Impressive form puts Queens Park into final
Queens Park will be hoping to cap off a solid first season under new coaches Lindsay Barnett and Ibrahim Munu when they face Old Boys 2 in the Charity Cup men's knockout football final today.
Park finished two points off Donald Gray Cup champions Old Boys in the league title race and can pick up their first silverware of the season with a win today.
Barnett, who is a life member of the club, previously coached the premier team 20 years ago, and is back at the helm this season.
Queens Park head into the Charity Cup final with an impressive run of form behind them, with their last loss coming in June in the Chatham Cup match against Roslyn-Wakari.
Last Saturday, Park midfielder Stu Kent scored the game-winner, five minutes from time, to knock Old Boys' top team out of the cup competition.
The Old Boys 2 side was formed for the Charity Cup and features a mix of promising youngsters, who mainly lined up for the Youth Academy in the Donald Gray Cup, and several experienced campaigners such as Gordon Lamont, Dave Fosbender and Scott Mackenzie.
They will take a lot of confidence into the final after accounting for Waihopai 4-1 and Winton FC 7-1 in the past fortnight.
Mackenzie said he was happy with how the side had played in their last two games, but acknowledged Queens Park would be a huge step up in class.
"We've got nothing to lose. We're underdogs. Not many people would be expecting us to win the game.
"It would be nice to make up for the [first team] loss last week."
Queens Park have had no trouble finding the back of the net in recent weeks, but can just as easily leak goals in. They have won their last four games in all competitions, but conceded 13 goals.
"There might be an opportunity for us up front," Mackenzie said.
"They're a good, solid side. They don't have many holes."
Queens Park will be without prolific Irish striker Joey O'Neill, and defenders Ryan Boyle and Scott Stratton for the game.
Youngster Jesse Martin is likely to partner Tobi Reid up front, with Nick Edwards an option to start at right back for Boyle.
Queens Park's strength lies in the midfield, where Kent, skipper Mark Pearson and the dependable Cory Johnson get through a power of work.
Pearson said Park were confident heading into the final, but said they could not afford to take Old Boys 2 lightly.
"We're expecting a tough game. We're definitely amped for [today]. We've been a bit unlucky this season. It probably came down to the start of the season [that hurt us]. Over the second half of the season, we've been the best team in town."
Queens Park defender Matt Burgess will play with cracked ribs.
Kickoff is at the ILT Football Turf at 2.45pm.
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