Super-sub stuns leaders

Jags inflict first loss of Fed season on Havelock.

Jags inflict first loss of Fed season on Havelock.

HERO HARRIS: Gisborne Thistle’s Josh Harris tries to get around Havelock North midfielder Liam Carrington as linesman Seth Piper keeps a close eye on proceedings in a Central Federation League game at Childers Road Reserve yesterday. A Harris goal in the 80th minute earned the home side a 1-0 win and ended the competition leaders’ unbeaten run. Picture by Paul Rickard

A THUMPING Josh Harris header that would not have looked out of place in an English Premier League football match gave Gisborne Thistle a 1-0 win against Central Federation League leaders Havelock North at Childers Road Reserve yesterday.

Harris, brought on for Matt McVey after 60 minutes, met a superb left-wing cross from Malcolm Marfell in the 80th minute and gave goalkeeper Sean Peta no chance.

It was Havelock’s first loss of the season. They remain top of the table on 22 points, six ahead of New Plymouth Rangers and Wanganui Athletic, with Thistle another point back.

Thistle and Rangers have a game in hand on the other two top-four sides.

Havelock coach Chris Greatholder, who came on with 20 minutes remaining, was gracious in defeat.

“We had 80 percent of possession but couldn’t break them down,” he said.

“It’s disappointing to lose and it stings. On the day, they defended well and scored a cracking goal. We weren’t quite good enough. That’s football. Just because we are top of the table, we have no divine right to come here and win.”

Thistle coach Matt Hastings was ecstatic.

“We had a plan, to defend and frustrate Havelock in the first half, and then try to stretch them in the second when we knew they would come at us . . . it worked perfectly,” Hastings said,

“I’m proud of every player who took part today. I couldn’t have asked for more It’s a great result.”

Thistle started with a 3-4-2-1 formation, which Havelock got on top of, but the visitors missed a glorious chance to go ahead midway through the first half when striker Jared Bloor headed wide with only keeper Ryan Majstrovic to beat.

Shortly after, Majstrovic did well to head clear after a through ball beat the Thistle defence. He then got back in time to save the ensuing shot.

Corey Adams, left to lead a lone battle up front, produced Thistle’s first shot on the half-hour mark, but his effort was blocked.

Adams was then put though by Olly Tilley for a one-on-one with Peta, only for the keeper to make a good save.

Thistle were beginning to come into the game as an attacking force and midfielder Nicky Land will probably feel he should have done better when he snatched at a chance just before halftime.

“The game needs a goal,” a spectator said, and she was right.

Thistle pushed midfielder Augustin Lastagaray and McVey further forward at the start of the second half but it was the visitors who looked more likely to score.

Majstrovic made two good saves within the opening 10 minutes . . . a goal then and one’s money would have been on a Havelock win.

However, the introduction of super-sub Harris had an immediate impact.

With his first touch he sent the hard-working Adams away, and he continued to cause Havelock problems every time he was in possession.

So why wasn’t Harris on from the start?

“Josh missed five weeks with his three-week suspension,” Hastings said.

“He’s getting close to match-fit.

“We know what he can do once he comes on so it’s a win-win situation for us. He gives us a real spark and every time he comes on he’s getting fitter.”

Hastings had good reason to be proud of all his players and particularly impressive were Majstrovic, Adams, Tilley, Marfell and Riley McMenamin, who had his first start.

Majstrovic was safe in everything he had to do. Adams, up against two, three and four defenders at times, ran himself into the ground.

Tilley covered a lot of ground, while Marfell looked dangerous when he got forward.

McMenamin was up against a tricky player in Ethan Dent. He threatened to run riot early on but McMenamin gradually got on top and won that battle as Dent faded.

Others to play well for Havelock were skipper and striker Bjorn Christensen, rightback James Barclay — the son of former Gisborne man Bruce Barclay and grandson of the late Richard Barclay — and centreback Liam Shackleton.

A THUMPING Josh Harris header that would not have looked out of place in an English Premier League football match gave Gisborne Thistle a 1-0 win against Central Federation League leaders Havelock North at Childers Road Reserve yesterday.

Harris, brought on for Matt McVey after 60 minutes, met a superb left-wing cross from Malcolm Marfell in the 80th minute and gave goalkeeper Sean Peta no chance.

It was Havelock’s first loss of the season. They remain top of the table on 22 points, six ahead of New Plymouth Rangers and Wanganui Athletic, with Thistle another point back.

Thistle and Rangers have a game in hand on the other two top-four sides.

Havelock coach Chris Greatholder, who came on with 20 minutes remaining, was gracious in defeat.

“We had 80 percent of possession but couldn’t break them down,” he said.

“It’s disappointing to lose and it stings. On the day, they defended well and scored a cracking goal. We weren’t quite good enough. That’s football. Just because we are top of the table, we have no divine right to come here and win.”

Thistle coach Matt Hastings was ecstatic.

“We had a plan, to defend and frustrate Havelock in the first half, and then try to stretch them in the second when we knew they would come at us . . . it worked perfectly,” Hastings said,

“I’m proud of every player who took part today. I couldn’t have asked for more It’s a great result.”

Thistle started with a 3-4-2-1 formation, which Havelock got on top of, but the visitors missed a glorious chance to go ahead midway through the first half when striker Jared Bloor headed wide with only keeper Ryan Majstrovic to beat.

Shortly after, Majstrovic did well to head clear after a through ball beat the Thistle defence. He then got back in time to save the ensuing shot.

Corey Adams, left to lead a lone battle up front, produced Thistle’s first shot on the half-hour mark, but his effort was blocked.

Adams was then put though by Olly Tilley for a one-on-one with Peta, only for the keeper to make a good save.

Thistle were beginning to come into the game as an attacking force and midfielder Nicky Land will probably feel he should have done better when he snatched at a chance just before halftime.

“The game needs a goal,” a spectator said, and she was right.

Thistle pushed midfielder Augustin Lastagaray and McVey further forward at the start of the second half but it was the visitors who looked more likely to score.

Majstrovic made two good saves within the opening 10 minutes . . . a goal then and one’s money would have been on a Havelock win.

However, the introduction of super-sub Harris had an immediate impact.

With his first touch he sent the hard-working Adams away, and he continued to cause Havelock problems every time he was in possession.

So why wasn’t Harris on from the start?

“Josh missed five weeks with his three-week suspension,” Hastings said.

“He’s getting close to match-fit.

“We know what he can do once he comes on so it’s a win-win situation for us. He gives us a real spark and every time he comes on he’s getting fitter.”

Hastings had good reason to be proud of all his players and particularly impressive were Majstrovic, Adams, Tilley, Marfell and Riley McMenamin, who had his first start.

Majstrovic was safe in everything he had to do. Adams, up against two, three and four defenders at times, ran himself into the ground.

Tilley covered a lot of ground, while Marfell looked dangerous when he got forward.

McMenamin was up against a tricky player in Ethan Dent. He threatened to run riot early on but McMenamin gradually got on top and won that battle as Dent faded.

Others to play well for Havelock were skipper and striker Bjorn Christensen, rightback James Barclay — the son of former Gisborne man Bruce Barclay and grandson of the late Richard Barclay — and centreback Liam Shackleton.

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