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United need win

TJ Lyne-Lewis could drop into the midfield for today’s Kate Sheppard Cup quarterfinal. PHOTO/FILE

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Tumu ITM Wairarapa United are one win away from the Kate Sheppard Cup semifinals, but standing in their way are their nemesis, Wellington United Diamonds.

Wins for United over Diamonds are rare, and even more so at Diamonds’ home ground Newtown Park, although United did beat the defending W-League champions 2-1 there in a league clash in April.

United’s form has fallen away in the past two weeks, suffering one-goal losses to Waterside-Karori [2-3], and Palmerston North Marist [1-2], and coach Paul Ifill said it’s vital the team refocus for tomorrow’s knockout clash.

“They were close games against two very good sides, but it will be another different sort of test,” he said. “It’s on grass, which we’ve not been great on this year, and it’s going to be very difficult.”

Ifill felt the team were too defensive against Marist last week when they went two goals down, and he is considering a change of formation tomorrow.

“We’ll probably go back to a 4-4-2 diamond, which we know well, but ultimately we’ve got to hold the ball better and move it quicker.”

Ifill said containing Diamonds’ prolific striker Jemma Robertson, and the dangerous Emma Main, if she plays, will be vital for United to come away with a victory.

“They have a very good front three, and a very good defence, but I think we can overpower them in the midfield with the likes of Tui [Dugan], Kennedy [Bryant], Nicole [Robertson], and potentially dropping TJ [Lyne-Lewis] into that 10 position.”

Fullback Shannon Newlyn is a doubtful starter, with a back strain, and fellow defender Olivia Brown is away.

Experienced midfielder Kelsi Rutene flies into Wellington from Perth, having watched partner Dane Lett prepare for the Olympics with the Black Sticks, and will probably be on the bench.

The winner of today’s clash will join two Northern Region sides, likely from Auckland, and one South Island club in the semifinal draw.

The Trust House Wairarapa United men have the weekend off because of the Chatham Cup. They will next play leaders Miramar Rangers in a Central League game today week.

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