Disappointing fizzle out after positive start
Two late goals and a host of missed chances, including a saved penalty, cost Nelson Suburbs FC as they were beaten 2-0 by Ferrymead Bays FC in their Mainland premier league fixture in Christchurch yesterday.
Both sides are chasing a record fourth premier league title but it was the defending champions who came away with the points thanks to a goal from Jamie Draper in the 76th minute and a penalty to Russell Kamo in the 81st.
Suburbs came out of the sheds fizzing, pouring forward in the opening exchanges at Barnett Park.
The visitors' attacking endeavour was rewarded after 15 minutes as Wesley Olea was bought down by the keeper inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Michael White stepped up to the mark and went for power straight down the middle after sending Ferrymead's keeper Adam Highfield on the move. But a desperate outstretched foot tipped the ball wide and the crucial opening score went begging as it finished 0-0 at halftime.
It was more of the same early in the second half as good ball speed and control from Suburbs set up gilt-edged chances that ultimately went untaken.
Perhaps the best chance of the second stanza came as great play from White advanced the ball before he pulled it back to Ben Wright at close range.
"The keeper's going one way, I shot the other way thinking it was in, but again the keeper stuck out a leg and pushed it round the post," Wright said.
That miss was closely followed by another chance when Gagame Feni cut back to find Olea who put it over the crossbar from about five metres out.
From there Nelson lost their shape and the running swung for Ferrymead Bays, just like the strong wind in the second half at Redcliffs.
Draper nudged in a scrappy goal at the back post and five minutes later Kamo went to the spot to make the result safe.
Playing co-coach Wright said it was a disappointing day for Suburbs who also had to put up with a massive delay on their flight home.
"We're gutted. It was one of those games that could have gone either way. We lost a bit of shape late in the second half and too many gaps opened up.
"It was always going to be a game where the first goal was going to be crucial and they got it. But we certainly had our chances."
Following seven matches and the completion of the first full round Suburbs are sitting mid-table with three wins, three losses and one draw. Next weekend Suburbs are on the road again to face Western AFC in Christchurch.
- The Nelson Mail