Selwyn 2 vs Christchurch United 1

A rainy Tuesday night set the scene for the MPL promotion decider between Selwyn United and Christchurch United. Under the floodlights at Selwyn’s Foster park with a vibrant home crowd that got to witness Selwyn’s first ever promotion into the Mainland top tier competition, Mainland Premier League.

A point was all that was needed for Selwyn to clinch the title and gain promotion to the MPL, while Christchurch knew if they could grab a win here, they could put serious pressure on Selwyn in the coming weeks. Selwyn were without attacking midfielder Kieran Pinkney as he is heading over to Spain for a trial. While Christchurch United were without Henry Finnis through illness and recent centre forward acquisition from Parklands United, Tom Chadwick, through injury.

Starting Formations

Selwyn United lined up in a 433 formation, a switch from their 343 variant they had been working with for most of the season. This still had key elements of what made their 343 so successful with ball playing centre halves, fast wingers and with a ‘false 9’. Their back 4 consisted of two fullbacks who had license to go forward and two ball playing centre halves in Booth and Mulcahy who both are traditionally holding midfielders. Their midfield 3 consisted of two industrious workmen Corrodus and Henderson in front of McKay and stayed deep in an anchorman role as he sat in front of the two centre halves at all times. The front 3 consisted of Barbour-Ryan showing tendencies of what you could call a ‘false 9’ by dropping deep and was flanked by rapid wingers Samonte-Martin and the always dangerous Ede.

 

Christchurch United lined up in a narrow 4231 with their ‘wide’ players tucking in very narrow to implement almost three 10’s behind the lone striker Chang. In goal was Gordon, who was protected by a back four of Curry, Ferris, Constantine and Fowler. Two holding midfielders were Brooker, who held deep and van Gool who joined in with attacks. Ahead of these two, were the three ‘10s’ going from right to left, van der Bergh, Toohey, Alvarez. Van der Bergh gave width at times when van Gool pushed up. Chang spearheaded the line-up and looked to move into channels and get behind Selwyn’s defence.

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Opening Minutes

It was a game where CUFC were going to have to come out and attack, looking for that win and from the get go they had Selwyn on the back foot. A great chance fell to Chang in the opening minutes but a great save from Amyes denied a CUFC lead. The game soon became very open with constant attacks opening up from either side. Selwyn tended to sit back before launching counter attacks in rapid pace which caught the attacking minded CUFC side to reassess the game and slow things down a notch.

Selwyn’s Press

Despite Selwyn’s defence sitting deep to nullify Changs pace, they used very clever pressing triggers on CUFC’s defence to great effect. Selwyn’s front 3 with help of the 2 centre midfielders would close down options and press the CUFC fullbacks in possession. The pace of Selwyn’s front three managed to do this very well causing unease and mistakes coming from CUFC’s build-up play that they usually do so well. This made CUFC have to go more route-one than they were expecting and skip midfield going straight to Chang who would drop deep to collect, but the 3 attacking midfielders failed to find their touch on game and get beyond Chang. This route also skipped their key playmaker, van Gool who is arguably the best player in the division. These turnovers high up the field led to multiple chances from Selwyn to only be denied from an inform Gordon in goal

Selwyn struggle to take chances

Throughout the game saw Selwyn have the better and higher quality of chances, and if it was not for Gordons heroic performance in goal for CUFC, Selwyn could have had this game wrapped up at half time. Some great 1 on 1 saves, aerial catches and close range shot stopping had Selwyn wondering whether they would ever be able to find a way past CUFC goalkeeper who would become player of the match in my view.

Joy to watch Selwyn attack

The front 3 of Selwyn were entertaining and effective creating chances from various set ups. Barbour-Ryan dropped deep into midfield and either making splitting passes or dribbling at the CUFC defence which caused havoc at times as he drifted past multiple tackles. The wide forwards of Samonte-Martin and Ede’s pace and direct dribbling was a weapon itself. These two players stayed wide isolating the CUFC fullbacks trying to draw 1vs1 situations which more often than not got the better of their opposition. Ede and Samonte-Martin would swap flanks at times, while CUFC fullback Curry would follow Ede, man marking him which resulted in some heated challenges. The pace was also effective in the counter attacks Selwyn produced, Ede especially coming close on multiple occasions after some great transition from defence to attack. Ede would score Selwyn’s first goal and equalizer around the 70th minute from a well placed shot from the edge of the area. Later on substitute Arnott slotted home a great low cross from Barbour-Ryan.

2nd half

Christchurch United knew that if they would be patient a game winning goal could still come as it was still 0-0 going into the 2nd half. 5 minutes in CUFC did just that, a corner from van Gool was headed home from club captain Constanti. Soon after that CUFC pulled off van Gool due to him being on a yellow card, however still was seen as an odd decision as debutant Falconer took his place. While CUFC struggled to keep possession with van Gool on it was only going to be harder without him, especially now with Chang having no attacking support from any of his midfielders. CUFC tried to nullify Selwyns wingers by showing the fullbacks inside, however this just drew the ball straight to Barbour-Ryan who was just as dangerous as explained above. Ball-Winning midfielder Brooker struggled in an overrun midfield and was being stretched all over the place opening gaps which Selwyn soon punished on with the two goals coming in the final 20 minutes to make it a 2-1 win.

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Selwyn Celebrating promotion to the MPL, via Selwyn United FC’s facebook page

Conclusion

Selwyn were clear winners on the night and winners of the league. If it was not for CUFC goalkeeper Gordon things would have been a lot worse. CUFC did have some chances and played decent football at times but it was too sparingly to cause any overall threat, with Chang unable to be as effective as he potentially could with the lack of any other attacking danger. I do not see Selwyn having any problems in the MPL next year and is this another year in the CCL for CUFC?

 

Cashmere Technical 5 vs Ferrymead Bays 2

A flooded Christchurch saw MPL’s two giants lock horns on Saturday 22nd July. 1st place Cashmere Technical hosted 2nd place Ferrymead Bays at English park in a must win match for both sides. Cashmere Technical won key battles and ultimately ran away with a 5-2 lead, with one individual stealing the show.

 

A flooded Christchurch saw MPL’s two giants lock horns on Saturday 22nd July. 1st place Cashmere Technical hosted 2nd place Ferrymead Bays at English park in a must win match for both sides. Cashmere Technical won key battles and ultimately ran away with a 5-2 lead, with one individual stealing the show.

Starting Formations

Cashmere Technical lined up in a fluid 433 with an interchangeable front 3 and dynamic midfield. This front 3 of Thoms, White and Matthysen were all capable of taking defenders on, moving into channels and breaking the lines which caused Ferrymead Bay’s back 4 problems all night. Their dynamic midfield consisted of Halligan playing as the sole deep lying midfielder with Mitchell playing more of a box-to-box role and Ogilvie playing slightly more advanced which saw him moving into the channels between Wilson and Ford. Cashmere’s back 5 consisted of the ever-present Schwarz brothers and Knight in goal, along with Haworth and Boys as fullbacks who rarely pushed on above the wingers, leaving it very much an attacking 5 and defending 5.

Ferrymead Bays lined up in a more structured 4231 with less rotation amongst players and again saw full backs who rarely wanted to overlap until later in the game. Veteran goal keeper Highfield started between the sticks with a back 4 of Wilson, Ford, Astley and Mathieson. Two holding midfielders were Murphy and Bell, with the former getting forward and helping the attacks while the latter primarily stayed back. Forshaw played as a traditional ‘10’ ahead of them and was hoping to be the link from defence to attack. Macintyre and O’Brien started on the right and left wing respectively, with O’Brien up against his former club. This left Anderson up front as the sole forward, who looked to hold up play and bring his teammates into the game.

Cash Tech vs Bays
Lineups

Cashmere Start Strong

Wet and windy conditions were never going to make it an easy game for either side, with parts of the pitch in puddles. However, Cashmere Technical started very strongly, applying heavy pressure on the Bay’s midfield and back line while taking some early chances. Bays did get one promising break away which saw Anderson through on goal but only to have his touch hampered by the wet condition of the field.

Midfield Battle

This game was always going to be a battle of the midfield, with both sides packing players the midfield and favouring a possession based style. But it was Cashmere who did a great job of controlling this part of the pitch, where some key individual battles between Murphy and Ogilvie took place, which left the referee very busy. Tech’s midfield frustrated Forshaw and starved him of the ball which made attacks very hard to come by for Bays. Cashmere won majority of the 50-50’s and kept the ball well, which left Bays’ midfield angered as they turned on the referee’s every decision. Mitchell brought energy, while he and Ogilvie added great attacking threat with both finding the score sheet before the halftime whistle.

Bays Wingers Uninfluential

With their own midfielders finding it hard to gather control, it had a flow on effect to their wingers who did not get into the game. Macintyre did try to drop deep and help out but as soon as took one touch, he would be shut down immediately and found it hard to get past Boys. He would get taken off at half time for ex Canterbury United winger, Mark Peers. On the left, O’Brien did not have any more luck, struggling to take on the Cashmere back line. Neither helped press Cashmere’s defence either, with Anderson running solo between the Schwarz brothers.

Cashmere finish the half even stronger.

All half Cashmere looked the stronger team and it had the feeling they would get their goal sooner rather than later, and they did. Within the last 10 minutes of the first half Cashmere scored 3 goals with a Matthysen opener followed by one each from Mitchell and Ogilvie. The 3rd came from a great back heel from Mitchell into the path of the on running Ogilvie in the channel from where he blasted the ball past Highfield. Going into halftime, Bays had lost the midfield, the referee and 3 goals.

Matthysen
Lyle Matthysen,18

Lyle Matthysen

Just this week, Stuff.co.nz released an article explaining this boy’s form and that he is in contention to play for Canterbury United in the NZ National League. Once again, Matthysen showed up and put on a display that is sure to catch the on looking Canterbury United coach, Willy Gerdsen, in the stands. Matthysen opened the scoring by picking up the ball from 25 yards out, turning and shooting a curling shot over Highfield into the top right corner. He would go on and blast another one past Highfield in the 2nd half which was just as impressive. Here Matthysen won the ball inside his own half before dribbling with incredible pace and guile into Bay’s penalty box and unleashing a shot into the top left. Throughout the match he was a constant problem for Bays with his dribbling and ability to get involved in play from deep. At the age of 18, he certainly has a bright future.

2nd Half

Ferrymead Bays definitely came out in the second half looking more promising than the first half but on the hour mark a defensive error from centre back Sam Ford gifted White a goal and a 4th for his team. This was then followed by Matthysen’s second goal as explained above. Some smart substitutions from Bays saw deep-lying ball playing midfielder, Jacob Allen, come on for Bell, which allowed Murphy to push up more.  Also, fullback  Angus came on for O’Brien, which allowed Mathieson to push up to left wing and Frazer left back. In the final 10 minutes Bays pulled 2 goals back, both from set pieces which saw Anderson and Angus both head home a goal from a Peers free kick. This was to be too little too late though, as the final score was 5-2 Cashmere Technical. This result puts Cashmere Technical in pole position to retain their MPL title.

Player of the Match: Lyle Matthysen