Soccer: PN Marist coach considers Rovers clash derby

By Anendra Singh

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Palmerston North Marist mob their hero goalkeeper Gurkarnur Singh after beating Napier City Rovers in a penalty shootout last year.
Palmerston North Marist mob their hero goalkeeper Gurkarnur Singh after beating Napier City Rovers in a penalty shootout last year.

The term "derby" is often used too loosely in sporting parlance.

But Palmerston North Marist coach Simon Lees reckons his team's Chatham Cup soccer match against Bluewater Napier City Rovers from 2pm tomorrow at Park Island will be just that.

"I actually see it as a derby because we're the only two teams from the Central [Football] region in the Central League," Lees says, referring to the eight-team premier winter league in the region that is Wellington-heavy with six campaigners from the Capital Football region.

Although the Marist side lost their league clash last month they are one up on the Rovers in the national knockout campaign after beating them 4-3 in a penalty shootout in round four in Palmerston North last winter.

To add credence to the derby status, Lees points out they are not only banking on a contingent of Palmy fans at Bluewater Stadium but some Bay support from their sister club.

"I got a call from Napier Marist fans so we'll have some following there, too."

Palmy Marist thrashed Cole Murray Havelock North Wanderers 5-0 here on Queen's Birthday Monday and pipped Stop Out 2-1 at home in their opener.

"We beat Stopout on aggregate to gain back promotion to the Central League last year," he says.

Cashmere United, of Christchurch, who are reigning cup champions, pipped Marist 1-0 in Palmy in the quarter-finals last year.

With a "poor" league run this year, Lees says they are looking forward to tomorrow's game.

"In any cup game, everyone puts everything into it because there's no tomorrow after the final whistle [for the losers]."

He expected the park to be its usual pristine surface.

He doesn't think the week's rainy weather will have much effect after a sunny outlook since yesterday.

Having tweaked their approach from the league outing, Lees says they have learnt from their mistakes.

"We competed in the second half but the Rovers were good defenders so we let a few things happen but we won't let it happen again."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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