Wairarapa United’s Paul Ifill tussling for the ball with Wellington United’s skipper Manyumow Achol in their first round match. PHOTO/FILE

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Jay Car Wairarapa United talisman Paul Ifill remains in doubt for his team’s crunch game against Wellington United on Saturday.

With both teams anchored at the foot of the table on two points each, the match will practically determine which team is relegated from the Central League.

United have the advantage of having a vastly superior goal difference of minus 49, compared with Wellington’s minus 83, so a draw could be enough for the Masterton-based team to survive.

Ifill suffered a severe concussion in United’s surprise 1-1 draw with Napier City Rovers on June 29, which forced him to miss last Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Stop Out.

The striker said he appeared to be getting better by the day.

“I haven’t really been doing anything physical, and I’ve been told that when you start exercise that is when concussion can come back. I’m hopeful I can be on the bench.”

Ifill’s influence on the field was no better illustrated than in the first-round game between the two sides.

The Wellington Phoenix legend had completely bamboozled the Wellington defence with some dazzling play and had scored two goals before leaving the field with a hamstring strain.

In his absence, Wellington’s confidence grew and they took the lead until a goal with the last kick of the game earned United a 4-4 draw.

Wellington have already had a setback though, with captain and one of their few influential players, midfielder Manyumow Achol, suspended after been given a straight red card in last weekend’s loss to Napier City Rovers.

Wairarapa United will be hoping for plenty of support for the game to be played at Newtown Park.

The club is putting on transport for supporters with the bus leaving from the Tranzit depot at 11am on Saturday.