbs, Mark Johnston who’s played National League, Walter Avalos who was an apprentice at Racing Club.

“We made sure we were organised, and defensively we’ve been really solid, so teams are finding it hard to break us down.”

Despite a strong start to the game, FC Nelson found themselves a goal down within 20 minutes.

“We started really well in the first fifteen minutes, created two or three good chances, which it was disappointing we didn’t score because after that, they scored.”

However, any thoughts that Suburbs would cruise to victory after this were proven wrong.

“We didn’t panic; we just made sure we stayed in the game and readdressed things at halftime.”

In the second half, the tables turned, with two excellent finishes in the space of seven minutes from La Bu Pan putting FC Nelson into the lead against his former club.

“He actually plays for our other FC team, FC Nelson Karenni, during the league, but he makes a big difference when we have him,” Brydon said.

Coach Paul Brydon: ‘We’re happy with the way we’re tracking’

Having won the Nelson Men’s Premiership last season and contesting the Southern League promotion play-off against eventual promoted side UC Football, FC Nelson have made a strong start to the 2024 campaign.

They are second on the table, with five wins in five matches, and Brydon is pleased with the results and the shape of the squad.

“We’ve got a core of experience with really good youngsters and some imports this year,” he said.

“We haven’t been convincing in a lot of the games, but we’ve played five and won five, so we’re happy with the way we’re tracking at the moment.

“The league is quite strong this year, with no easy games, and we’re not always playing on good pitches like Saxton Fields yesterday.”

The aim is simple for the rest of the league season.

“Our aim is to win the league and go for the play-offs again.”

Home game ideal for next round

As for the next round of the Chatham Cup, a home draw is a definite advantage.

“The worst draw would’ve been Coastal Spirit away, because they’re third on the Southern League table,” Brydon said.

“A home game is good, we don’t have to travel to Christchurch, with the clubs’ funds we wanted to drive down, so obviously, a home game is preferable.”


Chatham Cup second round

Game played on Sunday June 2, 2024

Nelson Suburbs 1 (Joshua Moffat 18’)
FC Nelson 2 (La Bu Pan 69’, 76’)

Game played on Thursday May 30, 2024

Ferrymead Bays 2 (Yusaku Wasaki 55′, Nikolas Fairley 59′)
UC Football 1 (Jacob Killick 77′)


Chatham Cup third round

Game to be played weekend of June 14-16, 2024

FC Nelson v Ferrymead Bays
Guppy Park, Nelson, kick-off TBC

READ MORE: Third round draw decides fates of last 32 clubs in Chatham Cup >>>>

The gap between cup rivals

Logan Smith

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

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