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United wary of dangerous Wharfies

Hugo Delhommelle is developing a solid midfield combination with Matt Tod-Smith. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV


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Trust House Wairarapa United will take a load of confidence into today’s away game against Waterside-Karori [Wharfies] in the Central League.

Both teams have identical two-win, one-loss records and both have cause for confidence, coming off the back of impressive victories last weekend.

United thrashed traditional powerhouse Napier City Rovers 5-0, and Wharfies had a very good 3-2 away win over a strong North Wellington.

However, that is where the similarities end, with the teams adopting contrasting styles of play. The Phil Keinzley-coached United like to play a structured free flowing game, building up through the midfield, whereas Wharfies play a more direct style.

“They play a very unconventional type of football that I haven’t seen for 30 years, with an extreme number of long balls, and speedsters up front to collect on it, and they’re very good on the counterattack, so we need to counter that and still be able to play our own game,” said Keinzley.

“We know now that we have a system of play and the players who are capable of making it work, and we’re going to make sure we don’t get dragged into their type of football.

“We want to be working for each other and we’ve been particularly strong when we use our width.”

Instrumental in United’s good early season form has been the midfield combination of Hugo Delhommelle and Matt Tod-Smith.

The pair bossed the middle last weekend, and provided superb delivery to Jonty Roubos and Jared Cunniff, who were a constant threat to the Napier defence.

Of course, there is also the evergreen Paul Ifill, who even at 41, can cause problems to any Central League defence, and has a great eye for goal.

At the defensive end United have been strong with captain Daniel Allen leading the way, ably supported by Bertie Fish in the centre, and Stephen Sprowson, and Riley Grover out wide.

Experienced midfielder Cory Chettleburgh is also likely to return after serving a one-match suspension for being sent off in United’s 1-0 loss to Wellington Olympic but is likely to sit on the bench.

Wharfies on their home ground have proved to be a difficult nut to crack for United teams. Last season United lost 3-1 at Karori, while Keinzley has a poor record on the ground, which has its own unique slope, and can be severely impacted by the wind.

“Waterside have always been a bogey team at Karori,” he said.

“In the past we’ve had some good teams against them, but they seem to manage to get the result, and the weather has played a part in the past and it’s uncertain for Saturday too. They’ve always been particularly strong at home.”

Keinzley is also conscious of the Wharfies’ fast starts to games, having scored the first goal in each of the three games.

“We have to be alert right from the word ‘go’, because we know that we’re playing a team that has a lot of desire, and are playing a very simple system that’s worked well for them
this season.”

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