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Big shoes to fill for Wai Utd

Seule Soromon heads the ball clear for Wairarapa United during their 7-1 win over Palmerston North Marist last weekend. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

By Gary Caffell

Vision is an important element in any sport.

And that’s why Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley is concerned that the loss of two of his star players, Paul Ifill and Cory Chettleburgh, for their crucial Central League football match with Stop Out at Hutt Park, Wellington tomorrow could be result defining.

“They are both players with great vision, they know just when to change the direction of play or do something different to keep the opposition guessing.

“They think on their feet, instinctively they tend to make the right decisions,” Keinzley said.

It’s not only for his vision though that Ifill, will be missed.

The former Phoenix ace also has the knack of creating goals out of nothing and no matter who replaces him they won’t have his extraordinary ball skills.

Just who that replacement will be was to be finalised at last night’s training with promising Rathkeale College student Thomas Wagner the most likely choice.

He has impressed Keinzley with his physicality and work ethic when coming off the bench in previous games and therefore deserves the chance to be part of the starting line-up against a Stop Out side which sits third on the competition table with 14 points, just four points shy of Wairarapa United and three points behind second-placed Western Suburbs.

Chettleburgh is sitting out the second week of a two-week suspension and another talented youngster in Callan Elliot will fill his spot as he did so well in the 7-1 thumping of Palmerston North Marist last weekend.

Elliot was not only a handful for the opposition defence in that game because of his pace and rapid acceleration but he also won a handy amount of ball with his determined tackling.

Without Ifill, the burden of being Wairarapa United’s most potent attacking force will, however, fall on skipper Sam Mason-Smith and he is the type of character who will relish the extra responsibility.

He might not have the finesse or natural flair of Ifill but is more direct and physical when scoring opportunities beckon.

Seule Soromon will need to lift the ante as well on attack and if defender Cameron Lindsay continues to show the same qualities going forward as he has when scoring goals in the last couple of games, he too could be a potential match winner in that department.

Defensively, Wairarapa United were mostly untroubled last weekend but there had to be a worry about their lack of decisiveness during corner kicks, not from impressive goalkeeper Coey Turipa but those meant to be giving him support in front of the goal.

Any repeat here and you can safely wager the Stop Out strikers will be quick to capitalise.

The Wairarapa United women’s team will travel to Palmerston North tomorrow morning to play Palmerston North Marist in a W-League match.

With Marist sitting in third place with 13 points and Wairarapa United sixth and last on zero points, there is no doubt who will start hot favourites.

However, the last time these two teams met, Wairarapa United did make a nuisance of themselves but could not convert their scoring opportunities into goals.

It may be too much to expect a victory from them here but the end result might be a lot closer than the form book would suggest.

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