Wairarapa United’s Paul Ifill has an animated discussion with referee Robert Fleetham during last Saturday’s match with Miramar Rangers. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
By Gary Caffell
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
This adage is playing very much on the mind of Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley as he prepares to name his starting line-up for their Central League football fixture against defending champions Wellington Olympic at Wakefield Park, Wellington on Saturday.
The 11 players who started for the 4-1 win over Miramar Rangers at Memorial Park last weekend performed so persuasively that Keinzley was yesterday thinking “very seriously” of staying with them for a second successive time.
“Yes, it would be hard to justify making any changes,” Keinzley told the Times-Age.
“With the squad we’ve got, there are always going to be tough choices to make but that was such a good start maybe we should leave things the same for at least another week.”
Pleasing as Wairarapa United’s effort was last Saturday, their coach is under no illusions they will need to lift to another level against an Olympic side which Keinzley himself watched draw 1-1 with Western Suburbs the next day.
On the face of it, that result might seem a tad disappointing for Olympic but Keinzley was impressed with the standard of play produced by both sides.
Olympic would almost certainly have come away with the win had they not “butchered” a couple of prime scoring chances, he said.
“They (Olympic) lacked a bit of polish in their finishing but you can bet they’ll have been addressing that in training this week . . . it’s probably a bad time to be playing them in that respect.”
Scoring goals was not a problem for Wairarapa United last weekend with experienced strikers Paul Ifill and Sam Mason-Smith each scoring a brace but while they conceded only one, that was more a case of good luck than good management.
Twice Miramar Rangers missed open goal opportunities, the first coming in the opening minute before a Wairarapa United player had even managed to touch the ball.
“Defensively, I thought we were pretty tight for most of the game but there were a couple of concentration lapses which could have cost us.
“Hopefully we have learnt from that.
“I have a feeling Olympic won’t be so kind to us if we haven’t.”
The fact Wairarapa United were on the receiving end of four yellow cards against Miramar Rangers might suggest they had a problem with discipline but Keinzley was not buying into that.
He thought the bulk of them were for offences which could certainly not be regarded as serious in nature.
“I don’t want to criticise the referee but on another day, they might have been warnings — it’s not something worth dwelling on.”
In other Central League matches last Saturday Stop Out got their season off to a memorable start with a 4-0 win over Wellington United, perennial title contenders Napier City Rovers were held to a 3-3 draw by Lower Hutt City and Taranaki beat Palmerston North Marist 1-0.