Royals handed a lesson

Dunedin City Royals defender Braden Fowell (left) tracks Cashmere Technical forward Jack Hallahan...
Dunedin City Royals defender Braden Fowell (left) tracks Cashmere Technical forward Jack Hallahan at Logan Park yesterday. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Christchurch class proved just a bit much for Dunedin inexperience in the opening round of the Southern League yesterday.

The Dunedin City Royals enjoyed the odd good moment, but they were also left contemplating the challenges they will face this season as they fell to a 5-1 loss to Cashmere Technical at Logan Park Turf.

Cashmere are favoured by many to win the league, and it was easy to see why — especially in the second half, when they ran away with the game after holding a one-goal advantage at the break.

Their passing was crisp, their movement slick and their pressing relentless at times as they matched a staunch backline with a potent attack.

Still, there were times when it felt like Cashmere was merely able to profit due to the Royals not quite being up to speed.

It is the beginning of a long season, and these young Dunedin City players — there were two on debut in the starting XI, and two more on the bench — will already be better for the experience of playing one of the big guns.

"I thought we just got punished for switching off," Royals coach Richard Murray said.

"We were great for the first 60 minutes, held our own, but then just switched off for a couple of moments, and their third goal was a bit of a killer.

"Their experience paid off in the end and that just got us."

Murray is excited about the potential in his squad, but knows the coaching staff will have to be patient.

"We’re building. We’ve lost a lot of experience so we will build through the season.

"It’s hard when you get the top team right at the start, but that’s a good indicator of where we’re at and also a good lesson."

The Royals looked best when their midfield trio of Hayden Aish, Cam Clark and Ryan Mairs worked well as a unit.

Will Turner was lively as ever up front, and Braden Fowell worked tirelessly on the left flank.

Cashmere started with intensity and won a bunch of early corners.

Zander Edwards and Aidan Barbour-Ryan had reasonable chances before the opening goal arrived from a series of intricate passes around the box and a crisp Lyle Matthysen shot.

The Royals might have been stung, but their response was superb.

Turner pressed hard in the attacking third to gain the turnover, glided into the box and buried his shot past Cashmere keeper Danny Knight.

Parity lasted just four minutes before another one of those blasted corners.

Big Cashmere defender Tom Schwarz was left wide open at the near post and was able to simply poke it home.

The first 20 minutes of the second half were relatively uneventful — until Cashmere took control with a period of sheer dominance.

After some pinballing in the box, a low cross found substitute striker Gabe Gallaway unmarked for the tap-in, and Matthysen made it 4-1 just five minutes later when he was allowed too much space in the box and his rasping shot eluded Royals keeper Alex Boomer.

The fifth and final goal was great fun for Cashmere, but extremely frustrating for the home fans.

Not one but two players hit the woodwork before Gallaway got a third opportunity and made no mistake.

The Royals are on the road to play Nomads next weekend.

Nomads were beaten 3-0 by Christchurch United on Thursday, while Ferrymead Bays pipped Canterbury University 1-0.

Southern League

The scores

Cashmere Technical 5

Lyle Matthysen 24’, 71’, Tom Schwarz 31’, Gabe Gallaway 66’, 87’

Dunedin City Royals 1

Will Turner 27’

Halftime: Cashmere 2-1.