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Wairarapa United top-class attack

 Stephen Sprowson set up United’s first goal. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV


Wairarapa United 5
Napier City Rovers 0

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Trust House Wairarapa United out-classed Central League heavyweights Napier City Rovers 5-0 in a sublime display of attacking football at Trust House Memorial Park on Saturday.

After a lively and willing start from both teams, United broke the deadlock after 19 minutes with a goal set up with a run by right fullback Stephen Sprowson from inside his half. His cross found striker Jared Cunniff, who turned inside the box and beat goalkeeper Oscar Mason with a nice finish.

Cameron Lindsay doubled the score four minutes later, latching on to a Hugo Delhommelle through ball and beating the stranded Mason with a bobbling shot.

From then on, United took control and apart from a long-range effort that United goalkeeper Scott Morris tipped over the crossbar with a top-class save, they were rarely troubled by the Napier attack.

Much of that was down to Delhommelle and Matt Tod-Smith, who controlled the midfield and broke up many of Napier’s attacks in front of the United defensive line.

United’s third goal came from a Delhommelle free kick from 26m in front, with his pinpoint delivery headed into the net by Cunniff.

Hugo Delhommelle had assists in three of Wairarapa United’s goals.

Delhommelle’s influence was again evident in United’s fourth goal. It started with an interception by captain Daniel Allen, who found Delhommelle, who released outstanding teenager Jonty Roubos to cap the best 45 minutes of football seen by United for several seasons.

The message from coach Phil Keinzley at halftime was not to let the visitors back into the game. Although Napier had some half chances, they failed to regularly test the home side’s defence, apart from another long-range shot that Morris tipped over the crossbar.

Roubos added the finishing touch in the 75th minute when he swooped on a soft pass back to Mason from a Napier defender and walked the ball into the goal.

Keinzley was over the moon with the result and said he didn’t see it coming after a poor training on Thursday night.

“I was really pleased Napier didn’t spring any surprises on us and everything we planned for came to fruition, and with their wing-backs playing so high we always planned to switch the play side to side and stretch their defence with them playing three centre backs,” he explained.

Despite the result, Keinzley said there’s still a lot to work on, and the team can only improve, but it has given the players the self-belief that they can challenge for the top three in the Central League, and a place in the new national championship.

“We had to deliver yesterday [Saturday] and I never expected 5-0, but we had to win against a team like Napier to have any chance of making the top three, and it’s the same next weekend against Waterside-Karori, we have to put those sorts of teams away.

“We had a lot of passes that didn’t go to feet and that, so there’s a lot of stuff still to work on, and everybody knows that we won’t be resting on our laurels.”

Keinzley named Allen as his player of the match, and believed his captain had his best game in several seasons.

“Bill Robertson is so strong at set pieces and Danny marked him, and I think he won every defensive set piece and his role on Joel Stephenson, he didn’t let him turn and was all over him, and he had a really outstanding game.”

The win has lifted United to third in the Central League, behind Miramar Rangers and Wellington Olympic.

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