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United into Kelly Cup semifinal

Kennedy Bryant [left] battles Macey Fraser for possession. PHOTO/WENDY TURTON

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Tumu ITM Wairarapa United Women’s coach Paul Ifill was thrilled with their 2-1 win over a strong Western Suburbs at the Ole Academy in Porirua on Saturday.

Although the game was a quarterfinal in the Kelly Cup knockout competition, Ifill was treating it as the team’s final pre-season outing before they start their W-League campaign against defending champion Wellington United Diamonds next Saturday.

Tui Dugan opened the scoring for United in the first half, before New Zealand Under-20 international Macey Fraser equalised for Wests.

Former Upper Hutt City player Kennedy Bryant added United’s second goal in the second half to seal their place in the semifinals.

Ifill thought it was a good result against a strong Wests team, which included former NZ Under-17 star Maya Hahn, who has switched allegiance to Germany and has been called up to that country’s
national training camps.

“Wests were pretty good,” Ifill said. “The W-League has been a bit of a two-horse race but with Maya and Macey there, Wests will be one of the threats.

“I was really pleased how we went about it. Kennedy and Sam White went really well in their first games for us, Amber Phillips played up front for the first time, and Gorgi van Lienen went well in her first game back from university. It was a good all-round team performance.”

After that game Ifill had a quick trip into Wellington to St Patrick’s Town College, where the Wairarapa United men played Miramar Rangers in their last pre-season fixture before the Central League kickoff.

Ifill’s involvement lasted about 30 minutes before he had to come off with a slight hamstring strain.

“I felt a twinge so I got off pretty quickly and it should be okay.”

Miramar Rangers won 3-0 but Ifill said there were some good signs.

“We did okay. We missed a few chances. I missed a good chance and they were a bit more clinical than us.”

“We were down 3-0 at halftime and we showed a lot of fight in the second half. Last year we would have fallen over and lost by seven or eight.”

Ifill said Miramar Rangers were one of the best teams he had seen at Central League level, with nine Team Wellington players in the line-up. He predicted Miramar would be the team to beat in the Central League.

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