» Preview: Southern United (h)

And just like that our season draws to a close.

We’re at John Kerkhof Park, Cambridge, for our final game of the 2014/15 ASB Premiership season when we host Southern United this Saturday.

The side shown proper character last weekend to win in Napier against a Hawkes Bay United team that needed a point to secure their top four spot, despite being out of the play-off race ourselves. More of the same will be expected against Southern.

Head Coach, Peter Smith, is determined his side will finish the season on a positive note. “We have to really,” he said after conducting his final training session of the summer. “It’s been a long and challenging campaign for the coaching and playing group and we enter this game knowing we’ve improved on our debut season. There were times this summer when things didn’t go completely to plan, but we’ve always come back strong. A win on Saturday would be the best possible way to sign off.”

For Smith, the 2014/15 season will be something of a missed opportunity. “The big disappointment, of course, is not making the play-offs,” he explained. “I still firmly believe we’re good enough to have made the post-season. The players deserved it. But at the end of it all the table doesn’t lie. That’s football. We’ll deal with it and look to come back stronger next time out.”

Smith mentioned several groups of people as the season draws to its close. “My coaching and management team have been top class. It’s been a true team effort and I admire their passion and dedication in sometimes trying circumstances. I’d also like to make mention of the support offered by Allan Jones, who has mentored me for a number of seasons. Allan’s advice has been invaluable.

“The playing group has been brilliant this season. They bought in to what we were trying to achieve and, again, it’s such a shame their efforts haven’t been rewarded with a place in the top four.

“Finally, the fans have been superb. One of my lasting memories of this season is the crowd reaction to the winner against Canterbury United. Thank you to everyone who has attended our matches and for your support this season.”

WaiBOP United versus Southern United kicks off at 5pm at John Kerkhof Park, Cambridge, on Saturday March 14.

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