Meisha Boone. PHOTO/FILE

Turton’s finale for Wai United

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Tumu ITM Wairarapa United Women’s coach Paul Ifill is spoiled for choice as his team prepare for today’s important W-League home game against Palmerston North Marist.

United lead the championship on 27 points, two points clear of Wellington United Diamonds, with Marist a further point behind.

Ifill said he will have a full-strength squad to choose from.

“Yeah, I’ve got a lot of options of who I’m going to play. Tui [Dugan] is back after being away and she’s been playing really well,” Ifill said.

“I’ve got the option of moving my centrebacks Molly [Woodhead] and Amber [Phillips] into more forward positions, so we’re looking pretty good.”

Veteran Meisha Boone is always a handful for opposition defences and is developing a useful combination with Under-16 international Nina Kondo.

While 15-year old Darby Lambert is playing with confidence after racking up a hat-trick against Victoria University two weeks ago and another six goals for the United second team last weekend.

Marist had previously topped the table but a surprise 2-5 home loss to Waterside-Karori saw them slip to third.

That result surprised Ifill.

“They don’t let in many goals and that came as a shock, but they did have a few players missing last week. It shows how fluctuating the league is.”

United won their first-round encounter 1-0 and Ifill expects today’s game to be just as close.

“They were very physical in the first game and it was very difficult.

“Marist have to come and win the game and that might open it up. A draw might be enough for us, but we’ll be going out to win. I’m always confident at home.”

The game will be the last for Dani Turton before she takes up a US football and academic scholarship with Tiffin University, Ohio.

The midfielder has made a habit of scoring long-range goals, the most recent being one from 25m that gave United a 1-0 win over Seatoun last weekend.

United have been in superb form at home, dropping only the one game, against Western Suburbs on June 8.

However, they can’t afford to slip up with Diamonds, who are expected to beat Seatoun, well-positioned to take advantage if United drop any points.

The game kicks off at Memorial Park at 4.30pm today.

Meanwhile, the Jay Car Wairarapa United men have the weekend off, with the Central League taking a break for the next round of the Chatham Cup to be played.

United will be back in action on Wednesday night when they play Wellington Olympic in a catch-up game at Wakefield Park.

Their second-round encounter in early June was called off 30 minutes into the game due to poor weather and ground conditions.