Loss gave team a reality check

By ANENDRA SINGH sports editor

1 comment

HB Utd v Waitakere Utd

Premiership soccer

You somehow get the impression Waitakere coach Paul Marshall isn't averse to passive engineering, either.

The defeat to Canterbury United last Sunday has burst Waitakere United's bubble but Marshall will tell you it is a godsend.

"If anything, it's a timely reminder to the players that you can't take anything for granted," the Waitakere coach says before tomorrow's 2pm kick-off against Kinetic Electrical Hawke's Bay United in the first leg of the home-and-away semifinals at Bluewater Stadium, Napier.

He says in last Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Dragons, the minor ASB Premiership champions had rested a number of players.

"We couldn't risk them because they had three yellow cards," says Marshall, mindful the play-offs allow for a clean sheet as if it's a new competition within a competition.

Having rested five of them against Bay United at Park Island two rounds ago, Marshall makes no bones about fielding his strongest line-up for several weeks.

Players bracketed as injured on the premiership website - bar Dylan Stansfield (shin) - are all available.

"We're still deliberating over a starting line-up because we have a pretty strong squad."

Marshall expects a different game from the hosts, too, with some tactical changes as well.

"Like any semifinals, it's like playing knockout cup football so we're looking forward to coming to the Bay again."

The visitors relish visiting Park Island every summer.

Who can blame them, considering they ended Bay United's unbeaten eight-match streak on on February 18.

Whether that enjoyment continues depends entirely on what Bay United captain Bill Robertson and his men will bring to the park.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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