Two unable to travel

ON THE BALL: Gisborne Thistle leftback Jake Robertson prepares to take on a Massey University player. Robertson is back to his best after recovering from a series of injuries. Picture by Paul Rickard

GISBORNE Thistle will be without two of their top performers from last week’s emphatic win when they play Palmerston North Marist away tomorrow.

But coach Matt Hastings says it will be a chance to give other players an opportunity to start in a Central Federation League football match.

Attacking midfielders Matt McVey and Olly Tilley were among the outstanding performers in Thistle’s 6-0 victory over Red Sox Manawatu last Saturday.

They are unavailable for tomorrow’s game at Ashhurst Domain but Hastings prefers to look on the bright side — it gives him the opportunity to reward others for their efforts this season.

Tomorrow Malcolm Marfell and Ian Cutler are likely to get starting places.

Marfell has had plenty of game time this season and did well when he came on for McVey last week, Hastings said.

“He is very good in the final third going forward and also does the defensive work.

“He links up well with Corey Adams up front, and with Jake Robertson on the left flank.”

Hastings said Cutler had shown a lot of ability training with the first-team squad twice a week and playing regularly in the Eastern League with the reserves.

“We brought him on against Wanganui and he changed the game and set up a goal for us.

“For a 14-year-old, he has incredible pace over the first five yards. He has flair and loves to go at players. We want to encourage that. This weekend potentially will be an opportunity for him to do that.”

Hastings was waiting to hear about the availability of PJ Goodlett, who might also come into the squad.

Max Mika would again travel as cover for the midfield.

“Last weekend Max came off the bench and did well as one of the two holding midfielders,” Hastings said.

Otherwise, the team was likely to remain much as it started last weekend.

That would mean Mark Baple in goal, with a back three of Mal Scammell, Liam Ryan and Riley McMenamin.

Hastings was happy with Kieran Ryan and Kieran Venema as the holding midfielders, and with Nick Land on the right flank and Jake Robertson on the left. Marfell and Cutler would come in for McVey and Tilley, and Corey Adams would again be the spearhead.

Hastings said Robertson played exceptionally well against Red Sox.

“It’s been a frustrating year for Jake, but he’s shown very good mental and physical strength.”

Robertson had not had as much first-team game time as he would have liked, but he had worked hard when he was playing Eastern League football and had sought advice on what he needed to work on. After consistent performances for the reserves, he had earned his call-up to the first team, and his continued presence in the team tomorrow.

Hastings said Thistle would be confident, having beaten Palmerston North Marist in their first two meetings this season.

But an unknown factor related to the relegation of the Marist first team from the Central League. Their fate had been sealed, and Hastings did not know whether some of those players might come down to help the reserves.

Thistle would continue with the style of play they had developed in the second half of the season. The players were seeing the results of what they had worked on.

A good result would set them up for the Gisborne game against league leaders Havelock North next weekend.

GISBORNE Thistle will be without two of their top performers from last week’s emphatic win when they play Palmerston North Marist away tomorrow.

But coach Matt Hastings says it will be a chance to give other players an opportunity to start in a Central Federation League football match.

Attacking midfielders Matt McVey and Olly Tilley were among the outstanding performers in Thistle’s 6-0 victory over Red Sox Manawatu last Saturday.

They are unavailable for tomorrow’s game at Ashhurst Domain but Hastings prefers to look on the bright side — it gives him the opportunity to reward others for their efforts this season.

Tomorrow Malcolm Marfell and Ian Cutler are likely to get starting places.

Marfell has had plenty of game time this season and did well when he came on for McVey last week, Hastings said.

“He is very good in the final third going forward and also does the defensive work.

“He links up well with Corey Adams up front, and with Jake Robertson on the left flank.”

Hastings said Cutler had shown a lot of ability training with the first-team squad twice a week and playing regularly in the Eastern League with the reserves.

“We brought him on against Wanganui and he changed the game and set up a goal for us.

“For a 14-year-old, he has incredible pace over the first five yards. He has flair and loves to go at players. We want to encourage that. This weekend potentially will be an opportunity for him to do that.”

Hastings was waiting to hear about the availability of PJ Goodlett, who might also come into the squad.

Max Mika would again travel as cover for the midfield.

“Last weekend Max came off the bench and did well as one of the two holding midfielders,” Hastings said.

Otherwise, the team was likely to remain much as it started last weekend.

That would mean Mark Baple in goal, with a back three of Mal Scammell, Liam Ryan and Riley McMenamin.

Hastings was happy with Kieran Ryan and Kieran Venema as the holding midfielders, and with Nick Land on the right flank and Jake Robertson on the left. Marfell and Cutler would come in for McVey and Tilley, and Corey Adams would again be the spearhead.

Hastings said Robertson played exceptionally well against Red Sox.

“It’s been a frustrating year for Jake, but he’s shown very good mental and physical strength.”

Robertson had not had as much first-team game time as he would have liked, but he had worked hard when he was playing Eastern League football and had sought advice on what he needed to work on. After consistent performances for the reserves, he had earned his call-up to the first team, and his continued presence in the team tomorrow.

Hastings said Thistle would be confident, having beaten Palmerston North Marist in their first two meetings this season.

But an unknown factor related to the relegation of the Marist first team from the Central League. Their fate had been sealed, and Hastings did not know whether some of those players might come down to help the reserves.

Thistle would continue with the style of play they had developed in the second half of the season. The players were seeing the results of what they had worked on.

A good result would set them up for the Gisborne game against league leaders Havelock North next weekend.

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