NZ Knights looking to avoid wooden spoon

January 8, 2007

Buoyed by back to back wins, the New Zealand Knights are aiming to finish their A-League campaign with two victories to give themselves a chance to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Knights are hoping to secure wins against the Mariners, whom they meet in Gosford on Thursday, and then the Perth Glory in their last match of the season.

But that may still be not enough as they need the second-from-bottom Glory to take no better than a draw against Newcastle this weekend to leave the Knights masters of their own destiny.

If they finish level on points with Glory, the West Australians will avoid last place by virtue of their massively superior goal difference.

Knights goalkeeper Mark Paston, one of four New Zealanders on the Knights roster, said they were determined to end what has been a disappointing season with two wins.

"That's a big goal. If we did do that it would be a great finish to the season. I think the last quarter (of the season) we've played very well and had some good results," he said.

"This game's (against the Mariners) going to be tough again because they're chasing a playoff spot but there's no reason why we can't go and win that and then it's in our own hands really, at home to Perth."

Paston had a great night against Sydney FC on the weekend, keeping a clean sheet despite Sydney's wealth of possession in the 1-0 victory.

"Some good saves. That's my job really - to keep the team in it when I'm required.

"Other boys dug in well and helped me out when it hit the post here and there."

Paston, who had stints in England with Bradford and Walsall and in Scotland with St Johnstone, said the standard of soccer in the A-League was comparable to the Championship in Britain - the first tier down from the English Premiership.

"It's a good standard here - maybe Championship level. It's a different style of play, probably not as direct. It's probably technically down a lot more in play, which is quite nice. There's some good players around."