Depleted Marist make hard work of Athletic

FOOT IN THE DOOR: Palmerston North Marist's Cam Dearlove tries to pinch the ball off Wanganui Athletic's Matt Roger in their Western Premiership match at Memorial Park yesterday.
FOOT IN THE DOOR: Palmerston North Marist's Cam Dearlove tries to pinch the ball off Wanganui Athletic's Matt Roger in their Western Premiership match at Memorial Park yesterday.

As expected, Palmerston North Marist beat Wanganui Athletic but made surprisingly heavy work of their 2-0 win at Memorial Park on Saturday.

The other top sides have been hammering goals past Wanganui Athletic, who are leaking an average of more than five goals a game.

Marist coach Matt Kennedy admitted it wasn't the best effort, but he was missing six players.

"Not making excuses because it was a pretty scrappy game and we missed a lot of chances," Kennedy said.

Among those were key players Tyson Brandt, Khair Jones and Steven Tippett.

"I guess for us the win was important and we'll take the three points and move on."

Kennedy was hoping for more goals, especially if the league remains tight and the outcome comes down to goal difference at the end of the season.

"That's beyond our control but it would have been nice to score a few more goals."

With the win Marist moved level top with Red Sox-Manawatu and Wanganui City, who had their game postponed on Saturday, although Marist has played two games more than the other two.

"It is difficult playing the teams you're expected to beat, but it's about lifting our intensity against them and Taranaki."

Feilding AFC coach Jeff Gleave was pleased his side played well in their 1-all draw with North End at Timona Park, but disappointed his side hadn't picked up the three points.

"We led for 70 minutes after Tony [Gavin] had scored before they scored then hammered away at them for the final 10 minutes," Gleave said. "We just couldn't quite put in the finishing touch. It was good to see the lads came off the field gutted at not winning."

Gleave said although he's still struggling for numbers, he is rapt to see the players battling away with intensity in every game.

"I can't fault their effort or fitness," he said. "Even on our big pitch we're running hard right until the end."

With only 12 fit players, including himself, Gleave started until defender Liam McAleese arrived after finishing his exam.

"I quite enjoyed my 35 minutes but it was good to get Liam on the pitch. He's been one of our best players this season."

With Super 8 games starting yesterday over three days, Palmerston North Boys' High School were forced to play a league game against Team Taranaki which they lost 5-1, with the students' goal coming from Wade Randle.

Incredibly they lined up with the same side against Gisborne Boys' High School and Napier Boys' High School yesterday.

Boys' High were to play Tauranga Boys' College in their last group match today after beating Gisborne 1-0 with Jordan Martens netting the winner.

Boys' High left it late to beat Napier 2-0 yesterday afternoon with Levi McFarland and Jack Gleeson scoring in the final four minutesh.

With both Tauranga and Palmerston North unbeaten, they were both guaranteed to play in this afternoon's semifinal.

Valeron Wanderers' confidence showed in their 2-all Central League women's clash with Waterside-Karori at Memorial Park yesterday.

Valeron were 2-0 down after 10 minutes but came back with goals to Hannah Fitzgerald and Terina McAleese before the break.

Unbeaten Massey University beat Brooklyn Northern United 5-1 on the artificial pitch at Wakefield Park, Wellington yesterday.

Massey rested many of their leading players. Their scorers were Coral Steath (2), Jane Barnett, Rhonda Bridges and Siobhan Patterson.

Manawatu Standard