Callan Elliot (left) could have busy schedule on Saturday. PHOTO/FILE
By Gary Caffell
Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley is contemplating changes to his starting line-up to take on Lower Hutt away in a Central League men’s football fixture on Saturday afternoon.
Keinzley was unhappy with his side’s defensive effort in their 5-4 defeat by Wellington United last weekend which dropped them from first to third on the points table.
This could open the way for fullback Andrew Coad who made a good impression in his first full training run with Wairarapa United on Tuesday night since returning from overseas.
Coad, who is a former member of the Lower Hutt club and played for them when they were the beaten finalists in the 2012 Chatham Cup, could be joined by last season’s regular fullback Taylor Hall-Jones, who has recovered from injury hassles.
“We do have options and it’s now a matter of deciding whether to make changes or to give those who struggled last weekend the chance to redeem themselves,” Keinzley said.
“There’s still a bit of thinking to do in that respect.”
What frustrated Keinzley most about his team’s below-par defence last weekend was that the errors made were basic in nature.
For instance, they fell into the trap of rushing into tackles without ensuring there was enough support around them to slow the momentum of the attack when passes were made, thereby allowing Wellington United the space and time to get in behind and wreak havoc.
“We gave up five goals and probably three of them should never have happened . . . you just can’t afford to give teams that sort of latitude at this level.”
Making his season debut for Wairarapa United in a defensive role was Vanuatu international Brian Kaltak and while there were occasions when his lack of game time in the United colours was apparent, coach Keinzley was satisfied with his overall performance.
“When you consider he only had the one training run for us beforehand, he did really well and he will only get better once he gets used to the type of football we are trying to play.”
Another interesting aspect of the Wairarapa United selection process this Saturday will revolve around the four Rathkeale College players in his squad — Callan Elliot, Liam Heard, Scott Morris and Thomas Wagner.
They are all likely to play for their college in the morning and whether Keinzley will consider them rested enough to be part of the starting XI against Lower Hutt remains to be seen.
Elliot, especially, has been a key member of the Wairarapa United squad all season, having played the full 90 minutes the last three weekends and twice being named as their player of the match.
As to Lower Hutt, Keinzley is talking little notice of them sitting eighth equal on the points table and 8pts behind his own side.
“They have shown they can score goals against any opposition, there’s no reason to think we can just turn up and win, none whatsoever.”