Turn­around com­plete for United

The Horowhenua Mail - - SPORT - ADAM POULOPOULOS

‘‘The boys were buzzing. Every­body was buzzing. It was a great day.’’

Rau­mati was a sea of blue and yel­low over the week­end, as the Kapiti Coast United men’s side sealed pro­mo­tion af­ter seven months’ hard work.

They beat Wainuiomata 3-1 in front of a bumper crowd at Weka Park on Satur­day, win­ning pro­mo­tion to next sea­son’s Cap­i­tal Pre­mier Grade with one game to go.

The team tran­si­tioned seam­lessly to cel­e­bra­tions directly af­ter player-coach Magno Vieira’s strike with the last kick of the game sealed the win, and the Cap­i­tal 1 ti­tle.

‘‘The boys were buzzing. Every­body was buzzing. It was a great day,’’ Vieira said.

‘‘We par­tied all night re­ally ... it was nice to see peo­ple who haven’t been back at the club for a long time.’’

Last sea­son saw the team rel­e­gated to Cap­i­tal 1, af­ter they fin­ished the pre­mier grade 11 points adrift in last place.

Gal­vanised by the re­sult, the team started pre-sea­son early, in Jan­uary, and Vieira used it to mo­ti­vate his play­ers on Satur­day.

‘‘We started seven months ago, pre­par­ing for to­day, and I think that was the day we needed to put on a good per­for­mance for the sup­port­ers who came. ‘‘We did that in style.’’ KCU rarely looked like los­ing, keep­ing Wainuiomata pinned in their half. Keeper Yan­nic En­gelke barely had a save to make.

A Rob­bie Bax­ter goal two min­utes af­ter kick off eased KCU nerves, be­fore Fraser Lee’s own goal gave Wainuiomata par­ity.

‘‘When we scored the own goal we were a bit nervy for 10 min­utes, but af­ter that the boys com­posed them­selves and got into it,’’ Vieira said.

‘‘We con­trolled the game re­ally well.’’

Left winger Jay­den Strat­ford gave KCU a 2-1 half-time lead, and Vieira sealed a dom­i­nant per­for­mance with the third.

‘‘It was one of our best per­for­mances of the year,’’ he said.

‘‘The pre­vi­ous four weeks we hadn’t been play­ing very well. We hadn’t scored many goals or cre­ated many chances.

‘‘We worked a lot on it dur­ing the week and it worked.’’

Vieira now joins Paul Jones in pre­par­ing the club’s un­der-19s for the North Is­land un­der-19 tour­na­ment in Napier over Labour Week­end.

He will hope to find more play­ers like Strat­ford and mid­fielder Peter Moger, who stepped into key first-team roles from last year’s un­der-19s.

It’s easy to for­get the first team still has a game to go - this week­end’s trip to eighth-placed Stop Out.

Vieira said he would be mak­ing changes, giv­ing some of his younger play­ers a game.

The game is at Hutt Park on Satur­day, with kick off at 2:30pm.

PHOTO: ALAN GREGG

The Kapiti Coast United play­ers cel­e­brate their pro­mo­tion, and the Cap­i­tal 1 ti­tle. Player-coach Magno Vieira

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