Wairarapa United is on course for a rare league-cup double after two contrasting matches at the weekend.
The defending Chatham Cup champions came back from being 3-1 behind to beat New Plymouth Rangers 7-3 on Monday. Two days earlier Wairarapa repelled a stiff challenge from defending Central League champions Miramar with a narrow 1-nil win.
Wairarapa coach Phil Keinzley described his side's second-half effort at New Plymouth as the best 45 minutes of football his side has played since he's been with the club. And it was needed as the home team stunned the visitors taking a 2-goal lead going into half-time.
Wairarapa silenced the Merrilands Domain crowd in New Plymouth with four goals in the first 20 minutes of the second spell. Just to rub salt into the wound, they added a couple more in the final quarter.
Suele Soromon, who scored in the first half, finished with a hat-trick and Adam Cowan bagged a double, to complement goals by Nathan Cooksley and Paul Ryder.
Rangers did have a chance to drag one back, but Phil Imray saved Brad Hickling's attempt from the spot following a soft penalty on the edge of the box.
Imray was the man of the moment in Saturday's Central League match against Miramar in Carterton. The Scotsman pulled off several terrific saves to keep his old club scoreless.
Emotions were high in the match with Miramar coming up against three of their star players from last year's championship winning side: Imray, Daren Cheriton and Tim Schaeffers.
Wairarapa handled the situation better, with the visitors becoming increasingly irritable. Their frustration was only compounded by the heroics of Imray in goal.
Few opportunities came the way of strikers Suele Soromon and Paul Ryder and when they did it was defender (and captain) Nathan Cooksely who drilled home the only goal of the match. After eight matches Wairarapa United, unbeaten this season, are four points clear at the top of the Central League table. Miramar is 10 points adrift, but with a game in hand.
Wairarapa is at home to Western Suburbs this weekend.
The next round of the Chatham Cup is on June 23 and 24 with the draw expected today.
MATCH: Wairarapa United v Western Suburbs, Saturday, 2.30pm, Howard Booth Park, Carterton.
- Wairarapa News