Team Wellington must learn the hard way
Frustrated Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott says his young players have failed to learn from their mistakes after falling out of the national league semifinal race.
Wellington lost 3-2 to Auckland City yesterday in a match with uncanny similarities to last Wednesday's game of the same scoreline against the same side.
Once again Wellington opened the scoring but ended up losing, thanks to a late Auckland goal, with Daniel Koprivcic yesterday's hero with the 89th-minute winner at David Farrington Park.
With two games to play Wellington - grand finalists last year - have been eliminated from semifinal contention.
"The workrate and the attitude has been great but we've still got a lot of young guys in our franchise that need to learn lessons," Calcott said.
"At times people think they know what's best and they're 19 years of age, you know, and that's unfortunate."
Wellington midfielder Darren Cheriton opened the scoring before Adam Dickinson equalised from the penalty spot five minutes after halftime.
Auckland youngster Simon Arms then scored with a header but Wellington striker Hamish Watson hit back in the 80th minute before Koprivcic's killer blow.
"We had to chase the game didn't we so we probably left a few more players forward and we just panicked at the end there to be honest with you," Calcott said.
"At the end of the day I can't fault the effort of the last week or so but you've got to learn from Wednesday and we didn't do that." Calcott said the pre-Christmas and post-Christmas versions of his side were "different teams."
But their early season woes left too much ground to make up and despite going toe-to-toe with Auckland twice they were only plucky losers.
"We had to win this game and we were pushing both the fullbacks on so you're asking your defenders to defend two on two," Calcott said.
"But we had some endeavour and we don't have the budget do we, the players that they're signing on the money they're signing. But you can't fault the effort from a bunch of Wellingtonians really."
Wellington finish the season with games against Otago United and Hawke's Bay United and Calcott said he would encourage his players to "just go for it."
Elsewhere yesterday defending champions Waitakere United sealed the minor premiership with a 4-1 win over Otago.
Hawke's Bay and Canterbury United drew 1-1 and will join the two Auckland teams in the semifinals while Manawatu ended a 10-game losing streak to beat Waikato FC 3-2.
AUCK CITY 3 TEAM WGTN 2
The Dominion Post