Thistle draw, United win again

Pacific Premiership football.

Pacific Premiership football.

Gisborne Thistle centreback Cole Devonport (left) closes in on Napier Marist midfielder Dylan du Rossi in a Pacific Premiership football match that ended 1-1 at Childers Road Reserve on Saturday. Picture by Paul Rickard

Gisborne Thistle got their first point in Pacific Premiership football this season with a 1-1 draw against Napier Marist in Gisborne on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in Hawke’s Bay, a Josh Adams hat-trick propelled Gisborne United to a 6-2 victory over Hastings Western Rangers. United are joint top of the league with Napier City Rovers Seconds after two games.

Marist are reigning champions but the squad who faced Thistle at Childers Road Reserve were vastly different from that of last year.

“We lost 10 of last season’s squad and today we were without two of our most influential players, (striker) Tai Barham and (defender) Jackson Durrington,” coach Jamie Dunning said.

He was “pleased-ish” with a draw.

“I thought we dominated both halves, although Gisborne were dangerous on the counter-attack.

“Not many teams will come here and get a point.”

He had one 15-year-old — former Campion College and Thistle player Ian Cutler — and a handful of 16-year-olds in his team on Saturday, and told them they would “have to be men” in what he expected to be a physical game.

“They showed me they can do that.”

The Marist players did not have the physique to throw their weight about, but they never took a backward step.

Both sides veered towards the petulant in some of their behaviour. It’s simple, chaps. You’ll enjoy your football more if you play hard but show your opponents respect. Show them disrespect, and you risk anger-driven tackles that can end your season.

Two players were sent off in the closing stages.

Marist centreback Jonty Underhill, his side’s standout defender, was red-carded after he clipped the heels of Hector Araya as the Thistle right-sided attacker burst past him for a clear run on goal in the 84th minute. Nothing came of the resulting free-kick.

Three minutes later, Araya was sent off after a set-to with a Marist player.

In the same incident, referee Mel Knight made use of the sinbin trial in this league by giving Marist striker Harry Mason 10 minutes off for dissent.

Knight started the game running a line but, half an hour in, referee Ben Chisholm pulled a calf muscle in his right leg and called on her to take the whistle.

First-year referee Matt Hastings was in the grandstand and, after fetching his gear, replaced Chisholm on the line 10 minutes into the second half.

Thistle coach Garrett Blair was pleased to get a point from the reigning champions.

“We showed a lot more fight than we did last week,” he said.

“Marist are a very good young side, so to come away with that point bodes well for the season.”

His man of the match was Araya, for the threat he posed on attack.

Blair, too, has had to rebuild his team after many of last year’s Federation League side transferred to United.

One of the replacements, striker Jake Theron, scored five minutes into his debut. Araya played the through-ball that set up the goal.

The first half

In the first half, Marist did most of the attacking, with Thistle content to fall back, absorb the pressure and threaten on the break.

Marist central midfielders Dylan du Rossi and Tom Tidy were at the heart of the visitors’ attacking efforts.

On the flanks, Zack Taylor on the right and Luis Toomey on the left were quick to join frontrunners Jett Hogg and Mason to cause Thistle some anxiety.

Left wingback Cutler is on a sports scholarship to Lindisfarne College. The introduction to Marist coach Dunning came about through last year’s Thistle coach, Matt Hastings, who spent time as Dunning’s assistant.

Cutler doesn’t turn 16 until October, but did not look out of place in senior company.

With fellow youngsters Joel Restieaux and Dan Baxter at centreback and rightback respectively, the experience of central defender Underhill and the assured presence of goalkeeper Wilson McCullough, Marist presented a formidable defensive barrier.

Thistle looked to be short of someone to cause panic in opposing defences. Theron needs someone alongside him, but Davie Ure and Araya seem most effective attacking from deep. Oh, for a young Shaun Auckram, Nic Somerton, Dean Wrigley or Davie Ure, or present-day Stu Cranswick.

Thistle’s sweeper on Saturday, Chris Spurr, could have filled the bill in his day, too. Against Marist, he often had his hands full coming out of the back line to meet players advancing on the defence.

Beside him, central defender Cole Devonport impressed with a wholehearted display on debut.

Liam Ryan was dependable at rightback and even better when he moved into the middle when Spurr made way for Jake Robertson to come on at leftback in the 72nd minute. Daniel Venema switched from leftback to right with no drop-off in his performance.

Goalkeeper Mark Baple made several outstanding blocks and was desperately unlucky with Marist’s equaliser. Toomey’s 62nd-minute free-kick scooted low past the Thistle wall, Baple saw it late and dived left to claw it away from the corner of the goal, only for Taylor to pounce on the rebound.

Central midfielders Olly Tilley and Ander Batarrita, and left flank player Nicky Land had their work cut out handling the lively Marist midfield.

Max Mika came on for Batarrita after 62 minutes, and his fresh legs were called on to keep the Marist youngsters at bay.

Thistle’s next game is away to Eskview.

In Hastings, Gisborne United went ahead after 19 minutes against Western Rangers, with a fine header from Dane Thompson from Josh Adams’s left-wing corner. Thompson rose above everyone, eight metres out, to power the ball high into the net.

Seven minutes later, the Rangers keeper brought down Adams as he went round him, and Kieran Venema buried the spot-kick to make it 2-0.

Rangers pulled a goal back in the 35th minute when a forward volleyed a bouncing through-ball past United keeper Jack Faulkner.

For the next 10 minutes, Rangers piled on the pressure but United scored right on halftime to give themselves breathing space. Left-flank midfielder Josh Harris passed to Josh Adams, who took the ball on the halfway line, ran round the rightback and sidefooted the ball past the keeper to make it 3-1.

A Western Rangers player was sent off in the 65th minute after a clash with Harris, who was shown a yellow card.

That seemed to settle both teams, and in the 72nd minute Thistle went 4-1 up when Harris played the ball inside to Adams, who hit a first-time left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area into the bottom right-hand corner.

Adams brought up his hat-trick a minute later when from a corner the well-performed Faulkner plucked the ball out of the air and threw it to him at halfway. Adams beat one defender for pace then, from 30 metres on the angle, hit a pile-driver into the top right-hand corner.

In the 81st minute, Adams’s elder brother and team player-coach Corey Adams ran on to a ball from right midfielder Malcolm Marfell and sidefooted it into the bottom-left corner from 15 metres to make it 6-1.

Two minutes from time, Western Rangers scored in a goalmouth scramble following a right-wing raid.

Josh Adams was United’s man of the match, but Corey Adams was also pleased with the ball-winning ability of central midfielders Venema and Thompson in what he described as a physical game.

Central defenders Kieran Higham and Mal Scammell had the middle sewn up, and fullbacks Marfell (before he moved forward) and Lucian Nickerson continued to develop.

Harris was always dangerous on the left flank but was replaced late in the game, with an eye to the next match, away to Napier City Rovers Seconds.

Paris Waiariki got his first start for United’s Pacific Premiership team, on the right flank, and gave a solid 60 minutes’ worth of endeavour.

Matt Adams, back in Gisborne after a spell working in Manawatu, came on at rightback, Nickerson moved to the left, and Marfell had a run on the right flank.

From the 81st minute, when manager Chris Adams came on for Harris, United fielded four Adams family members — Chris, his sons Corey and Josh, and their cousin (and Chris’s nephew) Matt.

Gisborne Thistle got their first point in Pacific Premiership football this season with a 1-1 draw against Napier Marist in Gisborne on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in Hawke’s Bay, a Josh Adams hat-trick propelled Gisborne United to a 6-2 victory over Hastings Western Rangers. United are joint top of the league with Napier City Rovers Seconds after two games.

Marist are reigning champions but the squad who faced Thistle at Childers Road Reserve were vastly different from that of last year.

“We lost 10 of last season’s squad and today we were without two of our most influential players, (striker) Tai Barham and (defender) Jackson Durrington,” coach Jamie Dunning said.

He was “pleased-ish” with a draw.

“I thought we dominated both halves, although Gisborne were dangerous on the counter-attack.

“Not many teams will come here and get a point.”

He had one 15-year-old — former Campion College and Thistle player Ian Cutler — and a handful of 16-year-olds in his team on Saturday, and told them they would “have to be men” in what he expected to be a physical game.

“They showed me they can do that.”

The Marist players did not have the physique to throw their weight about, but they never took a backward step.

Both sides veered towards the petulant in some of their behaviour. It’s simple, chaps. You’ll enjoy your football more if you play hard but show your opponents respect. Show them disrespect, and you risk anger-driven tackles that can end your season.

Two players were sent off in the closing stages.

Marist centreback Jonty Underhill, his side’s standout defender, was red-carded after he clipped the heels of Hector Araya as the Thistle right-sided attacker burst past him for a clear run on goal in the 84th minute. Nothing came of the resulting free-kick.

Three minutes later, Araya was sent off after a set-to with a Marist player.

In the same incident, referee Mel Knight made use of the sinbin trial in this league by giving Marist striker Harry Mason 10 minutes off for dissent.

Knight started the game running a line but, half an hour in, referee Ben Chisholm pulled a calf muscle in his right leg and called on her to take the whistle.

First-year referee Matt Hastings was in the grandstand and, after fetching his gear, replaced Chisholm on the line 10 minutes into the second half.

Thistle coach Garrett Blair was pleased to get a point from the reigning champions.

“We showed a lot more fight than we did last week,” he said.

“Marist are a very good young side, so to come away with that point bodes well for the season.”

His man of the match was Araya, for the threat he posed on attack.

Blair, too, has had to rebuild his team after many of last year’s Federation League side transferred to United.

One of the replacements, striker Jake Theron, scored five minutes into his debut. Araya played the through-ball that set up the goal.

The first half

In the first half, Marist did most of the attacking, with Thistle content to fall back, absorb the pressure and threaten on the break.

Marist central midfielders Dylan du Rossi and Tom Tidy were at the heart of the visitors’ attacking efforts.

On the flanks, Zack Taylor on the right and Luis Toomey on the left were quick to join frontrunners Jett Hogg and Mason to cause Thistle some anxiety.

Left wingback Cutler is on a sports scholarship to Lindisfarne College. The introduction to Marist coach Dunning came about through last year’s Thistle coach, Matt Hastings, who spent time as Dunning’s assistant.

Cutler doesn’t turn 16 until October, but did not look out of place in senior company.

With fellow youngsters Joel Restieaux and Dan Baxter at centreback and rightback respectively, the experience of central defender Underhill and the assured presence of goalkeeper Wilson McCullough, Marist presented a formidable defensive barrier.

Thistle looked to be short of someone to cause panic in opposing defences. Theron needs someone alongside him, but Davie Ure and Araya seem most effective attacking from deep. Oh, for a young Shaun Auckram, Nic Somerton, Dean Wrigley or Davie Ure, or present-day Stu Cranswick.

Thistle’s sweeper on Saturday, Chris Spurr, could have filled the bill in his day, too. Against Marist, he often had his hands full coming out of the back line to meet players advancing on the defence.

Beside him, central defender Cole Devonport impressed with a wholehearted display on debut.

Liam Ryan was dependable at rightback and even better when he moved into the middle when Spurr made way for Jake Robertson to come on at leftback in the 72nd minute. Daniel Venema switched from leftback to right with no drop-off in his performance.

Goalkeeper Mark Baple made several outstanding blocks and was desperately unlucky with Marist’s equaliser. Toomey’s 62nd-minute free-kick scooted low past the Thistle wall, Baple saw it late and dived left to claw it away from the corner of the goal, only for Taylor to pounce on the rebound.

Central midfielders Olly Tilley and Ander Batarrita, and left flank player Nicky Land had their work cut out handling the lively Marist midfield.

Max Mika came on for Batarrita after 62 minutes, and his fresh legs were called on to keep the Marist youngsters at bay.

Thistle’s next game is away to Eskview.

In Hastings, Gisborne United went ahead after 19 minutes against Western Rangers, with a fine header from Dane Thompson from Josh Adams’s left-wing corner. Thompson rose above everyone, eight metres out, to power the ball high into the net.

Seven minutes later, the Rangers keeper brought down Adams as he went round him, and Kieran Venema buried the spot-kick to make it 2-0.

Rangers pulled a goal back in the 35th minute when a forward volleyed a bouncing through-ball past United keeper Jack Faulkner.

For the next 10 minutes, Rangers piled on the pressure but United scored right on halftime to give themselves breathing space. Left-flank midfielder Josh Harris passed to Josh Adams, who took the ball on the halfway line, ran round the rightback and sidefooted the ball past the keeper to make it 3-1.

A Western Rangers player was sent off in the 65th minute after a clash with Harris, who was shown a yellow card.

That seemed to settle both teams, and in the 72nd minute Thistle went 4-1 up when Harris played the ball inside to Adams, who hit a first-time left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area into the bottom right-hand corner.

Adams brought up his hat-trick a minute later when from a corner the well-performed Faulkner plucked the ball out of the air and threw it to him at halfway. Adams beat one defender for pace then, from 30 metres on the angle, hit a pile-driver into the top right-hand corner.

In the 81st minute, Adams’s elder brother and team player-coach Corey Adams ran on to a ball from right midfielder Malcolm Marfell and sidefooted it into the bottom-left corner from 15 metres to make it 6-1.

Two minutes from time, Western Rangers scored in a goalmouth scramble following a right-wing raid.

Josh Adams was United’s man of the match, but Corey Adams was also pleased with the ball-winning ability of central midfielders Venema and Thompson in what he described as a physical game.

Central defenders Kieran Higham and Mal Scammell had the middle sewn up, and fullbacks Marfell (before he moved forward) and Lucian Nickerson continued to develop.

Harris was always dangerous on the left flank but was replaced late in the game, with an eye to the next match, away to Napier City Rovers Seconds.

Paris Waiariki got his first start for United’s Pacific Premiership team, on the right flank, and gave a solid 60 minutes’ worth of endeavour.

Matt Adams, back in Gisborne after a spell working in Manawatu, came on at rightback, Nickerson moved to the left, and Marfell had a run on the right flank.

From the 81st minute, when manager Chris Adams came on for Harris, United fielded four Adams family members — Chris, his sons Corey and Josh, and their cousin (and Chris’s nephew) Matt.

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