Manny Achol (Wgtn Utd) holds off Napier City Rovers Fergus Neil & Martin Bueno
HEARTBREAK FOR WELLINGTON UNITED Tuesday 23 April 2019 Words Dave Webster \ WUAFC Media Photo TJF Photo
After a horror start to the season which included conceding 29 goals in three games, Wellington United have turned a corner, picking up a point away to Waterside Karori on Good Friday and then yesterday almost causing an upset against defending champions Napier City Rovers.
Coach Rapha Christians set out a defensive game plan and was please that his players followed his instructions. They frustrated the Napier attack, who had put 9 past Wairarapa United on Friday. It was United that opened the scoring when Owen Smith running away from the goal was needlessly bought down and despite Napier's protestations the ref had no choice but to give a penalty. Captain Manny Achol stepped up and scored from the spot for the third time in as many games and United had a unlikely 1-0 lead going into the break.
10 minutes into the second half, Napier squared it up when the ball fell to Sho Goto on the edge of the penalty area and he drilled it past debutant keeper, Crawford Plenderith, who was unsighted for the shot. Another counter attack paid of for United when Paul Owaci slotted home and restored United's lead. Unfortunately it only lasted three minutes as Napier City Rovers Andrew Abba, controlled a chest high ball, managed to evade his marker and slammed it into the net.
As the game went into referee's time it was heartbreak for Wellington United when a cross hit Martin Bueno on the chest and ended up in the back of the goal. United players were convinced he was offside, the referee consulted with his assistant before awarding the goal.
It was a heartbreaking way to lose a game in which the team had given so much. However Napier City Rovers aren't unbeaten in 18 games for no reason and given some doubters on social media were predicting a loss of at least 15-0, United can be proud of the way they played and showed that they will be a competitive team this season.
Match Details Monday 22 April 2019 Newtown Park Wellington United (1) 2 (Manny Achol (PEN), Paul Owaci) Napier City Rovers (0) 3 (Sho Goto, Andrew Abba, Martin Bueno)