Clash between Southern League cellar dwellers a must-win to avoid relegation

FC Twenty 11 goalkeeper and captain Harri Rowe said it has been a challenging season so far....
FC Twenty 11 goalkeeper and captain Harri Rowe said it has been a challenging season so far. PHOTO: JIM WATTS PHOTOGRAPHY ​
A relegation dogfight beckons for FC Twenty 11 and Universities in the Southern League.

The two sides have both lost their opening six games and occupy the bottom two spots, with goal difference seeing Universities ahead.

The bottom-placed team will be relegated to the Canterbury Premiership at the end of the season.

FC Twenty captain and goalkeeper Harri Rowe said it had been a challenging season so far – in addition to the league losses, the team has already been knocked out of the English Cup and Chatham Cup.

“Mentally it’s just been tough always conceding and always losing so far.

“It’s just been physically and mentally draining for everyone.”

Universities lost their opening four games by one goal each, but went down 4-0 and 7-0 to Dunedin City Royals and Cashmere Technical respectively in their last two Southern League games.

Aldo Miramontes.
Aldo Miramontes.
Head coach Aldo Miramontes said it had been a tough run.

“The trip to Dunedin, I think it’s hard to travel the same day (and play), waking up very early in the morning and the things like that.

“Tech, for me, it’s the best team in the league. I think they are very strong, almost a professional team, so it was a bit hard to compete.”

FC Twenty and Universities will meet at Avonhead Park on Saturday, where the winner will gain a huge advantage for the rest of the season.

Rowe said it would be a must-win clash.

“It’s massive, it could be a make or break point for us, as well as a must-win game, because come towards the end of the season, I don’t think we’re going to have goal difference in our favour at all.

“We’ll need points, so we have to beat Uni twice in order to go and get out of that relegation zone.”

Other matches on Saturday see high-flying Coastal Spirit face Dunedin City Royals at English Park due to Coastal’s regular home ground, Linfield Park, being used by the Linwood rugby club, and Dunedin only able to travel on Saturday.

Cashmere Technical, fresh off an 11-0 thumping of Burwood in the Chatham Cup, face Nomads at Garrick Park, who also won big in the cup, 4-0 over Halswell United.

Table-toppers Christchurch United slipped up in the last round of league games, losing 3-2 to Coastal. They make the trip out to Rolleston to play Selwyn United at Foster Park.

Chatham Cup round 1
Christchurch Utd 5 Western 2;
Nomads 4 Halswell 0;
Cashmere Tech 11 Burwood 0;
Ferrymead Bays 3 Selwyn Utd 0;
Universities 1 Waimak 0;
Coastal Spirit 3 FC Twenty 11 0

Southern League round 7 (Saturday)
Coastal Spirit v Dunedin CR, English Park, noon
FC Twenty 11 v Universities, Avonhead Park, 2.45pm
Cashmere Tech v Nomads, Garrick Park, 2.45pm
Selwyn Utd v Christchurch Utd, Foster Park, 3pm
Nelson Suburbs v Ferrymead Bays, Saxton Fields, 12.30pm Sunday

Cash Tech 16; Chch Utd 15; Coastal 14; Nelson 10; Bays 10; Nomads 10; Dunedin 7; Selwyn 4; Uni 0; FC Twenty 0