Wairarapa slip off top spot


Go­ing in at half­time 3-1 down to Mi­ra­mar Rangers on their home ground is some­thing quite a few teams would have ex­pe­ri­enced over the years.

Not many would have pro­duced sec­ond half fight­back that snatched a share of the points and again showed that Wairarapa United this sea­son are made of sterner stuff than most.

Wairarapa’s Paul Ifill said they were sur­prised at how good Mi­ra­mar were in the first half of Satur­day’s league game and had an open team dis­cus­sion at half­time which led to a few ad­just­ments that made a big dif­fer­ence.

‘‘Cory Chet­tle­burgh had been on the bench and saw that we had been giv­ing their wing backs a bit too much room which had meant we were be­ing put un­der pres­sure in the wide ar­eas.

‘‘We man­aged to get a han­dle on that and also brought on Cory and new sign­ing Er­mal Ha­j­dari off the bench early in the sec­ond half which re­ally helped us.

‘‘I scored the equaliser via a de­flec­tion and re­al­is­ti­cally if we had had an­other ten min­utes we would have won, their keeper had a blinder and kept them in the game.’’

On Mon­day Wairarapa played Is­land Bay United in the Chatham Cup at Wake­field Park.

Is­land Bay have been a sur­prise pack­age in the cup over the years beat­ing four time win­ners Mi­ra­mar to make the quar­ter fi­nals as re­cently as 2014.

Ifill said his team looked tired dur­ing the warm-up and went down a goal early be­fore Daniel Al­lan was able to get an equaliser that boosted them be­fore the break.

‘‘We went in level at 1-1 at half­time and all knew that we had not been play­ing that well. We spoke and knew that if we upped the tempo a bit in the sec­ond half we would have enough to beat them.

‘‘The only player who re­ally had a good game on Mon­day was young Cal­lan El­liot. He has been con­sis­tently per­form­ing and jug­gles his com­mit­ments well con­sid­er­ing he is still at school.

‘‘We were happy with the week­end in the end as we got back from 3-1 down at Mi­ra­mar and should have won and made it through to the next round of the cup.’’

West­ern Sub­urbs beat Welling­ton Olympic 2-1 with an in­jury time penalty on Satur­day to edge one point ahead of Wairarapa in the league.

Cal­lan El­liot has been in good form re­cently and kept up mo­men­tum on the week­end gone.

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