Sprig add shine to top campaign
Sprig and Fern finished off their championship-winning season with a 3-1 win over Nelson Suburbs and Richmond leapfrogged Suburbs to take third spot on the table courtesy of a 1-all draw with Nelson College.
FC Nelson Sprig and Fern took the Nelson Pine Industries men's division one title last week but any celebrations were put on ice with one league game to play. Sprig had the game won early in the second spell, sinking Nelson Suburbs First XI at home on Saxton Field.
Nathan Halford struck for Sprig, knocking in a goalmouth scramble in the 10th minute, and Nigel Hale put in a coach killer on the stroke of halftime. Within 10 minutes of the restart, Rick Manhart killed off the game for the champions, hitting a swerving goal from outside the box that finished in the top corner.
It should have been more for Sprig as Davi Maciel and several others missed chances as shots were saved and efforts hit the bar. Still, Suburbs showed the spirit to pull one back.
Substitute Matson Fenny came on to spark some attack for the home side with 35 minutes to go. A strong run from just inside his own half saw Fenny beat a couple of players before having his goal-bound shot smothered. However, the ball broke for Ash Langbein, who finished well into the bottom corner from about 10m out.
Suburbs coach Joe Green said Sprig deserved the win and his team were never really in the match.
"We looked very tired and struggled to find any rhythm in our game.
"Many of the lads had to play a full game in the 19th grade in the morning, then again in this game just because of a lack of numbers, so I take some of the blame for them looking tired.
"We struggled to work hard enough off the ball to give people options, and when you want to play the way we do, which is to keep possession of the ball with short passing and moving, it was always going to be difficult."
Queen Street Pharmacy Richmond First XI's one point from a 1-all draw with Lonestar Nelson College moved them into third spot, equal on points with Suburbs but three ahead on goal difference.
College created some great chances, playing some tidy football despite an unkempt surface at Broads. Joel Harden put the in-form College team ahead using his head from a Lian Cinzah cross 30 minutes into the first half.
In the second spell, a couple of key moments didn't break College's way. A George Kaikui goal was disallowed when he seemingly rose above all to head home. Then Richmond's standout goalkeeper, Ryan Ryder, made an excellent one-on-one save from the tireless Harden.
Richmond got back on level terms when Daryl Fenemor scored from outside the box in the 65th minute. Richmond's young side applied themselves well for most of the match and helping to hold out College were Matt Walker at the back and Ryder in goal.
Richmond coach Matt Campbell said, while he was disappointed not to get the three points, he looked at it as a good result against in-form opposition.
- © Fairfax NZ News