MARK PASTON doesn’t have fond memories of Hindmarsh Stadium but he’s fired up by the prospect of taking on runaway Hyundai A-League leaders Adelaide United there on Friday.
MARK PASTON doesn-t have fond memories of Hindmarsh Stadium but he-s fired up by the prospect of taking on runaway Hyundai A-League leaders Adelaide United there on Friday.
In his last appearance at Hindmarsh Stadium – back in 2008 – the Phoenix and New Zealand international keeper suffered badly bruised ribs and was subbed at halftime, watching on as his team was routed 6-1 by the rampant Reds.
Forcing his way back into the Phoenix starting XI on the back of superb performances for New Zealand in home internationals against Honduras and Paraguay, Paston went the distance in last Sunday-s 2-2 draw with Melbourne Heart at Westpac Stadium.
“I was disappointed to concede a couple but they weren-t the easiest (goals) to keep out, to be fair. I had a couple of games with the All Whites before that and I feel like I-ve been playing pretty well and that my form-s good at the moment.”
Paston will need to be on top of his game on Friday if the Phoenix are to shake their Hindmarsh hoodoo and topple unbeaten Adelaide.
“I-d only just come back from injury the last time I played there in 2008 and I ended up taking a knock and coming off at halftime. We were poor that day, so I don-t have the best memories of the place.
“But this time around it-s a good opportunity for us. They-re the league leaders, they-re unbeaten, and what better place to go? That-s what you play the game for, these sorts of challenges.”
Adelaide have been a class above their rivals so far this season and Paston puts that down to their talented squad and attacking mentality.
“And they-re even harder at home, they seem to grow an extra leg. They-ve got a solid team all over the park. They-ve got a good keeper in Eugene Galekovic at the back and there are a number of guys up front that can put the ball in the back of the net.
“We-ll need to be at our best if we-re to get a result but it-s a good challenge for us and we-ll have to be up for it.”
The Phoenix have been strong at their Westpac Stadium fortress, securing the Australasian football record for the longest unbeaten run at the same venue – 24 games – with Sunday-s draw against Heart.
However, their home form has not been matched by their away record, the Phoenix securing just one competition point in five matches on the road.
Paston said it was only a matter of time before the Phoenix put that figure right.
“We-ve got good players and it-s just a matter of putting a solid 90 minutes together. We haven-t really played for the full 90 and we-ve lost concentration at times. In a place like Adelaide if that happens you-re going to concede.
“If we stamp the mistakes out and get a solid foundation, the results will come whether we-re at home or away.”