National league look to Marist
Marist coach Steve Green is confident his new midfield will be the catalyst to move his team away from the threat of relegation in the Central League.
Marist takes on third-placed Lower Hutt City at Memorial Park tomorrow, but with the addition of three YoungHeart Manawatu players, Marist looks a more formidable side.
With key national league players Ian Sandbrook and Ian Robinson joining national under-17 international Cory Chettleburgh in the central midfield, Marist looks as strong as any other side in the competition.
And with the additional neversay-die attitude of Adam Cowan – who will play on the right, joining Yuki Tomomatsu on the left of midfield – Marist has a complete national league midfield.
‘‘I don’t think anyone will be able to match us there,’’ an excited Green said. ‘‘The guys who have been playing there for us have done well, but the three newcomers give us a lot of strengths, defensively and attacking.’’
Green said even just having Sandbrook last week made an enormous difference to his team, which led 2-0 before allowing Wellington United back into the game to draw 2-all.
‘‘Players like Ian Sandbrook just have so much time on the ball and deliver quality balls to the strikers,’’ he said.
‘‘Having Ian Robinson as well will give us even more strength – and they can both score goals.’’
Cowan will give Carpet Court Marist more scoring strength with Green adding that his aerial ability will be important at both ends of the pitch.
However, Green is also cautious. Having the new players won’t automatically result in his side getting away from the relegation zone.
‘‘We’ve been under pressure all season to get points and that hasn’t changed at all,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve got bottom-placed Taranaki in four weeks, but we need to get clear of them now and take the pressure off when we play them.’’
Taranaki is on five points, but is always dangerous on its home New Plymouth pitch. Marist is a point ahead, while Stop Out is also flirting with danger on just eight points.
The last time Marist met Lower Hutt it lost to a late goal, and apart from two big losses, it hasn’t been far behind any opponent this season
In the Western Premiership, lea- der North End can put paid to Wanganui Athletic’s outside chances of winning the league at Skoglund Park.
With just three games remaining, Red Sox-Manawatu will then be the only side which can hunt down North End, but it will first need to beat Linton Army at Skoglund Park on Saturday.
Red Sox-Manawatu will still need to beat North End in their next clash and hope North End also trips up elsewhere.
In other games, Massey University has had its game with Wanganui City defaulted by Central Soccer after not paying team fees.
Among the 10 other Massey teams defaulting will be Massey’s Central League women’s side, which was to host Seatoun.
In the last game, Marist Reserves meet Palmerston North Boys’ High School.