League hopes down to the wire

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IT’S all in front of Southland United on Saturday as they chase a spot in the new South Island competition.

The formula is pretty simple for the Southland football team in the Southern Premier League – beat Queenstown or kiss goodbye to a golden opportunity to take part in an exciting new competition.

The top three teams from the Southern Premier League, which covers the lower South Island, and the top five teams from the Mainland League, which covers Canterbury and Nelson, will make up a new eight-team South Island competition starting on June 30.

With one round to play in the Southern Premier League, Southland United sit tied in third place.

However, Southland United’s poor goal difference means the likes of Queenstown and Caversham hold an advantage, while Dunedin Technical is already almost certain to be one of the three teams in the South Island league.

Southland had an ideal opportunity to put itself in pole position on Saturday, but suffered a disappointing 4-0 upset loss to Mosgiel after being down 3-0 at half-time.

It now means only a win over Queenstown will be good enough for the Luis Paiva-coached team, which desperately wants to be part of the new South Island League.

Confusing the situation, Dunedin Technical and Queenstown still have a game in hand.

Their scheduled game earlier in the season was postponed because of nasty weather conditions in Queenstown. That game will be played the following weekend if it still has an impact on which teams could advance to the South Island League.

“As a football fan it is great that it has all come down to the final round, it is very exciting. But obviously we would have liked to have confirmed a place already. It was a disappointing loss against Mosgiel,” Paiva said.

“There is a bit of pressure on the players this weekend, but we are playing for something special so it is positive pressure.”

Meanwhile, Southland’s sole club remaining in the Chatham Cup knockout competition, Old Boys, was knocked out on Monday. Old Boys were beaten 3-0 by Dunedin club Grant Braes.

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