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Big win for Wai United

Wairarapa United skipper Sam Mason-Smith in action against Palmerston North Marist at Memorial Park. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

By Gary Caffell

Wairarapa United’s bid to win their first Central League men’s football title stayed on track when they outgunned Stop Out 4-1 at Hutt Park on Saturday.

With star players Paul Ifill and Cory Chettleburgh missing, it was expected to be a stern challenge against a side that have been among the front runners in the competition.

But Wairarapa United responded splendidly to the challenge, scoring two goals in each half to ensure they would end the first round as competition leaders, albeit by just one over Western Suburbs.

The first half was fairly even with Daniel Allan opening the scoring with a goal from a corner for Wairarapa United, Stop Out levelling up at 1-1 and then Callan Elliot netting with a diving header to give Wairarapa United a 2-1 advantage at the break.

Allan played a big hand in the goal, having headed the ball on to Elliot from a free kick.

The second half saw Wairarapa United take firm control of the game to be justly rewarded with two further goals, the first to Seule Soromon and the second to Cameron Lindsay — the third successive game in which the hard-working defender has got his name on the scoresheet.

Fullback Allan was named player of the match for Wairarapa United.

He was typically solid on defence and was always looking for the opportunity to counterattack.

Bryan Kaltak was another to provide excellent value on defence and attack, Elliot used his pace to telling effect and while striker Sam Mason-Smith didn’t add to his already impressive tally of goals, he was always a threat when given space.

Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley was delighted with the way his team lifted their effort after a “pretty ordinary” first half.

“We had too many passes intercepted in the first half but the second half was great — we were a lot more accurate and held on to the ball for long periods.”

In other Central League matches played on Saturday, Western Suburbs beat Miramar Rangers 3-2, Palmerston North Marist and Wellington United drew 1-1 and Lower Hutt and Taranaki drew 0-0.

Competition points: Wairarapa United 21, Western Suburbs 20, Stop Out 14, Wellington United 14, Miramar Rangers 13, Taranaki 11, Wellington Olympic 10, Napier City Rovers 8, Lower Hutt 8 and Palmerston North Marist 3.

The Wairarapa women’s team were on the end of a 10-1 beating by Palmerston North Marist in their W-League fixture at Palmerston North on Saturday.

Wellington United Diamonds beat Seatoun 5-1 and and Upper Hutt defeated Stop Out 4-1.

Competition points: Upper Hutt 18, Wellington United Diamonds 16, Palmerston North Marist 16, Seatoun 9, Stop Out 3 and Wairarapa United 0.

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