The weather played havoc with this weekend’s football fixtures, forcing the cancellation of the women’s knock out cup semi finals as well as Westland United men’s trip north to Westport. Grey United and Marist, however, decided to brave the conditions at Arthur Fong.
Grey United got off to the perfect start, getting their first goal in less than a minute. Daniel Horridge got in behind the Marist defence and latched on to a through ball before slotting past Ethan Kelleher in the Marist goal. Kelleher was on hand shortly after to make a great save with his feet after James McLean found some space to get a shot away in the box. Harman Sidhu put another Grey United effort just wide of the post after getting on the end of a cross. Caleb Anderson finally made it two after a smart turn and finish, despite the close marking of the Marist defence. Marist were far from outplayed, but their chances were limited in the first half.
That would change almost immediately in the second half, as within two minutes Marist were on the attack and Ben Read fired into the net to make it 2-1 and bring them right back into the game.
Horridge was again on hand to bring Grey United’s lead back to two after he got on the end of a ball over the top before chipping over Kelleher, to score his fifth of the season. Marist started to find their rhythm however and Luuk Van Wagtendonk and Safim ‘Salah’ Shah started to find more time on the ball in the Marist midfield. Marist’s second goal came after a handball in the box gifted them a penalty. Ethan Kelleher showed supreme confidence in his penalty taking abilities, coming out of goal to the other end of the field to calmly slot into the bottom left corner. Gavin Collins very nearly equalised after a left foot drive from the edge of the box forced a fingertip save from Franko Horridge in the Grey United goal. Horridge had to make a few more saves and was off his line to close down a number of attacks. Inevitably, Marist found their equaliser after a scuffed clearance fell to Van Wagtendonk in the six yard box who had an easy finish.
Both sides probably deserved more than a draw from the game.
A point for each side will likely make little impact on the league table come the end of the season, but both sides can feel confident going into the knock out cup semi finals this weekend. Marist face the league leaders Paroa in the 12.30 pm kick off. Paroa have had the better of both their games so far this season, but Marist have every chance. Grey United and Westland United kick off at 2.30pm. These sides have served up two nine-goal thrillers in their two games so far this season, so really anything could happen in this game.