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French flair earns dramatic draw

Double goal-scorer Paul Ifill, centre, in action for Wairarapa United in Saturday’s 4-4 draw with Wellington United. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa United left it until the last kick of the game to get a hard-earned 4-4 draw with Wellington United in the Central League in Masterton on Saturday.

But it was a game Wairarapa should’ve put out of United’s reach after 35 minutes.

Wairarapa showed their intent to attack from the kick-off and they were first on the board after six minutes when Paul Ifill weaved his magic in the 18m box and beat the goalkeeper with a classy finish.

But Wairarapa were asleep from the kick-off and Manny Achol made them pay with an easy goal.

Ifill got the lead back after 14 minutes, beating two or three players and hitting the ball hard and low into the back of the net.

The home team, in particular Ifill and Josh Rudland, who pushed one wide of the goal and missed an open goal from within two metres, continued to pepper the Wellington goal without reward.

The complexion of the game changed at the 35th minute when Ifill left the field with what looked like a hamstring injury.

Despite losing their composure somewhat, Wairarapa hung on for a 2-1 halftime lead.

The second half started badly for Wairarapa, when their defence was caught napping and an easy tap-in made it 2-2.

It was soon 3-2 after Wellington scored from a counter attack.

Then the first two pieces of brilliance by Hugo Delhommelle gave Wairarapa some hope of a positive result.

For the second game in a row the Frenchman superbly placed a free kick into the top of the net leaving the goalkeeper stranded to make it 3-3.

The drama still wasn’t over. Wellington took full advantage of more poor defending of a counter-attack to take the lead again.

Then, in the 95th minute, a hand ball just outside the 18m box gave Delhommelle another chance.

He grabbed it brilliantly, hitting the ball high into the back of the net, with the goalkeeper motionless, giving Wairarapa United their first point of the season.

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