Football: Key clash as Suburbs seek form reversal

Following a winning start to the season, Nelson Suburbs have dropped their last two Mainland Premier League games against the leading teams. At home, on Sunday, Suburbs get another shot at a team ahead of them on the table when they take on Western MPL at Saxton Field from 1pm.

For AMI Nelson Suburbs, who have six points from two wins and two losses, this match represents a crucial juncture at this early stage of the season. Win, and they are well placed among the leading group; lose and they fall well into the chasing pack.

With three wins and a loss Western have had a soft start to the competition as they are yet to play leaders Cashmere Technical and Ferrymead Bays. Even so, Western will see the opportunity this fixture provides - a good win and favourable results elsewhere could see them to the top of the table.

The feature match of the round, which will ultimately have the biggest impact on the table, is the clash between unbeaten leaders Cashmere Technical (10 points) and Ferrymead Bays (9). But for now, Suburbs co-coach Ben Wright says the focus is on getting back into winning form.

"This is a huge game, it is massive and we spoke about that at training," said Wright.

"If they were to win they would go six points above us, so it is certainly one we are looking to win, that is for sure."

To do so, Alex Pak is one player from Western that Suburbs will need to contain. Pak has four goals this season and sits second in the golden boot standings behind Ferrymead's Russell Kamo.

Suburbs gain attacking flair of their own for this battle with former FC Nelson striker Davi Goncalves Maciel set to join the attacking line, having recently returned from overseas. Maciel's inclusion and an as yet-unconfirmed change in the midfield are likely to be the only differences to the side that lost to Cashmere 2-1 last weekend.

Round two of the Nelson Pine Industries men's division one competition has some fascinating fixtures in store tomorrow.

The two winners from round one get to test their credentials against the two competition favourites who played out a draw in their opening fixture, while redemption is on offer for the defeated duo.

Richmond First XI had a solid first-up 3-0 victory against the Colts, but AMI Nelson Suburbs First XI will represent more seasoned opposition. Suburbs will also want to maximise their points at home on Saxton Field after a draw with FC Nelson's top team last weekend.

Similarly FC Nelson Sprig & Fern won't want to drop any more points to start their title defence, despite taking on a Nelson College team full of confidence following a 6-1 win over Wakefield. Nelson College First XI host Sprig at The Broads.

Wakefield First XI and FC Nelson NBS Colts both get an opportunity to build some momentum at Victory Square. Well beaten in round one, this will be as good an opportunity as any for either of these sides to pick up a win. All games in are scheduled to start at 3pm tomorrow.

The Nelson Mail