WaiBop anxious to keep on pressure

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012

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Waikato-Bay of Plenty coach Peter Smith is working hard to ensure his side doesn't rest on its laurels ahead of its next ASB Women's League match.

Fresh off a 5-2 win away to Auckland Football last weekend, WaiBop return to the same venue tomorrow for their Northern Conference clash with the Northern-based New Zealand Football under-17 side.

Smith's troops won the first-round match between the two sides 6-2 in Cambridge a fortnight ago but Smith is wary of an upset should his side slacken off at St Peter's College in Auckland.

"Psychologically, we've got the upper hand but on the flipside complacency could be our biggest enemy," Smith said.

"Aaron [u-17s coach Aaron McFarland] is a bit of a tactician, who would have identified our strengths and weaknesses and worked on those areas.

The u-17s have players with a high technical range, who will punish us if we're not on our game.

"The result a couple of weeks ago is gone and we need to make sure we're up for this match."

Smith wasn't thrilled with his side's victory over Auckland, despite four goals from red-hot striker Helen Collins but felt the issue had been addressed at training on Tuesday.

"We had a good discussion which was frank and positive and we identified where we let ourselves down.

"I was happy with how the players took ownership and how the discussion we had went along with the session we had planned, which shows we're on the same page."

WaiBop are second in the conference standings, which would push them into the playoffs should they maintain that spot but Smith doesn't want his troops to get ahead of themselves.

"I've said to the players ‘let's not worry about the other teams, games or results, let's just play to our potential'.

"If you do that, then you win games. If you win games, then you win leagues. You don't want to look too far forward because if you start doing that, then you start to compromise your principles and compromise is the first cousin of failure."

A medial ligament injury looks likely to end defender Kylie Jens' campaign. She has been replaced in the squad by 15-year-old Chantelle Leban.

"Kylie will be sorely missed but it has given someone else an opportunity to get into the starting line-up," Smith said.

"Chantelle is quite a composed player, who is attack-minded, strong in the tackle and has a good passing range. As well as playing up front, she can also play a holding midfield role."

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- Waikato Times

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