Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chasing pack can gain ground on Northern Rangers

Photo: Devonport City welcome back Paul Scicluna against Somerset


Windsor Park, 2.30pm, Saturday, 2 May 2009

Fourth-placed Ulverstone must be confident of beating seventh-ranked Riverside Olympic away from home after knocking off Prospect Knights last weekend.

Coach Kim Rigby will make only one change to last week’s side, bringing in Callum Foote, who was missing last week, in place of Will Cox-Haines, who is unavailable.

“Will is a 15- or 16-year-old and has played all our seniors games this year after spending last year in the under 18s,” said Rigby. “He has performed very well and will be missed.

“We gave a senior debut to another 16-year-old, Michael Groom, last week and he will retain his starting position.

“Adrian Beard, the captain, is still unavailable as he is on the mainland doing a 5-day event involving running, cycling, canoeing and so on.

“Brian Tabrett, our vice-captain, returned last week for his first full game this year and is not too far off full fitness.

“Riverside has had the wood on us over the last few seasons and has consistently beaten us by the odd goal, so we hope to reverse this trend on Saturday.

“A win will keep us up with the leader, which is crucial for us as we have the bye next round.

“Of note is the fact that last week our oldest player was John Cornell at 28 and, after substituting him late in the game, our eldest was 22.

“We finished the game with an age range of 15 to 22, a pleasing scenario for the club’s future.”

Riverside Olympic will have Ryan McCarragher back, but captain Robbie Hughes is still out because of a hamstring injury.

McCarragher will replace Riverside’s coach, Troy Scott, who has decided to watch the game from the sidelines.

“We’ve trained really well and we’ve nearly got our strongest squad, apart from Robbie, of course, available,” said Scott.

“We should come away with the points.”

Prediction: Riverside Olympic


Harley Parade, 2.30pm, Saturday, 2 May 2009

Fifth-placed Prospect Knights have a lot to prove in this match and they must be pleased that they are at home against sixth-ranked Burnie United.

The Knights suffered a humiliating loss last weekend to Ulverstone and went into free-fall on the ladder.

Burnie did not have a happy weekend either, succumbing 5-1 to Devonport City.

The television news and the FFT website gave the score-line as 5-1 in Burnie’s favour, which must have delighted the Burnie fans who weren’t at the game.

But, they soon realised the truth and their dreams were shattered.

Chris McKenna had been back to his old ways and hammered home a hat-trick.

Burnie have girded their loins, however, and are ready for this battle.

“Prospect were looking good up until probably last week, when they lost 1-0 to Ulverstone,” said Burnie United coach, Ray Parke.

“I believe now that they’re beatable because they and Northern Rangers looked the teams to beat this year.

“With that result, I think it’s given our boys a wee bit of confidence going up there that maybe they can do something.

“But, I do have my striker Aston Johnson out. He’s got a broken toe, so he’s got a plaster caste up to his knee and is definitely out.

“Other than that, we’ve got Adam Gillett back, who’s been out for a couple of weeks.

“Other than Johnson out and Gillett in, we’re going with basically the same team as last week.”

Prediction: Prospect Knights


Birch Avenue, 2.30pm, Saturday, 2 May 2009

This bottom-of-the-table clash is, in effect, a 6-pointer for both sides as a loss could spell doom for this season.

The home side’s defence is shipping goals at an alarming rate and last weekend’s 10-0 drubbing at the feet of Somerset can hardly have improved the psychological well being of the players.

But, United coach Brian Dracup is ever the optimist and fancies his side’s chances against second-last City.

“After the disaster of last week, there have been a few changes,” said Dracup.

“We’ve changed a few of the personnel in there.

“Last week’s score was very embarrassing and, hopefully, we’ll get a big turnaround this week.

“It wasn’t a total disaster, but it didn’t go down well at all. It was not well received and we’ve certainly worked on things this week and worked very hard.

“As I said, there are a number of changes. There are certainly three in the starting eleven and a couple on the bench.

“I think we can win against City. They’re only just ahead of us and I think, fingers crossed, we should have the personnel this week to do it and people to give us a little bit more of what we desire, a little more input from them.

“There were virtually some passengers there last week and, certainly, we can’t afford that.

“We need everyone to give one hundred per cent.”

Launceston City have scored slightly more goals and conceded many fewer than United and, even though they are away from home, they should just sneak a win.

Prediction: Launceston City


Valley Road, 2.30pm, Saturday, 2 May 2009

This game is a fight for second place as both sides have 9 points and are 4 points adrift of leaders Northern Rangers, who have the bye.

A win would put the victor only a point behind Rangers and the pressure would be on the league-leaders.

Somerset will have been buoyed by last weekend’s 10-0 demolition of Launceston United, but Devonport City are a different kettle of fish.

Devonport beat Burnie United 5-1 last weekend and so their confidence will also be sky high.

Devonport may field the same side that played against Burnie, but Paul Scicluna is back after being unavailable last weekend and Scott Wilson impressed in the reserves in his first game of the season and may be included in the squad.

“It’s always a pretty intense game when we play Somerset and, while they’ve lost a few good players from previous years, they’ve picked up some more than handy replacements, so this year should be no different,” said Devonport’s hat-trick hero of last week, Chris McKenna.

“We drew with them in the first round of the Summer Cup this year and they got over us in the final, so we’re keen to get one back on them this weekend and continue our climb up the ladder.

“We’ve been able to find the net 16 times in the last three games, so, hopefully, we can continue along those lines in this weekend’s game.”

Prediction: Devonport City

No comments: