Relegation-bound Marist need to gain respectability

The form of striker Taylor Monk has been one of the highlights of what has otherwise been a dismal season for Palmerston ...
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

The form of striker Taylor Monk has been one of the highlights of what has otherwise been a dismal season for Palmerston North Marist.

Respectability is about all Palmerston North Marist can gain in the final two weeks of the Central League.

There will be no escaping relegation for last-placed Marist, who are eight points adrift at the bottom of the table and will be playing in the Federation League next year.

Marist has had two wins, three draws and 11 losses from 16 games this season, conceding 57 goals, scoring 22 and for the most part, have been well off the pace.

So with two games remaining, against third-placed Wellington United in Wellington on Saturday and against Wairarapa United in Palmerston North the following week, Marist would want to finish the season on a high note.

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With a spot in the league gone, Marist can at least get a couple of upset results in the final two games to make up for what has been a poor season.

Marist may take some heart from their 1-all draw against Wellington in Palmerston North in May. In that game Marist conceded in the final minutes to let a win slip away.

Marist had the week off last weekend because of the Chatham Cup, but are coming off a 6-0 loss to league champions Western Suburbs in the last round, while Wellington beat Lower Hutt 5-0 in their last game.

■ The Marist women's team will want to bounce back from their agonising loss in the national knockout cup last weekend.

Marist lost to Upper Hutt 2-1 in extra time in the knockout quarterfinals last weekend, but are back in the Capital W League this week and will play Wellington United at Memorial Park on Saturday.

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If Marist win it will lock up second place for them and mean third-placed Wellington can't over take them.

Competition leaders Upper Hutt are playing winless Wairarapa United and an Upper Hutt win will confirm the league title for them.

■ In the only Federation League game in the region this weekend, Marist Reserves will play Gisborne Thistle at Ashhurst Domain.

Gisborne are not the same team on the road as they are at home and Marist should back themselves to get a result. Gisborne won 2-1 in the last round at Ashhurst.

Bottom-of-the-table Massey have a tough trip away against competition leaders Havelock North, who have sewn up the league title with three rounds to go.

Havelock North will play the winner of the Capital Premier League, likely to be Waterside Karori, home and away, to decide who is promoted to the Central League.

Massey were beaten 4-2 in their last visit to Havelock North.

In the other game, Wanganui Athletic play New Plymouth Rangers in Wanganui.

Red Sox-Manawatu have the bye.

Competition points:

Central League: Western Suburbs 41, Wairarapa United 31, Wellington United 26, Stop Out 26, Miramar Rangers 23, Napier City Rovers 20, Team Taranaki 20, Wellington Olympic 19, Lower Hutt City 17, PN Marist 9.

Capital W League: Upper Hutt 34, PN Marist 30, Wellington United 28, Seatoun 13, Stop Out 7, Wairarapa United 1.

Federation League: Havelock North 37, NP Rangers 28, Wanganui Athletic 26, Gisborne Thistle 18, PN Marist 16, Red Sox-Manawatu 8, Massey 6.

 - Stuff

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