Just one point away from re­demp­tion

Kapiti Observer - - CLASSIFIED - ADAM POULOPOULOS

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.

PHOTO: ALAN GREGG

KCU play­ers, in blue, cel­e­brate af­ter a win over Stop Out at Weka Park ear­lier this sea­son.

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