Loss doesn’t dampen United title hopes
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.