Tui Dugan scored Wairarapa United’s opening goal. PHOTOS/FILE
Lack of concentration at crucial times proved costly for the Wairarapa United men’s and women’s teams in their opening championship games on Saturday.
The men conceded a late goal to go down 3-2 to Stop Out at Hutt Park, while the Tumu ITM Wairarapa United Women never recovered from an early 2-0 deficit, losing 4-2 to Wellington United Diamonds at Newtown Park.
Prospects of the United men ending their winless streak of nearly two years in the Central League looked promising when Rathkeale striker Josh Rudland gave them the early advantage.
However, two goals either side of halfway gave Stop Out a 2-1 lead.
Rudland capped a fine game with an equaliser, only for the home side to seal the three points with a late winner.
United coach Davor Tavich thought the team gave Stop Out a helping hand.
“I’m not going to take away from their win, they are a good team, but we helped them get their three goals, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.
“When we were in possession, there would be a bad pass and we’d give them the ball and all of a sudden they hit us on transition and score a goal and we just couldn’t recover from it.”
“Their second goal we had the ball pretty much under control at the back and it got stolen from our player about two metres away from the goal and their player just tapped it in, so those kind of mistakes we just really have to get rid of.”
Despite the loss, Tavich was happy with the performance.
“We hardly had any subs on the bench at all, so I can’t fault anybody’s effort.”
“Stop Out have some quality players and you can see why they’re one of the favourites, but in saying all that I thought a draw would’ve been a fair result.”
The women were made to pay for a sluggish start to their W-League fixture with the two-time defending champions, with Wellington United Diamonds taking 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes.
Midfielder Tui Dugan narrowed the gap to one goal at halftime, but gifting the ball away saw Diamonds regain their two-goal lead.
A brilliant goal from about 40 metres by former Diamonds striker Sam White made the score 3-2 and gave United a glimmer of hope of snatching an unlikely point.
However, it wasn’t to be as Diamonds wrapped up the three points with their fourth goal.
United coach Paul Ifill was frustrated with the team’s inconsistency throughout the game.
“We played really well in patches, but probably gave the ball away a bit too much at bad times and that led to the goals,” Ifill said.
“You can’t give the ball away against a team like that, because they’ll punish you.”
Ifill said the team had the wrong mindset against the Wellington side.
“We don’t tend to do this against anybody else and I know that they’re a good side but maybe we give a little too much respect.”
“They were pleased to get a result, they still see us as their biggest rivals I’m sure, but I think we will bounce back and there were still positives to take from it.”