Penal­ties deny Hutt in semi­fi­nal


‘‘I think we went pretty well and we only con­ceded the one goal in four games.’’

Lower Hutt City had to bow out of the re­gional un­der-19 foot­ball tour­na­ment at the semi­fi­nal stage af­ter go­ing down in an epic penalty shoot-out to Mi­ra­mar Rangers, the even­tual win­ners.

The heart-break­ing 8-7 loss at the an­nual Up­per Hutt City Bob Bam­ford Me­mo­rial tour­na­ment at Maid­stone Park fol­lowed the side com­fort­ably play­ing their way to the fi­nal four.

Lower Hutt won three games be­fore their en­forced exit in a per­for­mance which left their coach Steve Cole­man sat­is­fied with his young charges ahead of the Lotto Pre­mier Un­der-19 tour­na­ment in Napier over Labour Week­end.

‘‘I think we went pretty well and we only con­ceded the one goal in four games.’’

Lower Hutt beat North Welling­ton 3-1 and val­ley ri­vals Stop Out 3-0 in pool play and Is­land Bay 4-0 in a quar­ter fi­nal be­fore com­ing un­stuck against Mi­ra­mar in a game which, at the end of nor­mal time, was a 0-0 dead­lock.

‘‘In that game we could have taken some chances early on and re­ally with penal­ties it’s a lot­tery from there.

‘‘So we’re dis­ap­pointed to not have made the fi­nal but we are very happy with where we are track­ing,’’ Cole­man said.

Ryan Kelly, the side’s striker, was a stand-out per­former, im­pres­sive enough to pick up Player of the Tour­na­ment.

‘‘That was well de­served. It’s not easy to play as a front man on your own,’’ Cole­man said.

The Lower Hutt youth squad will head to Napier look­ing to both back up and im­prove on their 2016 ef­fort where they were quar­ter­fi­nal­ists – the only side out­side Auck­land to make the fi­nal eight.

There is plenty of tal­ent in a side which, in Napier, will fea­ture four New Zealand Sec­ondary School play­ers.

Along­side Kelly in that team are his Hutt Val­ley High School team­mate Caleb Em­mins, Matt Hick­ling (Tawa Col­lege) and a guest Wairarapa player in Tom Wag­ner from Rathkeale Col­lege.


Lower Hutt City’s Ryan Kelly, right, on the at­tack against North Welling­ton in the re­gional un­der-19 tour­na­ment held at Up­per Hutt.

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