Soccer: All Whites make up waits on Reid, Paston

By Terry Maddaford

Fitness tests for Reid (right) along with Paston may determine the All Whites Team make-up for tonight's match against Tahiti in Christchurch. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Fitness tests for Reid (right) along with Paston may determine the All Whites Team make-up for tonight's match against Tahiti in Christchurch. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Fitness tests on goalkeeper Mark Paston and defender Winston Reid will go a long way to deciding the make-up of the All Whites team for tonight's return match with Tahiti in Christchurch.

Both players missed the round three clash in Papeete on Saturday night with Paston a late withdrawal with an infected foot and Reid sidelined with a tight right hamstring.

In Reid's absence coach Ricki Herbert handed Ben Sigmund and Tommy Smith starting spots. Both did well in the 2-0 win over the Toa Aito as did Glen Moss who took the goalkeeper's gloves.

With Nelsen already declared fit to play and certain to run out at AMI Stadium for his 49th international and his first in front of his home crowd, Herbert must settle on his line-up with four worthy central defenders to select from.

He seems likely to stay with his four-man defence given what fullbacks Tony Lochhead and Leo Bertos showed in the away leg.

He will also have to replace midfielder Tim Payne who will sit out tonight's game after being shown a second yellow card in Papeete.

Kosta Barbarouses, who replaced Payne in that match, may well be handed a start tonight. Herbert said he was mindful of the yellow card situation with another seven of his players having already been carded.

Given the very tight schedule involving the tiring trip back from Tahiti, neither team had a full-on training session yesterday settling for just a captain's run at the match venue late in the day.

With around 7500 tickets already allocated, organisers are looking for around 11,000-12,000 for the match.

Visiting coach Eddy Etaeta is under no illusions as he prepares his team fully aware they have yet to pick up a point or score a goal in three games thus far.


Oceania World Cup qualifiers

Round four

New Zealand v Tahiti
AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Today 7.35pm (live SS3)
Referee: Gerald Oiaka (Solomon Islands)

New Caledonia v Solomon Islands
Stade Numa Daly, Noumea
Today 9.30pm (NZ time)
Referee: Kader Zitouni (Tahiti)

- NZ Herald

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