Eastern Suburbs forced to swallow bitter pill
Eastern Suburbs have felt the full competitiveness of the Stirling Sports Premiership with their first season coming to an agonising and disappointing end on the weekend.
The side’s fate in the football competition hinged on Sunday’s game between Hawkes Bay United and Hamilton Wanderers - Suburbs hoping Wanderers would do the unthinkable. But it wasn’t to be, with a 4-0 win to Hawkes Bay ensuring Suburbs finished two points behind the fourth and final playoff spot.
It brought an end to a season which had Suburbs constantly challenging the top four.
Meanwhile, their Auckland companions, Auckland City, will contest the semifinal against Hawkes Bay at Kiwitea Street this weekend.
For Suburbs coach Malcolm McPherson, not making the playoffs hurt.
‘‘We can’t blame anyone else, but we are disappointed if I’m being honest,’’ McPherson said.
‘‘It’s a sense of achievement for the club [finishing fifth], but we can’t help but feel disappointed that we’re not playing this weekend, especially with our results against those teams that are in the top four.’’
McPherson said it was a season of moments, with many games coming down to just one or two decisions, and Suburbs often ruing missed opportunities.
Eastern Suburbs’ impressive first season in the Stirling Sports Premiership has come to a disappointing end.