Christchurch United – Match Report vs Cashmere Technical (27/05/2023)

Christchurch United was held to a 1-1 draw against rivals Cashmere Technical, despite being up a man for the majority of the game, in New Zealand Southern League action. Normally I would wait until the national league phase of New Zealand’s domestic season to start doing reports, but these two teams will almost certainly be the ones that qualify for the Southern League. 


Sam Phillip 

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: New Zealand
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth 22/06/1999
  • Current Club: Christchurch United
  • Career: Wellington Phoenix (Y), University at Albany Great Danes
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Sam Phillip, at the time of writing, is the top-scorer in the New Zealand Southern League, having scored 13 goals in 9 appearances. The Southern League is probably the weakest of the three regional leagues but even then, there aren’t many players averaging a goal every 62 minutes. It was easy to see why Philip has been so prolific in this match, his off-the-ball movement is absolutely cracked at this level.

Phillip is a master at eluding markers with his runs and this has supplied him with a steady stream of close-range tap-ins. It was the same in this match as he finished off a counterattack from close range and had a handful of other chances. Phillip works very hard defensively, frequently putting Cashmere Technical players in difficult spots. He is not electrically quick but he is able to get in behind the defence and win foot races. Phillip is not particularly physically imposing. He is 6’0 but has a very slim build. He does not have the strength to hold the ball up. He does have a strong vertical leap and he is able to win headers in the box thanks to that and his movement. However he is not the Kiwi-Giroud, he isn’t going to be battling for long balls and pulling them out of the air.

His technical skills are a bit limited. His touch isn’t dreadful but there were definitely times he maybe could have gotten a shot off if he could get the ball under control quicker. His passing is ok. He had a few moments where he combined well with his teammates. But there were also times when he took a little too long to make a decision. 

Rating – A1

Phillip has some clear shortcomings and he is a little on the old side to be making the step up to professional football (depending on when this comes out he may have already turned 24). But his effectiveness is hard to deny, and players have come out of the New Zealand domestic scene at a slightly older age and been successful in the past. There isn’t really a spot for him on the Wellington Phoenix and he already didn’t catch on in North America after playing in the NCAA. So that really only leaves a small league in Europe. Ireland and Finland are popular destinations for Kiwis but Europe is a big place and there are lots of options. 


Jago Godden

  • Nationality: New Zealand 
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 17/01/2004
  • Current club: Christchurch United
  • Career: Lower Hutt City, Canterbury United
  • Position: Defensive Midfielder 
  • Preferred foot: Right 

Jago Godden is a big and physically strong defensive midfielder. He is tall with a muscular build. I don’t think I saw him lose a single physical battle. Cashmere Technical played a lot of long balls out of the back and Godden was dominant in neutralising those. His height also gives him a long reach and makes it difficult to dribble past him as well. His defensive positioning is quite strong, allowing him to make a lot of interceptions.

The only part of his defensive game that is not excellent for this level is his mobility. He is a little on the slow side and that limits his ability to chase players down. Godden often makes late runs into the box when the ball is played out wide in an attempt to get on the end of a cross. This didn’t generate any shots in this game but you can see how he could snatch a few goals per season doing this. In possession, Godden has more shortcomings. He played a handful of progressive passes but for the most part, he just recycled possession. He did have one really good penetrative long ball that launched a counter-attack, so he can do it, it’s just that he does not play that kind of pass with regularity.

His ball-carrying was very inconsistent. Obviously, his strength helps him to hold players off and he was able to dribble out of slightly challenging circumstances a couple of times. But his first touch was a bit lacking and sometimes the ball would get away from him. His lack of speed and his limited technical ability means that he can’t really dictate the tempo of a game, in or out of possession. I suspect he might be better suited as a centre-back at a higher level. 

Rating – A2

Godden is far from a complete player and is probably best off continuing to develop in New Zealand for the time being. But his age, physical profile, and passport (he has UK citizenship) are all very much on his side when it comes to making the jump to professional football. In the long run, I think he could probably make it to the A-League, especially if expansion adds more New Zealand teams. If he were to go abroad right now it would probably have to be to either English Non-League or the lower leagues in Scotland. Eventually, I think he could be good enough to play in League One or a small team in the Scottish Premier League. 


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