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‘Embarrassing’ loss spurs United against Lower Hutt

Callan Elliot was one of Wairarapa United’s best in a losing effort on Wednesday. PHOTO/FILE

FOOTBALL
GARY CAFFELL

Wairarapa United won’t lack motivation when they meet Lower Hutt City in a Central League men’s football match at Memorial Park, Masterton today.

If ever a team had a point to prove it is them after their “embarrassing” 6-2 loss to previously winless Havelock North at Havelock North on Wednesday.

Wairarapa United went into that game as firm favourites after a strong start to the season had them just two points off the competition pace but produced a performance so far below par that coach Phil Keinzley struggled to come up with words to describe it in his after-match comments.

“Really I don’t know what to say . . . disappointing hardly does it justice,” Keinzley said.

“Good on them (Havelock North) but honestly it wasn’t so much that they played well, it was that we played so badly. It was embarrassing, I doubt we could go any worse.”

Wairarapa United were without skipper Cameron Lindsay, who was red-carded during their 3-2 win over Wellington United last Saturday, and had a few players struggling with injury, including star striker Paul Ifill.

But while Keinzley conceded this did make his side vulnerable, he was quick to emphasise it was not an excuse for such a woeful performance.

“When you play that bad you don’t have excuses,” he said.

A feature of the Wairarapa United line-up was the pairing up front for the first time of recently-acquired international recruits, Shaquille Belle from Barbados and Azariah Soromon of Vanuatu, but neither managed to make much of an impact on proceedings, either on attack where they seldom threatened or on defence where their work-rate was not up to the standards required at this level.

In fact, even though he was still troubled by a hamstring strain Ifill remained Wairarapa United’s most potent attacking force, although Callan Elliot also had his moments in
that department.

Poor as the Wairarapa United effort was, however, Keinzley does not envisage making too many changes for today’s encounter. The return of Lindsay to the midfield will be welcomed and there is a possibility that national secondary schools rep Scott Morris will be in goal, but for coach Keinzley it’s not so much a matter of who takes the field but how they react to the manner of the Havelock North defeat which will largely decide their fate.

“This is their chance to bounce back, to show they have the mettle to put that loss behind them and apply themselves the best they can.

“It’s a good challenge and hopefully they are up for it.”

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