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Promising start ends with another disappointing result in Southern League

After a difficult final home game for our Men’s Premier side where we were outclassed by a Coastal Spirit team who cruelly exposed our weaknesses, a depleted side headed north to face league leaders Nelson Suburbs looking to claim some sense of pride from a Southern Football League campaign which hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

Knowing a bit more about Nelson Suburbs thanks to increased media reports, the lads knew they were in for a physical game where any weaknesses would be exploited. A really good start where we were comfortable in possession and creating a few real opportunities was stunted as a free kick to the home side was bundled home despite the best attempts of Ben O’Farrell to clear the boy. As has been the case when we try and pick ourselves up something inevitable and normally self inflicted goes against us and we find ourselves further behind, Sunday was no different.

A bit of hope from the penalty spot as the first take from Captain Dom Scahill was saved well by the Nelson Keeper who was subsequently ruled to have moved off his line. A retake which Dom buried to bring us back in to the game at 2-1. We knew that Nelson would bring a physical game and a combination of size on set pieces and a lack of quality in our own finishing saw us cough up three more goals and end up going down 5-1. It wasn’t exactly a fair reflection of the game and certainly not the opportunities but we’ve learnt through this campaign that the step up in quality to this league is significant and most commonly found in the organisation that the Mainland teams bring to their games.

One final game in the season away to Western in two weekends time where we get a chance to claim our first win of the campaign and something to build on for next year where our lads will have matured from the full 2019 season with a better understanding as a group how to approach games at this level should we re qualify.

The final interclub Women’s Premier League clash for the season saw the turfs being used on a rare Friday night. With both teams approaching full strength it was cautious approach from both coaches with the Premiers certainly capable of some lovely football but the Seconds able to create strong defensive structures when everyone is available.

The game mostly played out as expected with the Premiers having the vast majority of the ball and the Seconds looking to clear their lines at every chance and build pressure via breakaways. Seconds probably should have scored first from a bouncing breakaway which resulted in the strike narrowly missing the target but from there it was largely the Premiers who had the chances.

Sarah Robinson scored twice from shots which were well saved by Sophie Armitage in goals creating a bit of a buffer from the Premiers to build on and when Jaimee Paterson buried a long drive in to the top corner the scoreline was looking comfortable. Half time came and whilst there was plenty of endeavour in the second half, Seconds were able to hold their defensive shape well and as both teams ran the changes the game tailed off towards its finish with no further goals to come after the break.

A blockbuster encounter late on the Turfs on Saturday as our title chasing Men’s Fourths hosted top of the table Roslyn Wakari. Both sides remained in the mix for the title but it would be only a win which really kept our boys in the hunt. A pretty open first half with both sides having plenty of good ball, but it was our lads who should have taken the lead as a 3 on 1 opportunity was butchered with the final shot being drilled straight in the keeper.

Lots of drama in the second half with the game being well contested without every really threatening to get out of control, again our lads had the best oppourtunity to take the lead which Andy Robinson took well and rolled the ball home, it wasn’t to be though as his team mate standing in offside position inexplicably poached the goal which was subsequently ruled out. A ball that ping ponged across the Roslyn goalline and a penalty shout to either side brought more intensity but neither side could break the deadlock and the title race was down to two sides, with our Fifths facing Roslyn next saturday.