City rebound in Kelly Cup
Upper Hutt City have bounced back from a heavy loss to Eastern Suburbs in last month’s National Knockout Cup semifinal to claim the Kelly Cup for the second consecutive year.
The 3-1 win over Wellington United on Saturday capped off a successful season for the City women’s team who also took out this year’s W-League football title and only lost two matches all season.
City W-League coach Wendi Henderson said her players had well and truly recovered from their defeat on August 27.
‘‘Last week’s match was big and the girls were a bit disappointed [not to have won]. I could just tell they girls were up for it [this week].
‘‘We were determined to finish the season on a high and defend our title. It’s a really nice way to finish off the season.’’
It is City’s second Kelly Cup win, Wellington’s regional women’s knockout competition, in as many seasons. Last year’s victory was the club’s first Kelly Cup title since 1975.
Earlier City had met Eastern Suburbs in Auckland for a National Knockout Cup semifinal match.
Though they lost the match 5-0 Henderson said they had played some good football and the experience had been positive for her players.
It was always going to be a tough ask to fly to Auckland and play a match on the same day, she said.
After a scoreless first half, a brief lapse from the 63rd minute in which they conceded three goals in 10 minutes, proved City’s undoing.
With the game wrapped up, Eastern Suburbs added two late goals.
Despite being ‘‘gutted’’ by the loss, Henderson said it had been a good learning experience for her team.
‘‘A lot of elite stuff is centred around Auckland and it was an opportunity to play some good players and see how we stack up.’’
‘‘It was fantastic for a little club like us to get to the semis of the Knockout Cup.’’