Nelson Suburbs hold edge despite back issues
Nelson Suburbs are focused on delivering a top quality performance when they meet FC Twenty11 in their Mainland Premier League match at 1pm on Saxton Field on Sunday.
With their fate in the premier league title race out of their hands the onus will be on AMI Nelson Suburbs to deliver 90 minutes of football they can be proud of. And, if that eventuates, FC Twenty11 might be in for a long day at the office.
FC Twenty11 joined the premier league for the first time in 2012 and these teams have met only twice.
Nelson won on both occasions, a 3-0 at home and a 3-1 away win in the preceding rounds. Both sides are coming off losses, but FC are coming off four in-a-row.
Nelson have scored 41 goals this season compared with FC's 14. While Nelson have conceded 23, their opponents have leaked 38. However, Nelson have some issues at the back of the field heading into the weekend.
Left back Matt Elliot is out again, a groin strain playing havoc with his season. Central defender Erik Panzer is off to play college football in America and workhorse right back David Malloy is also out, adding to a lack of frontline players in defence. It is likely some division one players will get the callup, but names will not be known until tomorrow.
Coach Ben Wright said another home loss to Cashmere was a bitter pill, but the team had bounced back.
"Obviously the boys were absolutely gutted at the weekend; it probably took a couple of days to get over. But we got together on Tuesday and spoke about a few things and we'll keep on going, there's no doubt about that. It's not over yet.
"We've got four games to play so you just have to make sure you finish well, keeping the standard we've set all season.
"It won't be an easy game this weekend - they're not a bad team. They are well organised and well drilled so we have to make sure that everyone turns up.
"That's the most important thing, for ourselves really more than for anyone else, that we keep it going until the end of the season. That's what I'll be looking for, from all the players."
There is another mainland league match playing this which will have a huge impact on the title race as leaders Ferrymead Bays take on second place Cashmere Technical, who beat Suburbs 2-1 last weekend.
Defending champions Ferrymead Bays are chasing a record fourth title and are three points ahead of Cashmere Technical with Nelson a further three behind, so the best result for Suburbs there is probably a Cashmere win.
There are a couple of crucial matches in the Nelson Pine Industries Mens Division 1 football competition on Saturday. Both FC Nelson sides are on 25, six points clear at the top and both face tough challenges from quality teams capable of denying them points.
For AMI Nelson Suburbs First XI, their battle with FC Nelson Fuji Xerox at Saxton Field is a must win if they are to stay in the hunt for the title. Queen Street Pharmacy Richmond 1st XI meet FC Nelson Sprig and Fern at Guppy Park, and will want to arrest a run of average results.
Nelson Suburbs Development side take on Lonestar Nelson College at Saxton Athletic. All matches kick off at 3pm tomorrow.
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