PREVIEW: Southern League sides look to recover after shock losses in cup

posted in: News, Southern League

By Logan Smith and Harrison Ryburn

After a break for Chatham Cup action, the Southern League returns with Cashmere Technical, Christchurch United and Nelson Suburbs all reeling from surprise defeats.

READ MORE: Chatham Cup giantkillers FC Nelson relish home draw in next round >>>>

To up the ante, Technical and United also face off this weekend, with Coastal Spirit able to overtake one of them should they beat UC Football as expected.

In great news for interested neutrals, all five Southern League matches will be streamed live on the FIFA+ platform.

First up, at Saxtons Fields, Nelson Suburbs will look to bounce back from an unexpected Chatham Cup exit, hosting Dunedin City Royals at 12pm. It’s a 1,200km round-trip for the visitors, who must embark on the longest journey of the regional stages of the National League.

At 2.45pm, Nomads United welcome Ferrymead Bays to Tulett Park in a hard-to-pick midtable clash, and Cashmere Technical entertain Christchurch United in a crucial top-of-the-table clash.

Later, the bottom two sides face off, with Selwyn United looking to move seven points clear of strugglers FC Twenty 11 should they secure a likely win.

Finally, on Sunday, Coastal Spirit will have their chance to move into the National League qualifying places regardless of the Tech-United result, with a win against UC Football accomplishing that task.

Game of the week

They are known as the giants of South Island men’s football, but the warning signs are there for both Cashmere Technical and Christchurch United ahead of their top-of-the-table showdown on Saturday.

Competition leaders Technical have looked stronger in the league and remain unbeaten, but coach Ryan Edwards’ Christchurch United will be sure to threaten that record at Garrick Memorial Park.

Further, despite each winning the Chatham Cup once in the last few years, both were dumped out early on Saturday, with Technical losing to Coastal Spirit and United going down to Nomads United.

Both will be keen to make amends.

Players to watch

Jack Hallahan.

With club topscorer Garbhan Coughlan overseas, Cashmere Technicals’ Irish attacker Jack Hallahan (27) has stepped up to the goalscoring mantle in recent weeks, including a late winner against Ferrymead Bays which helped his side clinch the three points.

Coughlan is expected to be gone for a while yet, so the goalscoring responsibility will again fall on Hallahan and teammates such as Yuya Taguchi and Lyle Matthysen when Technical take on a quality Christchurch United side this weekend.

— Logan Smith

Nomads United youngster Flynn Holdem has caught the eye this season with five goals in eight Southern League games.

The 16-year-old, who scored twice in Nomads’ stunning 3-2 upset to knock Christchurch United out of the Chatham Cup, has quickly announced himself as one of the best midfield prospects in the country.

He’ll want to continue his sparkling form as Nomads look to jump into the top four with victory over Ferrymead Bays on Saturday.

— Harrison Ryburn

Bold predictions

Nelson Suburbs will be eager to bounce back following Chatham Cup defeat to FC Nelson, and a home game against the Dunedin City Royals may be the perfect opportunity to do so.

The Royals’ results have largely followed expectations this season, but the trip to Nelson is long and tiring, and they will be underdogs as a result.

Perhaps reflective of that, the away side has never won in the five previous Southern League meetings between the teams.

Let’s say 3-1 to Nelson Suburbs.

— Logan Smith

Sunday’s sole Southern League clash pits National League hopefuls Coastal Spirit against UC Football at Linfield Park.

Spirit are flying at the moment and are yet to lose in 2024. They have the chance to jump into one of the National League qualifying spots with Christchurch United and Cashmere Technical facing off.

UC Football are slowly finding their feet at this level, but I’m picking a fairly comfortable 3-1 win for Spirit.

— Harrison Ryburn

Golden Boot

18 — Garbhan Coughlan (Cashmere Technical)
11 — Joel Stevens (Christchurch United)
9 — Alejandro Steinwascher (Coastal Spirit)
7 — Satsuki Ito (Ferrymead Bays), Spencer Barber (Nelson Suburbs)
6 — David Yoo (Christchurch United)
5 — Flynn Holdem (Nomads United), Jack Hallahan (Cashmere Technical), Trevin Myers (Nelson Suburbs), Will Turner (Dunedin City Royals)


Games to be played on Saturday June 8, 2024

Nelson Suburbs v Dunedin City Royals
Saxton Fields, Nelson, 12pm

Cashmere Technical v Christchurch United
Garrick Memorial Park, Christchurch, 2.45pm

Nomads United v Ferrymead Bays
Tulett Park, Bishopdale, 2.45pm

Selwyn United FC Twenty 11
Foster Park, Rolleston, 3pm

Game to be played on Sunday June 9, 2024

Coastal Spirit v UC Football
Linfield Park, Bromley, 3pm

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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