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United, Thistle cruise through

Gisborne United and Thistle Massive made light work of first-round opponents in Central Federation Cup football on Saturday.

Carpet Court Thistle Massive beat Pacific Premiership side Napier City Rovers Reserves 3-1 at Childers Road Reserve, while Heavy Equipment Services United defeated Taranaki side Eltham 4-1 at Palmerston North.

Thistle’s first goal came from a Max Logan corner. Holding midfielder Matt Smith headed the ball on to the crossbar and Stefan Faber was on hand to bury the rebound.

Faber added his second 10 minutes later when he headed the ball home from a well-placed Logan corner, and Massive led 2-0 at halftime.

Thistle went into cruise control in the second half, adding a third in the 69th minute when Jake Theron placed a delicate chip over Reuben Hilton in the Rovers goal.

One minute later an unlucky deflection off Thistle centreback Liam Ryan gave City Rovers a goal and signalled the start of 10 minutes of continuous pressure from the Napier side. But they could not score again.

Thistle coach John Stirton was pleased with his side and said they had stuck to the game plan.

“When we played ball to feet, everything fell into place,” he said. “I knew their squad would be young, quick and full of energy, so our game plan was to counteract that.”

For the man-of-the-match award, Stirton could not separate Craig Stirton, George Andrew and Liam Ryan. All three had exceptional matches.

United left Gisborne early on Saturday on a road trip to Palmerston North for the game against Eltham, a side who play in the Taranaki Premiership.

United dominated the game. They led 2-0 at halftime, thanks to goals from player-coach Corey Adams, who neatly finished a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and midfield boss Dane Thompson, who scored from a Josh Adams corner.

Goalscoring machine Josh Adams scored both United second-half goals, going round the goalkeeper each time.

Five minutes from time, Eltham scored from a free-kick to make the final score 4-1.

The second round will be played on Monday, June 3.

TURNING DEFENCE INTO ATTACK: Gisborne Thistle defender Stefan Faber goes past a Napier City Rovers Reserves player in a Central Federation Cup game at Childers Road Reserve on Saturday. Faber scored twice in a 3-1 win. Picture by Paul Rickard