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Keinzley cries foul after start time is changed

Riley Grover is one of United’s Rathkeale players impacted by an early start time. PHOTO/FILE

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CHRIS COGDALE
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Wairarapa United v Lower Hutt City

Trust House Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley is frustrated with a late change of start time for today’s Central League clash with Lower Hutt City.

The game was scheduled for 1pm, because the Wellington Phoenix start their first home game in the A-League season against Western United at 4pm, but it has now been moved to a midday kickoff.

That has resulted in a conflict with Rathkeale’s important grading game for the Wellington Secondary Schools Premier competition against St Patrick’s Silverstream.

Keinzley says that will impact on regular starters Riley Grover, and the experienced Cameron Lindsay, the Rathkeale coach, and will affect the team’s warm-ups and preparation.

United are fourth in the league, two points behind Lower Hutt, and a win will keep them on track to challenge for a place in the national championship.

Lower Hutt are based around the Phoenix Academy, who are guaranteed a place in the national championship, which Keinzley said gives them an unfair advantage over the other teams in the Central League.

“They don’t have the pressure on them that the rest of us do, because they have the automatic spot in the national championship, and they can go out there and just run around without any pressure.”

Keinzley says the United players have taken a lot of confidence from their 7-0 win over Wainuiomata two weeks ago but expects a tougher encounter against the fit, well-drilled Lower Hutt side.

“They well and truly beat us preseason [3-0] in the Hilton Petone Cup, and they’re ahead of us on the table so everything is saying that we just can’t think, after beating Wainui, that it’s just going to happen for us.

“I see it being really tough and I actually rate them as a better team than Western Suburbs, who we drew with [2-2].”

Former Phoenix star Paul Ifill is a doubtful starter after straining his hamstring in the win over Wainui.

Meanwhile in the Chatham Cup, United have drawn old foes Napier City Rovers in the second round to be played at Queen’s Birthday.

There is plenty of history between the two, with United beating Rovers 2-1 in the 2011 final, and then having their 2013 third round win overturned after a protest by Rovers over an ineligible player.

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Wairarapa United v Petone

Tumu ITM Wairarapa United will go joint top of the W-League with victory over Petone at Trust House Memorial Park today.

United are second in the league on 12 points, three behind Palmerston North Marist, who have the bye this weekend, whereas Petone are fourth, with one win from their three games.

Despite the disparity in points, United coach Paul Ifill is not taking Petone lightly.

“They haven’t started that well, but like Waterside-Karori a couple of weeks ago, we can’t afford to underestimate them,” he said.

Ifill rated United’s 3-2 win over Waterside as their toughest game of the season, even ahead of the 1-3 loss to Marist, and expected a similar showing from Petone.

“They’re a decent side, are always well-coached, and play a structured game, and we have to stick to our game plan.”

For one of the few times this season, Ifill will have a fully fit squad to choose from.

Influential midfielder Kelsi Rutene returns after missing the Waterside game, and prolific goal-scorer Sam Whyte has recovered from concussion which has seen her sidelined for much of the season.

That gives Ifill the headache of which two of Whyte, Darby Lambert, and Sydnie Williams will join Samoan international TJ Lyne-Lewis in the front three.

The game will kick off at the earlier-than-usual time of 10am at Trust House Memorial Park.

In the Kate Sheppard Knockout Cup, United have drawn New Plymouth Rangers at home at Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

Ifill said the team were looking forward to meeting opposition that they had not played before and is well-timed coming the week after their bye weekend in the W-League.

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