Dylen Kingi was instrumental in United’s win. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV
The Tumu ITM Wairarapa Women are through to the next round of the Kate Sheppard Cup, beating Victoria University 3-0 in a second round match on Saturday.
There was plenty of emotion before kickoff with both teams observing a moment’s silence in memory of club stalwart Kerry Duncan, who died suddenly on Wednesday night.
And the significance of the occasion may have got to the United women, who made a hesitant and disjointed start to the game played in cold damp conditions at Memorial Park.
United dominated possession and territory but struggled to get their game together and deal with Victoria’s defensive mind set, which saw the visitors sit very deep and wait for United to make mistakes.
Too often, United were guilty of poor first touches or lack of positivity, and too often, needlessly handed over possession.
United finally broke through the defence after 35 minutes when usual defender Molly Woodhead, who started as striker, picked up a loose ball from a defensive mix-up in the box and drilled the ball hard and low from 16m into the back of the net to give them a 1-0 lead at halftime.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first, but the superior fitness of the United players began to show.
They were rewarded after 81 minutes when right winger Dylen Kingi ran on to a beautiful ball from captain Ana McPhie and then placed a lovely cross perfectly for Meisha Boone to head past the stranded goalkeeper.
That was Boone’s last action of the game.
She was replaced by Darby Lambert, who put the icing on the cake in the dying minutes, when she swooped on a loose ball in the box and finished with a lovely shot for her first W-League goal.
But not before goalkeeper Courtney Norman pulled off a brilliant save when Victoria had a two-on-one, which would have brought the score back to 2-1.
Coach Paul Ifill was happy with the patience shown by his team in wearing down Victoria.
“We knew they would come here and sit back, and we had to be patient and in the end we wore them down.”
Ifill was particularly impressed with Boone’s goal.
“I’ve been urging Dylen to get wide and get the crosses into the box and she did it perfectly.”
Amber Phillips was all class for the winners.
The tall central defender regularly tidied up at the back, was strong in defence, and when she did push forward, she usually created problems for the Victoria defenders.
Ella Innes made her starting debut in midfield and impressed with a busy game, while Izzy Fisher also showed some nice touches when came on as a late substitute.
The match was also momentous for young referee Alex Dalhberg.
The Makoura College pupil was assistant referee but had to take the whistle for the last 30 minutes when the referee limped off with a hamstring strain.
Men’s game abandoned
Meanwhile, Ifill is hot under the collar after the Wairarapa United men’s Central League fixture against Olympic was abandoned after 32 minutes.
Ifill said the match at Wakefield Park got underway in windy and rainy conditions at Wakefield Park and without no consultation with the players or coaches the referee pulled the pin.
“It wasn’t dangerous and there was no surface water.
“There was a Capital 3 game on the pitch next door that went the 90 minutes.”
“It’s a disgrace, and it brings into question the integrity league. We’ll be taking it further with the league administration.”
“We will now have to play them at the end of the season when they might need a win to win the league and we might need a win to avoid relegation, and that’s not fair on other teams like Napier City Rovers and Western Suburbs.
“That’s what I mean about the integrity of the league.”
At the time of the abandonment, there was no score and Ifill said United were playing probably their best football of the season.
“We were playing really well with nice short sharp passing, and Olympic were just playing long balls forward in the wind and struggling with our play.”