Western sides looking good

TONY COFFIN
Last updated 12:00 15/06/2012

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The top three Western Premiership sides should all carry on towards a playoff collision after the 10th round tomorrow.

Despite a slip-up in New Plymouth last Sunday, Palmerston North Marist are still just three points behind joint league leaders Red Sox-Manawatu and Wanganui City, although they have played one more game.

Marist will back themselves to notch up a few goals tomorrow when they meet Feilding AFC at Timona Park Feilding, although Feilding did thump in six goals, more than they've scored in eight league games, in a Federation Cup knockout game last Saturday.

Led by exciting strikers Tyson Brandt, Khair Jones and Steven Tippett, Marist have loads of talent with quality on the bench, while Feilding coach Jeff Gleave is battling just to get a team on the pitch.

"We don't have a lot of depth and injuries to our better players hasn't helped," Gleave said. "I'm having to drag players from the Bs."

Red Sox take on North End in a game that usually has extra bite to it with both clubs considering it a derby game.

North End though have been disappointing and have struggled to keep opposition teams from scoring. With Red Sox having quality strikers in Jerram Tuck, Dane Cleaver and Caleb Gaylard, it's difficult to see North End turning their season around in this one.

All Palmerston North Boys' High School have lacked this season has been goals, leaving their young defence to try to hold out opponents to hopefully pick up a result. While they have lost plenty of games, the students look to be hitting their straps and don't be surprised to see them put Wanganui City under pressure.

Wanganui has looked all class when they've controlled possession but Marist showed a fortnight ago that if you play the game at pace, Wanganui City did struggle with a quick game.

In the other game, even an away game in Whanganui won't be enough to stop fourth-placed Taranaki from beating a Wanganui Athletic team who have conceded 34 goals in just eight games.

The Massey University women's team have beaten everyone before them with ease in this season's Central League and they should have too much ammunition for Seatoun on Sunday.

But unlike a league game, the Memorial Park clash will have added pressure being the quarterfinal of the ASB Cup, the women's national knockout tournament.

Massey coach Simon Lees admitted he has been aiming at these games all season and the prize for winning was enormous.

"The winner gets the chance to test themselves against the powerful Auckland sides in a semifinal," Lees said. "We've done a lot of work around how we play and adapting to facing teams where we can't just rely on Emma Boyack to run through five or six defenders and score."

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Lees said though a game with one of the country's heavyweight Auckland sides is a tantalising prospect, he's not taking a win over Seatoun for granted.

"We may be winning our league games comfortably but this game is a one-off over 90 minutes and Seatoun have some quality players who could hurt us; we'll need to be at our best."

Massey may not have been at there best as Lees worked to have his side play a faster paced passing game. But last week they destroyed Wellington United 7-0 and could have won by more.

In a Central League game at Skoglund Park, also at 1pm on Sunday, a confident Valeron Wanderers will be aiming for consecutive league wins when they meet Wellington United.

- Manawatu Standard

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