Kelsi Rutene in action for the Wairarapa United women’s team in Saturday’s Kate Sheppard Cup match against Upper Hutt. PHOTO/ROSA STEWART

FOOTBALL

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

The Wairarapa United men’s team have finally nabbed a home Chatham Cup match, while the women will travel to Wellington to tackle a fancied opponent in their Kate Sheppard Cup quarterfinal.

The draws for the next round of each knockout competition were conducted on Tuesday by New Zealand Football, and the men’s team will play Stop Out in the fourth round at Memorial Park in Masterton.

The round will be the last with teams separated into their regions, and if United win they could come up against a team from any part of the country in the quarterfinal.

Coach Phil Keinzley said it was pleasing to finally get a home match after winning their second and third round matches away from home.

“I didn’t really care who we played, but I was really hoping for a home game.

“It’d be neat if they had the stand at Memorial Park ready by then as well.”

United’s Central League campaign has been a struggle this season but Stop Out is one team they have enjoyed success against.

They beat them 2-0 away from home early in the season and it was only a last-minute Stop Out goal that secured a 2-all draw when they met at Memorial Park a couple of weeks ago.

“There’s never been much in it between us,” Keinzley said.

“What I’m pleased about is it’ll be the first time we’ll have a full squad available, unless something untoward happens in the next two weeks.”

That means Cory Chettleburgh should be back from his injury break, and Seule Soromon is expected to return to the line-up this weekend.

Keinzley may have to make some tough decisions when it comes to selection, but that is a good problem to have at this stage of the season.

“It will really come down to form.

“On top of that, on the back of last weekend’s match [5-0 Chatham Cup win over Wellington Olympic] people won’t just be able to walk back in, they’ll have to fight for it.

“I feel like we’re peaking at the right time.”

Keinzley said one player who would have to be careful over the next few weeks was Daniel Allan, who was at risk of a one-game suspension if he received another yellow card.

“We’ll need to look after him and he’ll need to look after himself.

“It’s about protecting players with injuries as well and knowing we’d like to win these two games coming, for our own confidence but also to get the relegation worries off the mind.”

In last year’s fourth-round Chatham Cup match United won 2-1 at home against Miramar Rangers, before losing in the quarterfinals to eventual runners-up Central United.

Meanwhile, the women’s team already knew their opponent was going to be W-League leaders Wellington United in their Kate Sheppard Cup quarterfinal, but it was only once the draw was completed that they knew it would be away from home.

The two teams have met twice this season with Wellington United winning the first match 1-0, and the second ending in a thrilling 3-all draw.

Both matches will be played over the weekend of July 14 and 15.