Massive go top on the back of a plan

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THISTLE Massive coach John Stirton paid United player-coach Stu Cranswick and midfielder Craig Christophers a genuine compliment at the weekend.

Stirton made special plans to limit their influence on the match between the top two teams in local football’s Eastern League Division 1 at Childers Road Reserve on Saturday.

And while it would be well nigh impossible to shut down their play completely, Thistle did win 2-0.

“We were probably a little defensive, but United are very good on the break,” Stirton said.

“I got Jason Scott and Shannon Dowsing to mark Cranswick, and I told Kane Stirton and Davie Watson they were responsible for Christophers.

“I thought Cranswick and Christophers were the players most likely to make a difference for them. They have others, but you can’t get them all. We had a plan and I thought the guys did really well with it.”

Thistle went ahead midway through the first half when Kane Stirton scored from a penalty conceded when he was brought down in the penalty area.

Nic Somerton gave Thistle breathing space with a goal 20 minutes into the second half. Heavy Equipment Services United goalkeeper Cody Keepa hit the advancing Somerton with a clearing kick, and the Thistle striker got to the loose ball first.

While Cranswick was disappointed his side’s training form did not translate into a better result on the field, Stirton said he never ruled out a United fightback.

“United can come back from two or three three goals down. They can bang in three in five minutes, so at halftime I told our guys to keep it especially tight for the next 10 to 15 minutes.”

Left midfielder Phill Gill was Stirton’s man of the match, for his intelligent play, tracking of opponents, and good passing.

But Stirton said the whole team played well, and keeper Raymond Rickard made some great saves.

“In one passage of play near the end he made two blocks, someone cleared off the line, then Raymond made another block.

“United gave us their usual good game. They peppered our goal for a while there, but we kept them out and it’s made the team really tight.”

Stirton was also particularly pleased with rightback Emerson Araya, sweeper Michael Rogers, leftback Daniel Contreras and right midfielder Jason Burgess.

Thistle Massive now have seven points and United, six.

'United had chances to score, but it wasn't their day'

Cranswick said his side had chances to score but it wasn’t their day . . . and Rickard was outstanding in Thistle’s goal.

United had beaten Thistle Massive 2-1 in the Charity Cup game at the start of the season and, on paper, Massive should have been weaker as they didn’t have some first-team members who had played in that game.

United were trying to play more of a passing game to vary their approach, and it was taking time for the team to adjust, Cranswick said.

But training numbers and attitudes were good, and he was confident that as players became familiar with each other and their system of play, the team would settle into a rhythm.

Last year’s keeper, Timoti Weir, had shoulder and hand injuries that were keeping him out of action, but Keepa had returned to help out, Cranswick said.

Another who had answered the call was Kim Perano, a United veteran who was their best player on Saturday. He was rightback against Massive, but could also do a good job as goalkeeper.

In other Division 1 results, Lytton High School beat Gisborne Boys’ High School 1-0 at Lytton to move into third place, on four points, and QRS Wairoa Athletic beat Wainui Sharks 2-0 in Wairoa.

Shipwreck Bohemians top Division 2, on seven points, after their 3-1 victory over Coates Associates Wainui Demons at Wainui. Thistle Vintage beat Riverina 3-2 at Harry Barker Reserve, but Riverina stay in second place, a point behind the Bohs and one ahead of Vintage. Also at Harry Barker Reserve, GBHS (2) beat Heavy Equipment United (2) 1-0.

In Division 3, Smash Palace Shockers beat Three Rivers Medical Bohemians 3-0 to go to the top of the standings. Heavy Equipment United (3) are second, ahead of the Bohs on goal difference, after their 3-1 win against Campion College. ITM Thistle beat GBHS (3) 5-1.

Lytton High School had the bye.

Heavy Equipment United top the women’s league, on nine points, after their 18-0 victory over Lytton High. Next, both on six, are Gisborne Girls’ High School, 4-1 winners against Top 10 Holiday Park Bohemians, and Gisborne Laundry Services Riverina, 3-0 victors over Campion.

Tatapouri Marist Thistle had the bye.

THISTLE Massive coach John Stirton paid United player-coach Stu Cranswick and midfielder Craig Christophers a genuine compliment at the weekend.

Stirton made special plans to limit their influence on the match between the top two teams in local football’s Eastern League Division 1 at Childers Road Reserve on Saturday.

And while it would be well nigh impossible to shut down their play completely, Thistle did win 2-0.

“We were probably a little defensive, but United are very good on the break,” Stirton said.

“I got Jason Scott and Shannon Dowsing to mark Cranswick, and I told Kane Stirton and Davie Watson they were responsible for Christophers.

“I thought Cranswick and Christophers were the players most likely to make a difference for them. They have others, but you can’t get them all. We had a plan and I thought the guys did really well with it.”

Thistle went ahead midway through the first half when Kane Stirton scored from a penalty conceded when he was brought down in the penalty area.

Nic Somerton gave Thistle breathing space with a goal 20 minutes into the second half. Heavy Equipment Services United goalkeeper Cody Keepa hit the advancing Somerton with a clearing kick, and the Thistle striker got to the loose ball first.

While Cranswick was disappointed his side’s training form did not translate into a better result on the field, Stirton said he never ruled out a United fightback.

“United can come back from two or three three goals down. They can bang in three in five minutes, so at halftime I told our guys to keep it especially tight for the next 10 to 15 minutes.”

Left midfielder Phill Gill was Stirton’s man of the match, for his intelligent play, tracking of opponents, and good passing.

But Stirton said the whole team played well, and keeper Raymond Rickard made some great saves.

“In one passage of play near the end he made two blocks, someone cleared off the line, then Raymond made another block.

“United gave us their usual good game. They peppered our goal for a while there, but we kept them out and it’s made the team really tight.”

Stirton was also particularly pleased with rightback Emerson Araya, sweeper Michael Rogers, leftback Daniel Contreras and right midfielder Jason Burgess.

Thistle Massive now have seven points and United, six.

'United had chances to score, but it wasn't their day'

Cranswick said his side had chances to score but it wasn’t their day . . . and Rickard was outstanding in Thistle’s goal.

United had beaten Thistle Massive 2-1 in the Charity Cup game at the start of the season and, on paper, Massive should have been weaker as they didn’t have some first-team members who had played in that game.

United were trying to play more of a passing game to vary their approach, and it was taking time for the team to adjust, Cranswick said.

But training numbers and attitudes were good, and he was confident that as players became familiar with each other and their system of play, the team would settle into a rhythm.

Last year’s keeper, Timoti Weir, had shoulder and hand injuries that were keeping him out of action, but Keepa had returned to help out, Cranswick said.

Another who had answered the call was Kim Perano, a United veteran who was their best player on Saturday. He was rightback against Massive, but could also do a good job as goalkeeper.

In other Division 1 results, Lytton High School beat Gisborne Boys’ High School 1-0 at Lytton to move into third place, on four points, and QRS Wairoa Athletic beat Wainui Sharks 2-0 in Wairoa.

Shipwreck Bohemians top Division 2, on seven points, after their 3-1 victory over Coates Associates Wainui Demons at Wainui. Thistle Vintage beat Riverina 3-2 at Harry Barker Reserve, but Riverina stay in second place, a point behind the Bohs and one ahead of Vintage. Also at Harry Barker Reserve, GBHS (2) beat Heavy Equipment United (2) 1-0.

In Division 3, Smash Palace Shockers beat Three Rivers Medical Bohemians 3-0 to go to the top of the standings. Heavy Equipment United (3) are second, ahead of the Bohs on goal difference, after their 3-1 win against Campion College. ITM Thistle beat GBHS (3) 5-1.

Lytton High School had the bye.

Heavy Equipment United top the women’s league, on nine points, after their 18-0 victory over Lytton High. Next, both on six, are Gisborne Girls’ High School, 4-1 winners against Top 10 Holiday Park Bohemians, and Gisborne Laundry Services Riverina, 3-0 victors over Campion.

Tatapouri Marist Thistle had the bye.

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