Aaron Spierling, left ,is about to make his 200th appearance for Wairarapa United.
By Gary Caffell
Wairarapa United will end a disappointing 2016 Central League football campaign when they play Miramar Rangers at Memorial Park, Masterton, tonight but the game will still be of special significance for a club stalwart.
Making his 200th appearance for Wairarapa United at this level will be Aaron Spierling and coach Paul Ifill has no doubts his fellow players will do everything in their power to make it a memorable occasion.
“A win would be perfect, and obviously that’s what we are aiming for.”
Ifill said Spierling had been “rested” from Saturday’s league match with Western Suburbs in Wellington which the latter won 6-3 so as to have him play his 200th game at home and he will also have the honour of captaining the side.
“When you think of how players move between clubs at the drop of a hat these days the loyalty Aaron has shown Wairarapa United is something really special,” Ifill said. “And it’s not as if he’s there because of his long service, he’s there because he’s still playing the quality of football which makes him a very valuable member of the side.”
Ifill conceded Wairarapa United, which sits seventh on the league table, would have to be much better defensively then there were against Wests if they were to contain a Miramar Rangers side which is through to the semifinals of the Chatham Cup competition and still has an outside chance of winning the league title as well.
“It’s a big ask for us to beat a team like that but we’re certainly going out there to give it our best shot,” he said. Kick-off is at 7pm.
Meanwhile, Wairarapa United could have two of their teams playing in Central League football competitions
Their premier men’s team has been playing at that level for several years and they could be joined in 2017 by their top women’s combination after they secured a hard fought 2-1 win over Petone on Sunday.
Not only did that victory allow Wairarapa United to keep their place at the head of the Capital premier division points table but it guaranteed them the chance to play off in home and away fixtures against New Plymouth for a Central League spot.
The only team which can deprive them of the premier division title, Wellington United, already have a team in the CL and therefore are not eligible for promotion.
Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley was anticipating a tough assignment against Petone which had beaten them at their last meeting and was delighted with how his players coped with a game plan which saw them change from their usual 4-4-3 formation to 3-5-2.
“The idea was to strengthen up the midfield and mark up more closely on a couple of their players who were likely to be threats on attack and it worked well,” Keinzley said.
At halftime the teams were still level pegging at 0-0 but Wairarapa United went out to a 2-0 lead in the second half through goals to two of their more experienced campaigners in Michele Clarke and Meisha Boone. Petone scored their only goal late in the game.
Brittany McGruddy, Ashleigh Gill and goalkeeper Emma Kruszona all had strong games for Wairarapa United while Sophie George was also impressive in her return from injury.