Amber Phillips created havoc for the Seatoun defence. PHOTO/WENDY TURTON
WAI UTD 1
The W-League is Wairarapa United’s to lose.
A Dani Turton thunderbolt was the decisive moment in the Tumu ITM Wairarapa United Women’s 1-0 win over Seatoun which has given them a two-point lead in the championship race.
With the game looking like it was heading for a scoreless draw on the heavy Seatoun ground, coach Paul Ifill changed his game plan and pushed usual defender Amber Phillips forward to put doubt into the home team’s defence.
The ploy worked and with the defence sitting back and hesitant, Turton found room to push forward and unleash a powerful shot from 25 metres giving the goalkeeper no chance mid-way into the second-half.
United reverted to a more defensive set up and controlled the balance of the game to come away with three valuable points.
Ifill said it was a very tough game.
“The pitch was horrific; it wasn’t wet but was very heavy and puggy.
“Seatoun set up very compact to try and catch us on the counter, so we had to change things around.
“Dani, who we played at centreback, drove forward and everyone waited for her to pass, but she unleashed a decent shot from distance.”
The win gave United the sole lead at the top of the table on 27 points with previous leaders Palmerston North Marist surprisingly beaten 5-2 by Waterside-Karori.
Defending champions Wellington United Diamonds are two points behind United after their 5-0 defeat of Victoria University.
United will host Marist in a vital clash at Memorial Park on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Jay Car Wairarapa United men turned on a brave performance despite losing their Central League match to Western Suburbs 0-3 in Whitby on Sunday.
United went into the game as rank underdogs and were expected to pose few threats against the league leaders.
However, they did have their chances to score, hitting the crossbar twice and forcing the Wests’ goalkeeper into making some good saves.
Ifill said it was an odd game.
“We have gone better against the better teams and we’ve done well against Wests in two games. We had our chances to score and kept pressure on them. It was a good effort.”
Any fears that fellow relegation strugglers Wellington United might burgle a surprise result against an understrength Stop Out, who were expected to drop some players to assist their Capital One team’s push for promotion, were unfounded.
Stop Out pummelled them 11-0, to leave the Wellington side on the same points as Wairarapa United but with a massive goal difference of minus 94.
United have three games left, with away fixtures against Olympic and Miramar Rangers, and a home match against Lower Hutt City, while Wellington United face Western Suburbs and Miramar.