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Counter punch

Metro FC 5, Bay Olympic 2
Phyllis Street, Auckland, May 12 2013

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2-0 is often thought of as the most dangerous lead in football, and for good reason. You think you’ve got it made so you sit back and defend, safe in the knowledge that while your opponents might manage one consolation goal, pulling back two is too difficult a task. Yet, once the inevitable occurs and you concede that first, all of a sudden it motivates your opponents and they only attack with more fervour. Then once the equaliser comes they all of a sudden have all the momentum and your certain doom is imminent. If I’ve seen it once I must have seen it four of five times… I’m pretty sure it’s a thing.

Conference Division 1 side Bay Olympic should have been the favourites for this opening round tie in the New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup, but like in all good cup competitions upsets are commonplace and today was no exception. Conference Division 2 team Metro seemed head and shoulders the better of the two sides on the day and deserved their win although it didn’t always look like justice would prevail.

Metro utterly dominated possession in the first half, but they couldn’t quite find the flourish at the end, instead succumbing to two goals against the run of play. As several good chances to score at the Metro end were squandered, Bay Olympic’s first was instead bludgeoned home in a melee following a free kick. If the visitors’ game-plan up until that point was to sit back, score on the counterattack, and then sit back some more – they followed it to the letter. Their second was a classic counterattacking goal after a length of the field break from a Metro attack.

If you looked at the scoreboard alone you might have been forgiven for expecting Metro to have gone into the sheds at half time having given up. But Olympic’s tactics must have given them hope that an upset was still on the cards. All the home side had to do was find their shooting boots in the second half and find them they did. They came storming back and from the moment the first went in, a few scares aside, they never looked like losing.

The first half was a bit scrappy but the second was thoroughly entertaining. A seven goal game that had three of the essential elements of a good clash – lots of goals, a comeback and an upset. Classic cup action. The only things it missed were extra time and penalties, which at the time I was quite relieved about, as I wanted to get across town for Eastern Suburbs vs Three Kings in the Women’s Premier League. However after this pulsating action packed rollercoaster ride, the so-called higher level league game was quite a let-down and another half hour of cup romance would have been a fine substitute.

My only gripe is we must start a campaign to get ball kids for women’s football. I’m sick of chasing footballs then looking like an idiot when I miskick trying to return them to the players. This must stop before my street-cred sinks so low it emerges somewhere in Southern Spain…

I’m not sure when the next round of the Women’s Knockout Cup is set down for, unlike with the men’s Chatham Cup there is not a lot of reliable information online, but whenever it is I’m really looking forward to seeing what the draw throws up and trying to pick the next upset to get along to. It’s a superb competition that should be supported. More people should get amongst it.

Categories: NZ Women's KO Cup

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

3 replies

  1. Incidentally since then the Bay Olympic side made it to the final of the AFF Women’s Knockout Cup tomorrow (15/09/13) at 11am at the Ellerslie FT. Our opponents will be Papakura. That Metro loss was the low point of a season of consolidation in the higher Conference 1. We have played better since then, however we still only seem to have games where one good half is not repeated. So, if you have spare time, come and see a game that should be full of goals and entertainment…..

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