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Not the time to panic yet, says Chettleburgh

Jonty Roubos battling for possession in Wairarapa United’s match against Olympic on Saturday. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Lots of encouraging signs

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa United player-coach Cory Chettleburgh isn’t pushing the panic button despite a heavy loss in the opening round of the Central League.

An inexperienced United, with five players making their Central League debut, went down 10-0 to Wellington Olympic at Memorial Park on Saturday.

Seven of the goals came in the second half, with five being scored in the final quarter.

Chettleburgh thought his team “played quite well for the first 45 to 60 minutes”.

“We moved the ball well, and that’s exactly how we want to play, but we didn’t really create enough goal-scoring opportunities,” he said.

Olympic scored their first three goals from headers from set pieces, and Chettleburgh put that down to inexperience.

“We didn’t give Olympic too many clear-cut chances, but they took advantage of our inexperience at the set pieces.”

United fell behind 4-0 early in the second half and Chettleburgh felt that was the time the experienced players needed to step up.

“The older guys [including himself] needed to steady the show, and keep the young guys’ heads up but we weren’t able to and we need to take some of the responsibility.”

“We conceded six goals in the last 25 minutes, that’s one every four minutes, and that’s what happens if your mentality isn’t right. Olympic only had 13 shots on target so to concede 10 goals from that made it a
tough day”

Chettleburgh said the players were down after the game but he’s remaining positive.

“With a lot of youth players, the highs are very high, and the lows are so much lower, and inexperience does show.

“Not many of us have experienced that sort of loss, so it’s good to get it out of the way. It will be a big learning curve.”

United did have their moments. Paul Ifill was unlucky not to score when his shot from a narrow angle glanced the crossbar, and Josh Rudland had a one-on-one with Olympic goalkeeper Keegan Smith, who pulled off a good save.

“These were some of the encouraging signs. We played the style of play we want to play, we put pressure on Olympic early on, and forced a number of corners, but didn’t really create enough,” Chettleburgh said

However, he wasn’t taking anything away from Olympic’s clinical performance on Saturday.

“They have a lot of experience, they’ve been working together for the past three months, have a lot of quality and they’ll be pushing for top spot in the league.”

Despite the loss, Chettleburgh says his team will develop sufficiently to threaten Olympic in their next encounter.

“When we play them in eight weeks’ time, I’m confident that we will be capable of getting a result,” he said.

On a positive note, the Wairarapa United squad is relatively free of injury.

Goalkeeper Matt King, who missed Saturday’s loss due to illness, and striker-midfielder Sam Murray, who has been suffering with a minor injury, are expected to be fit for Saturday’s away match with North Wellington.

Chettleburgh is also carrying a knee injury and will undergo scans this week.

“I damaged two parts of cartilage in the National League. I know I can play on it, and I’m managing it at the moment.”

Other scores from the first round of the Central League:

Waterside-Karori 1 Stop Out 4, Wellington United 0 Lower Hutt City 8, Napier City Rovers 2 North Wellington 1, Western Suburbs 3 Miramar Rangers 0.

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