Regardless of what happens at South Africa 2010, the name Mark Paston will forever be intertwined with New Zealand’s FIFA World Cup™ history, thanks to his heroics against Bahrain in the play-off last November. Early in the second-half in front of a record domestic crowd in Wellington, Paston dived low to his right to save Sayed Mohamed Adnan’s penalty ensuring the All Whites edged past Bahrain who would have otherwise advanced on away goals.
A well-regarded shot-stopper Paston has long been considered New Zealand's best goalkeeper by many observers. However despite debuting for the national team 13 years ago as a 20-year-old, opportunities have been limited due to injury and unavailability.
In recent years Paston has interchanged the No1 shirt with Glen Moss who has constantly challenged for a starting berth. Paston though played in all of New Zealand's 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and six of their eight qualifiers in the current campaign.
The 33-year-old though was forced to watch from the bench during the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 with long-term All Whites goalkeeping rival Glen Moss preferred by Herbert. With Moss suspended for the first two matches at South Africa 2010, Paston seems certain to be unchallenged for a place in the starting line-up.
Though extremely athletic injury has curtailed Paston's domestic career, most notably during the several seasons he spent in England with Bradford City and Walsall.
Paston is another that now seems happily entrenched with Wellington Phoenix in the Australian A-League with Ricki Hebert his coach for both club and country. Paston though fractured his tibia just four weeks after his heroics in Wellington, missing the remainder of the A-League season, and with it valuable game time leading into South Africa 2010.