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Ifill targets upset over Diamonds

Kennedy Bryant [green] has been a strong presence in the United midfield. PHOTO/FILE


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Tumu ITM Wairarapa United have had a far from vintage season in the W-League, but they can kick-start a late season revival against Wellington United Diamonds at Trust House Memorial Park kicking off at 11am today.

United, who last season missed out on the title to Diamonds on goal difference, are in fifth place on 12 points, while Diamonds share the lead on 22 points with Palmerston North Marist.

Their first-round encounter was won 4-2 by Diamonds, the only occasion that United coach Paul Ifill said the team had been outplayed this season.

“In every other game I think we’ve been good value to win, and we haven’t got the results our performances have probably merited and that’s frustrating.

“But, at the end of the day, you have to put the ball in the back of the net,” he said.

Failure to score goals has cost United in several of their games. Although they have scored a respectable 25 goals in their nine games, there could have been many more if they had taken most of their chances, many against weaker opposition.

Sloppy defence at crucial times has also seen United concede 18 goals – an average of two a game – and it’s an area they must tidy up to be competitive against the likes of Diamonds.

That was most evident in last Saturday’s 3-4 loss to Petone, when United conceded three goals in the last 20 minutes.

Experienced first choice goalkeeper Courtney Norman is expected to return after missing that game.

Ifill said playing the competition front-runners was good motivation for the team.

“Welly are going to be gunning for the title so it would be nice to keep them honest and I know that the team will be up for this game.”

He wanted United to play the game at pace by moving the ball quicker.

“They’re not used to playing on turf, they play on grass, so we’ll use that to our advantage.”

Veteran midfielder Meisha Boone remains sidelined with a long-term knee injury, and striker Sydnie Williams and midfielder Michelle Bgoni are out of the game with concussion.

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