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