Loss doesn’t dampen United ti­tle hopes

Wairarapa News - - SPORT - ILLYA MCLELLAN

A strong first half per­for­mance by Wairarapa United away to Western Sub­urbs gave no in­di­ca­tion of the sec­ond half maul­ing they took in los­ing 5-1 at En­deav­our Park on Sun­day.

United’s Paul Ifill said that the side felt pos­i­tive at the break that they could go on and take the points against a very good Western Sub­urbs out­fit with the scores tied up at one apiece.

The game had been com­pet­i­tive and evenly matched but swung in the 68th minute on a con­tentious penalty de­ci­sion that the Wairarapa play­ers thought was harshly awarded.

‘‘Daniel Allen tack­led their player in the area and to us it looked as if he had got­ten the ball be­cause the ball flew off the pitch in a way it does from a tackle. It threw us a bit that the ref gave the penalty.

‘‘In other matches we have faced set­backs well and got on with things but we seemed to lose our heads a bit and it cost us. They are a tal­ented and well coached side that train 4 or 5 days a week. Their only loss this year was to us in the first round.

‘‘We spoke af­ter the game and know we are still in the ti­tle race. We have to go away to play Napier in the cup this week­end and then next week­end it’s back to the league at home to Welling­ton United.’’

The Western Sub­urbs squad is this sea­son made up en­tirely of play­ers from Porirua’s Ole Academy.

Ole Academy chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Sip­pola said the av­er­age age of the team is 18 and most in the side this year have been with the academy for sev­eral years.

Sip­pola said the academy mainly takes young play­ers from within a 50 kilo­me­tre ra­dius and de­vel­ops them for top level foot­ball.

Most are lo­cal but some do come from out of the area, like young Jonty Searle who trav­els from Wairarapa, he said.

‘‘We have looked for­ward to the team tak­ing on Wairarapa this sea­son be­cause they present the side with some good foot­balling prob­lems to try to solve. They have guys like Paul Ifill and other very good play­ers so it is a real chal­lenge.

‘‘We are re­ally happy that our teams are play­ing good and fair foot­ball while win­ning as well. Our Cen­tral league side and our Cap­i­tal premier side have both got the best dis­ci­plinary records.’’

Western Sub­urbs player Eli­jah Just con­tin­ued his im­pres­sive form scor­ing a mem­o­rable goal in the first half.

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