Wounded Suburbs is 'a dangerous beast'

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 12:00 19/04/2014

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Suburbs will be looking to resurrect their season with an Easter Weekend double-header.

On the back of their heaviest defeat, and amidst their worst start to a Mainland Premier League season, AMI Nelson Suburbs are in Christchurch, where they face an unbeaten Western at ASB Football Park today.

Western has won four on the bounce, their best start to a season. The tale of the tape sees a team high on confidence playing a rebuilding side with plenty to ponder about their performances.

The 8-0 loss to league leaders and defending champions Cashmere Technical last weekend represents rock bottom, so, for the three-time champions, the only way left to go is up.

But it will be an uphill battle with Western in unstoppable form this season, with a record second only to Tech. Western have defeated Coastal Spirit 2-0, Halswell 3-0, Nomads United 1-0. The only team to score against them was Universities, who got a consolation goal in last week's 4-1 result.

With three losses and a 1-0 win over Ferrymead Bays, Nelson Suburbs sit second bottom after four rounds, but any points today and a victory when they back up on Monday, would see them back in the middle of the pack.

Suburbs host third-placed Halswell at Saxton Field on Easter Monday from 1pm. After that game, Suburbs will have played the top three teams within eight days. This is a big ask for a team that is short on talent that has been tested in the top Mainland league.

Halswell have not had a happy start to the season but have picked up two wins, including a 5-1 result over Coastal Spirit and a 2-1 win over Nomads last weekend. However they have also conceded some hefty defeats, going down 4-0 to Cashmere Technical and 3-0 against Western.

Suburbs captain Ryan "Skippy" Stewart believes that despite the heavy loss, his side is in the right frame of mind for a big weekend of football.

"We sat down at training and had a chat and to be fair it was really good, there was some positivity," said Stewart.

"We said to each other that it wasn't a great result but the longer we dwell on it, the more it will affect us. So we will just forget about it but make sure it never happens again. The camp is pretty high and we are looking forward to the game."

Stewart also added that a wounded Suburbs side is a dangerous beast.

"At the end of the day, we are a team that has nothing to lose and that is probably the worst sort of team you want to play. Going down there and playing with a bit of freedom will be a really good thing for us, to be honest."

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New Irish import Davit Walsh had a torrid debut, coming on at 3-0 down and was generally up front looking at goals going in his own net. Yet, Stewart believes the new striker's presence, added to the undoubted talent of Ben Wright, could yield good reward.

"Davit is over his jetlag and has trained well all week and is looking sharp. He and Ben looked to understand each other straight away, so having a bit of support up front for Ben is going to be brilliant.

"If we can get the ball up to them, there are goals in both of them."

Goals will be important over Easter Weekend but unless Suburbs can plug the flood at the back, they could be carrying another couple of crosses in the loss column.

- The Nelson Mail

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