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United win two trophies in one day

Report from Wellington United by Dave Webster / WUAFC Media
Wellington United kicked off the 2021 season, winning two trophies on Good Friday.The first was the Kelly Cup, in its 48th year, making it the oldest Women’s football trophy in New Zealand.

The second was the Commemorative Cup, the trophy that is on the line every time we meet old rivals Miramar Rangers. In recent seasons the Kelly Cup has become a pre-season competition and the Diamonds were coming up against old foes Palmerston North Marist. In getting to the final Diamonds had racked up 22 goals and conceded just one beating Petone Reserves 10-0, Petone 3-1 & Victoria University 9-0.

Marist had played just two games with Island Bay defaulting to them in the first round. They had beaten defending champions Wairarapa United 8-4 and Waterside Karori 3-0.Diamonds found the net in the 13th minute when Jemma Robertson made a run down the left wing cut in and forced a great save from Marist keeper, Brooke Bennett, who pushed it on to the crossbar, unfortunately for Marist the ball fell nicely for Dani Ohlsson, who smashed the ball into the top of the net for her 101st goal for the club.

Diamonds were making the play and holding the possession and territory and the front three of Pepi Olliver-Bell, Dani Ohlsson and Jemma Robertson were looking formidable. Some nice work down the right wing between Olliver-Bell & Ohlsson led to a cross which was met by Robertson inside the six yard box and slotted in for 2-0.Any thoughts Diamond’s had of keeping a comfortable lead were dashed a minute later when Charlotte Lancaster hit a stunning shot in to the net with her lethal left foot.

Seven minutes later it was all square when a corner found Amber Phillips unmarked on the penalty spot and she had no problem finding the net.The second half was a lot closer with neither team creating many chances. Wellington United had two strong penalty claims turned down in the last 10 minutes, the first when Nat Olson was pushed to the ground in the box, the referee waved play on, shortly after Jemma Robertson broke in to the area, Marist keeper, Bennett clattered into her in what looked like a clear penalty, only for the referee to make a quite baffling decision to award a free kick for a foul on the keeper.It took Diamonds two minutes into the second half of extra time to break the deadlock when Nat Olson fired in a shot from the edge of the area.

Not long after some smart play from Amanda McCarthy she found Kelsey Wilkinson on the edge of the area and she sent an exquisite chip over the keeper to extend the lead to 4-2. In true cup final style, it wasn’t over as goalkeeper Molly Simons, who had been having a good solid game, slipped in trying to stop a shot from Mackenna Chittenden, and despite a valiant scramble back to stop it going over the line she was unable to stop it. Leaving the score at 4-3. Luckily for Diamonds that was the way it stayed and they won the Kelly Cup for the second time in their history.Over at Newtown Park, the men had their first league outing of the season against old rivals Miramar Rangers.

Coach Guillermo Schiltenwolf gave starting debuts to Fizz Aden and Ignacio Junca, while Wynn Skinner, Jherson Heredia and Brayan Heredia made their debuts coming of the bench.It was just 14 minutes before Diamonds went ahead, thanks to a bizarre own goal to Miramar keeper, Keegan Smith, where he somehow managed to back heel the ball into his own net. United dominated the match with more possession and territory but were unable to add to their total missing several chances that could have seen them winning by four or five.

Coach Schiltenwolf saying they were definitely going to be working on their finishing at training this week. Winger Facu Dione was awarded man of the match, while Leo Villa and captain Cam Stephan also had strong games.

The Commemorative Cup was introduced in 2018 on the occasion of Wellington United’s 125th anniversary. United won the first instance, but had lost the five games since then, so completed a satisfying day adding this trophy to the cabinet alongside the Kelly Cup.

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