Eastern Suburbs surge into second on Stirling Sports Premiership ladder

Eastern Suburbs teammates celebrate a goal in their Stirling Sports Premiership match against Southern United in round 5.

Eastern Suburbs teammates celebrate a goal in their Stirling Sports Premiership match against Southern United in round 5.

Eastern Suburbs continue to surprise the New Zealand football community, leapfrogging into second place on the Stirling Sports Premiership ladder with just three games left to play in the round robin stages.

Suburbs fought off a tough Southern United outfit on the weekend, winning 1-0 away from home, to enjoy a brief stint as the league's leaders.

Team Wellington, however, claimed the top spot back the next day with a resounding 7-2 win over Waitakere and now sit ahead of Suburbs on goal difference.

But seeing Suburbs in the top two is a sight that many may not have predicted, given the club is in its first year of the national competition.

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Jordan Vale, who scored the club's only goal on the weekend, said it's becoming a real possibility that the club finishes as number one.

"I think the whole team would really love to finish first," Vale said.

"But the only way to do that is just take one game at a time, and hopefully some results go our way."

Coach Malcolm McPherson said his side was strong from game one and it was only a matter of time before they started cracking the top echelons.

"There's only been two games all season where we haven't played well," McPherson said.

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"A couple of wins gives the boys that little bit more self belief going into the last three games.

"It's going to be an exciting three or four weeks that's for sure."

McPherson also praised his side for their efforts on the weekend saying an impressive second half performance, and a number of key saves by goalkeeper Silvio Rodic kept them in the hunt.

While Southern currently sit in last place on the premiership ladder, and Suburbs' next opponent Tasman sit just one place above, Vale said no team in the league should be underestimated.

"Every team in this league has pulled out a result against another team that's been unexpected," Vale said.

"So we just can't take any games lightly."

Suburbs' win on the weekend was their third in four games, with the club securing 10 points of a possible 12 in the past month. They now sit on 27 points, with just four points separating the top five teams.

The win also continues the side's impressive turnaround after the festive period, where they went four games without a victory.

 - Stuff.co.nz

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