Just one point away from redemption
The Kapiti Coast United men’s first XI return home this weekend after a heavy defeat, needing a draw to seal the capital 1 title.
KCU’s dream of an unbeaten season disappeared in unlikely fashion, thrashed 6-1 by secondplaced Miramar Rangers in Wellington last weekend.
Despite the setback, they require only a point from their final two games to take the title - they sit six points clear of Rangers and Victoria University.
They face fifth-placed Wainuiomata at Weka Park this weekend, and eighth-place Stop Out at Hutt Park the following weekend.
A draw or win in either game would ensure promotion back to the capital premier grade they were relegated from last season, when they finished 11 points adrift in last place.
KCU player-coach Magno Vieira said he was excited to play at a higher level again, and wanted to consolidate his team’s position in capital premier.
‘‘We’ve got great young players in the area, and it would be good for them to test themselves against better players in Wellington.
‘‘It’ll be good to have the backing of local businesses ... there are a lot of big-budget teams in Wellington. We’ve got a lot of good players, and we want to keep them in the area instead of losing them to Wellington clubs.’’
Rangers put out a strong side, with several players dropping from the higher divisions as they chase promotion themselves.
‘‘They had a very good team out and we didn’t perform to the best of our ability,’’ Vieira said.
‘‘We’ve had such a good season - we could afford a one-off.’’
Vieira said Wainuiomata would be motivated, despite being well out of title contention. They sit three points behind Tawa in fourth, in their first season after promotion from capital 2.
Vieira said defending set pieces would be crucial, as Wainuiomata’s delivery is a strength.
The teams drew 1-1 in the return fixture - they traded goals either side of half-time, but neither could find a winner in an open second half.
KCU captain Barry Lewis returns to the starting XI for this week’s game, after missing the Rangers loss through suspension.
The game kicks off at 2:30pm on Saturday.
KCU players, in blue, celebrate after a win over Stop Out at Weka Park earlier this season.