Goals keep coming for Fleming

Ryan Fleming controls the ball for the South City Royals against Northern at the Caledonian...
Ryan Fleming controls the ball for the South City Royals against Northern at the Caledonian Ground earlier this year. PHOTO: JULIE COLLINGS
Ryan Fleming has essentially fitted two seasons worth of goal-scoring into one this year.

The striker had a break from football last year.

He had emerged from the Covid-19 lockdown not feeling that into it and informed the Caversham coaches he would have a year off and return for 2021.

It is hard to know if it is related, but a rejuvenated Fleming has returned in blistering form.

The 23-year-old banged in nine goals for the South City Royals, the new joint-venture of Caversham and Dunedin Technical, in its Southern Premiership title quest to begin the year.

He has added a further six in the South Island league, behind only Cashmere Technical and former Southern United star Garbhan Coughlan (seven).

‘‘I wasn’t sure what sort of role I’d play in the team,’’ Fleming, who is a glazier, said.

‘‘I’m feeling pretty comfortable in there, the boys have looked after me. It probably makes it look a bit better on paper than it is on the field, but that’s how it is.

‘‘ ... the confidence is through the roof at the moment. I scored a couple and they just kept coming.

‘‘The boys kept passing me the ball and I think they got more comfortable in me.’’

That is form he will hope to continue today, as the team travels to Christchurch to play Christchurch United in the final weekend five-team scrap for the last national league spot.

Cashmere has 18 points to secure the title and one of two national league places.

Otago University beat Green Island 6-0 on Thursday night to leap into second on 12 points.

It has the front-running at present, although that was its last game.

Chasing are Christchurch United and Selwyn United on 10 points, while the Royals and Coastal Spirit both have nine points.

South City is coming off a 5-0 loss to Cashmere, a result Fleming said the team was disappointed with.

However, he was confident the Royals were capable of doing their bit today and then they just needed other results to go their way.

If it all falls into place, it would be a significant result for the team in its first year.

It would perhaps have a significance for the Fleming family, too.

Ryan is a third-generation player at the club, following his father Rodney and grandfather Bill.

Uncles Steve and Malcolm had been similarly influential in Caversham’s fortunes over the years.

It might be something that would intimidate some, but Ryan did not feel any added pressure.

Indeed he has spent time at both Dunedin Technical and Green Island, as well.

Being a central figure in helping the Royals to national league qualification would certainly add his mark to the family legacy.

He was quick to play down his role in it all, although said it would be a big deal for the club if it could pull it off.

‘‘It would be massive, to be fair.

‘‘We just pretty much grabbed 16-20 players and won the local league pretty comfortably. Then to go and play national league would be huge.

‘‘It would really test a few of the boys as well, bring the best out of them.’’

The Royals kick-off at 11.30am today, and Nelson Suburbs hosts Selwyn United at noon.

Tomorrow Green Island hosts the Coastal Spirit at Sunnyvale at 12.30pm in the final game of the season.

●Football South’s Cup Day will go ahead without fans at Forsyth Barr Stadium today.

Roslyn Wakari Blacks will face Otago University thirds in the women’s Kiwi Panda Cup at 12.30pm, before Otago University seconds play Dunedin Technical in the Chinese Charity Cup game at 3pm.

Both the games will be livestreamed.


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