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Classy comeback fuels title talk

Goalscorer Meisha Boone on the attack for Wairarapa United. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV


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A brilliant come-from-behind win has the Tumu ITM Wairarapa United women taking pole position in the Central W-League.

The 3-2 victory over Wellington United Diamonds at Memorial Park is the defending champion’s first loss in the league since 2017 and has stamped Wairarapa United as genuine title contenders.

After an even start where both teams had their opportunities, United had the best chance to open the scoring, after 12 minutes, when Ella Innes just headed wide from 5m out.

United goalkeeper Nicole Hyland then pulled off a brilliant save to deny a Diamonds player who had a one-on-one opportunity.

It was Diamonds who broke the deadlock after 30 minutes when Nat Olson was given too much space inside the 18m box, beat a defender, and struck the ball nicely into the far corner of the net.

The goal had United go into their shell somewhat and they were punished for their hesitancy when Jemma Robertson latched on to a soft back pass and was brought down by Hyland in the box.

Robertson coolly slotted the penalty for a 2-0 lead after 41 minutes.

Just when it looked like Diamonds would take a handy lead into the halftime break, 2018 W-League Player of the Year Meisha Boone cleverly volleyed a chip over the goalkeeper to open the scoring for United.

The home side still weren’t done for the half and in the fourth minute of added time captain Ana McPhie used her speed to beat the defence and chip the keeper for a 2-2 halftime scoreline.

The second half was very even with neither team offering many opportunities.

United’s 14-year-old Nina Kondo had the best chance early on with a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, only for her shot to be easily smothered.

But Sydnie Williams gave the home crowd something to cheer about after 72 minutes when she ran on to a through ball and beat the goalkeeper with a lovely finish.

United controlled play well and shut down the Diamonds attacking opportunities to hold on for a deserved victory.

Boone was delighted.

“The last 15 minutes took forever but our young players were outstanding. Ana [McPhie], Molly [Woodhead] and Nina [Kondo] showed the benefit of being at the national training camps. They had great games.

“This will give the team a lot of confidence, but we still need to take it game by game,” she said.

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