Ferrymead Bays wary of FC Nelson

Nikolas Fairley on the ball for Ferrymead Bays during their English Cup quarter-final loss to...
Nikolas Fairley on the ball for Ferrymead Bays during their English Cup quarter-final loss to Christchurch United on Tuesday. PHOTO: JIM WATTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Ferrymead Bays will brave the unknown in their Chatham Cup third-round away clash with FC Nelson on Sunday.

The two sides have never met before, which makes preparation tricky for Bays head coach Alan Walker.

“We do a little bit of preparation all the time on the opposition, their strengths and weaknesses, but obviously we don’t know how they set up, what they do and where their strengths and weaknesses are,” Walker  said.

“So we’ve got to focus on ourselves more than anything.”

FC Nelson caused an upset against Southern League side Nelson Suburbs in the last round of the Chatham Cup, coming from behind to win 2-1.

Walker said he anticipated a tough test against the side, who play in the Nelson Bays premiership – a step below the Southern League.

“I know that they’ve got some good players because I know some of them. The likes of Billy Scott, Labu Pan, Mark Johnson, Wesley Olea – there’s four of them that we know of that are all good players.

“So, they’ll be decent.”

The Chatham Cup is arguably the last competition Bays have left to play for – they’re comfortably placed mid-table in the Southern League and were knocked out of the English Cup by defending champions Christchurch United on Tuesday night, losing 2-1.

Walker said the potential of a bumper tie against a team from the North Island would be a big motivator for his side.

The earliest they can meet a team from outside the Mainland region is the quarter-finals in the fifth round – Chatham Cup matches are played between local teams before then.

“We’ve got a talented group. We’ve got a lot of good young players as well,” Walker said.

“To give them the opportunity of pitting themselves against some of the better teams from the north, that’s got to be the target.

“Once you get to the last eight, anything can happen. You’re two games away from the final.”

Kick-off between Bays and FC Nelson is 1pm on Sunday, the same time Coastal Spirit and Nomads meet in the only other match involving Christchurch sides.

The two winners from those ties will meet in the fourth round in three weeks’ time.

Chatham Cup round 3 (Sunday 1pm)
FC Nelson v Ferrymead Bays, Guppy Park; Coastal Spirit v Nomads, Linfield Park
English Cup quarter-final
Chch Utd 2 Ferrymead Bays 1
Southern League round 9
Nomads 2 Ferrymead Bays 1; Cashmere Tech 4 Chch Utd 2; Selwyn Utd 4 FC Twenty 0; Coastal Spirit 5 Universities 1
Southern League points
Cashmere Tech 25; Coastal 23; Chch Utd 21; Nelson 16; Nomads 14; Bays 10; Dunedin 10; Selwyn 7; Uni 4; FC Twenty 0