United eye fourth title of the season as National League kicks off

Christchurch United will have little time to celebrate their historic treble feat before they meet Eastern Suburbs in the opening round of the National League on Sunday.

United lifted their third piece of silverware this season after edging rivals Cashmere Technical 3-2 in the English Cup final at the weekend.

It was United’s first English Cup win since 1991 and followed their nail-biting Chatham Cup win over Melville on September 10.

They also took out this year’s Southern League for the second year in a row.

The lengthy season will continue with a mouth-watering clash between two of this year’s club heavyweights in the first round of the National League.

United will travel to Madills Farm, near St Heliers Beach, Auckland, to take on Eastern Suburbs a month on from the teams' last meeting in the Chatham Cup semi-final.

Although United went through the Southern League with one loss from 18 games, Eastern Suburbs managed even better, going through their Northern League season undefeated for the first time since 1965.

However, they finished second behind National  League defending champions Auckland City.

Christchurch United’s Cameron Lindsay and Cashmere Technical captain Andrew Storer compete for...
Christchurch United’s Cameron Lindsay and Cashmere Technical captain Andrew Storer compete for the ball in Saturday’s English Cup final. Photo: Jim Watts Photography
United captain Matt Tod-Smith will be expected to lead from the front after his man-of-the-match performance against Technical on Saturday.

Tod-Smith opened the scoring in the English Cup clash with a successful penalty late in the first half to give United a 1-0 lead at halftime.

A strong start to the second period for Technical was rewarded when captain Andrew Storer nailed a free kick to take the score to 1-1.

Soon after, Tod-Smith managed to score a second before Technical substitute Declan Tyndall fired a shot in the 78th minute to level the game again.

With the game nearing the end of added time, United looked to be heading into extra-time for another final.

But United went clear when Benji Lapslie scored from a corner with minutes remaining.

Technical will return to English Park on Sunday for their opening clash against Auckland United. Auckland finished third in the Northern League with 13 wins, four draws and five losses while Technical secured second in the Southern League with 13 wins, three draws and two losses.

Meanwhile, Canterbury University have progressed to the next stage of the Southern League qualifiers. The men’s premiership winners secured a 3-0 win over FC Nelson on Saturday to win 5-3 on aggregate.

UC will play the first of two games against Roslyn Waikari in Dunedin on Saturday as their search to secure a place in next year’s Southern League continues.

National League - Round 1

  • Wellington Phoenix Reserves v Auckland City, Fraser Park (Lower Hutt), Saturday 4pm.
  • Manurewa v Wellington Olympic, Manuwera War Memorial Park, Sunday 2pm.
  • Napier City Rovers v Petone, Bluewater Stadium (Napier), Sunday 2pm.
  • Eastern Suburbs v Christchurch United, Madills Farm (Auckland), Sunday 3pm.
  • Cashmere Technical v Auckland United, English Park, Sunday 3pm.

All games will be live-streamed on New Zealand Football’s YouTube page.