Paul Ifill’s [No 8] shot looks like its heading into the goal but just goes wide. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

FOOTBALL

Wairarapa United 0
North Wellington 6

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Wairarapa United’s fragile defence was cruelly exposed in their 0-6 thumping by North Wellington at Trust House Memorial Park on Sunday.

There can be no sugar coating the severity of the loss against a team who came into the game in second-to-last place in the Central League and were reduced to 10 men for the final 38 minutes after defender Cory Vickers was sent off.

The loss came after a 3-8 thumping by Miramar Rangers the previous weekend, and coach Davor Tavich wasn’t shying away from the disappointment of the result.

“There’s no hiding from the fact – 14 goals in two games is way too many,” he said.

“We don’t want to be easy beats in this league. We just have to turn that around and the players are aware of the challenge ahead of us.

“It’s not going to get any easier, so we don’t really have much time.

“I’m sure everyone’s determined not to repeat what we did in the last two games. It’s a big problem but a fixable problem.”

The writing was on the wall in the first two minutes for Wairarapa United, when North Wellington took advantage of a turnover inside the home team’s half to open the scoring.

United nearly evened the score, with Hugo Delhommelle and Paul Ifill going close, but it was the visitors who pounced again on a loose pass to double the lead after 14 minutes.

The return of the experienced duo of Cameron Lindsay and Cory Chettleburgh for their first games of the season added stability to the midfield for the home side, who continued to dominate possession and territory and created several chances, but the North Wellington defence stood firm.

“The first 45 minutes we were definitely the better team, but we went 2-0 down,” Tavich said.

“On the ball, we looked a lot better and the players seemed more confident in their ability.

“We created plenty of chances and looked dangerous on the attack, our midfield was strong, but we couldn’t find the goal.”

United paid for sloppy play around the penalty box when the visitors extended their lead to three early in the second half.

The home team were given a lifeline soon afterwards when Vickers was shown a red card for dissent, which came after a yellow card in the first half.

Down to 10 men, North Wellington didn’t just sit back to protect their lead but continued to apply pressure throughout the pitch.

That paid off and any chance of a remarkable comeback disappeared with the team from Johnsonville scoring their fourth goal after another home team turnover.

A goal from a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Liam Heard, and another from a corner after a fumble by goalkeeper Scott Morris wrapped up the scoring on a forgettable day for Wairarapa United.

All six goals came from United errors, a fact not lost on Tavich, who said the team were better than the results show.

“Once we get our defence sorted and stop making silly simple mistakes, we might have a chance of winning a game or two, but if you don’t score from your opportunities and you make too many mistakes in this league you will go home with nothing.

“I’m quite optimistic that we can turn this around and the players that we have are very committed and very keen to get better and that’s always a good place to start.”

The loss has dropped Wairarapa United to ninth in the 10-team league, with a tricky away encounter with league heavyweights Napier City Rovers on Sunday their next fixture.



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