United and Thistle pull away from the chasers
Both Gisborne teams in football’s Pacific Premiership pulled away from the Hawke’s Bay chasing group after Saturday’s round of games.
Gisborne Vehicle Testing Thistle are top of the table with 18 points after their 3-0 default win over Hastings Hibernian, who have pulled out of the competition.
Heavy Equipment Services Gisborne United remained in second place with a 4-2 win against Taradale at Harry Barker Reserve on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the three sides below Thistle and United — Havelock North Wanderers Reserves, Taradale and Maycenvale — were all beaten.
A near-full grandstand of vocal supporters didn’t have to wait long to begin celebrations.
After two minutes, midfield general Dane Thompson received the ball about 35 metres out, took it five metres forward and hit a thunderbolt into the bottom right corner of the goal.
United were dominant in midfield, with Thompson, captain Kieran Venema and player-coach Corey Adams all bossing possession. Taradale just couldn’t get the ball.
It was inevitable that United would score again. In the 16th and 17th minutes balls played in behind the Taradale defence enabled Josh Adams to put United 3-0 up. Corey Adams was instrumental in setting up play for his younger brother to go round the Taradale keeper and slot the ball home.
Taradale finally gained some possession in the latter part of the first half. They were rewarded when they beat United’s offside trap and Jarred Coutts planted the ball into the bottom right corner of the United net.
Halftime came with United 3-1 ahead.
Two minutes into the second half, speedy winger Josh Harris curled a ball into the bottom right corner of the Taradale goal and brought a spectacular save from Taradale keeper Graham Healey.
On 50 minutes, referee Gordon Harris awarded a penalty after a challenge by a United player, Dan Ball converted the spot kick and it was 3-2.
Tempers began to flare through the middle of the second half and Josh Harris was shown a yellow card and given a 10-minute spell in the sin-bin — a measure introduced for this league last year.
Some superb saves from Healey in the Taradale goal kept United out but, with seven minutes to play, United were awarded a free-kick outside the box.
Josh Adams smashed a low drive and Healey’s parry fell to Malcolm Marfell, who belted the ball into the back of the net.
United keeper Jack Faulkner pulled off the save of the match just before the final whistle to deny striker Shae Bauerfeind, who was one on one with the keeper.
The 4-2 win meant United retained the Challenge Cup.
Coach Adams was proud of his side.
“Every player today showed a lot of heart,” he said.
Adams gave the man-of-the-match award to defender Malachi Scammell, who was part of a back four who all stood up.
“They tried to disrupt our game plan but we made the correct adjustments to come away with the three points,” Adams said.
Thistle have another weekend off, with another round of the Federation Cup being played. The club’s second team, Carpet Court Thistle Massive, will play Eskview United, while Gisborne United will face Feilding United. Both matches will be played at 2pm in Napier.