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Plan B… rilliant

Glenfield Rovers 1, Eastern Suburbs 0
Huapai Domain, Auckland, March 2 2014

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Decisions, decisions, decisions. It’s pretty tough being me sometimes. Sure, there are children dying of AIDS and starvation around the world, Russia and Ukraine are on the brink of war, and in Uganda you can now be executed for being gay. Any one of those makes the worst problems I’ve ever faced in my life all put together seem pretty pathetic. But everything’s relative and when there is as much football on in Auckland as there was this weekend, choosing which of these embarrassments of riches in which to partake is a real conundrum!

Yesterday there was the ASB Premiership semi-final first leg between Waitakere United and Auckland City, which I considered attending until I remembered I couldn’t care less about it. I figured it would be well covered by others anyway, and it was. There was also the various games in the ASB Youth League which could have been fun, but ultimately failed to excite me enough. And today was regional finals day of the Nike Cup, which again might have been cool, but despite that I was lured away by the prospect of something even more interesting.

I had heard there was a game at 9am this morning between the Young Football Ferns and the Ellerslie Nike Cup team at Michaels Ave. Intrigued by the idea of the New Zealand Under 17 women up against a good team of boys, this was my plan up until I realised there was a fatal flaw – Roma vs Inter kicked off at 8:45.

I briefly wondered why I switched to Plan B when the Serie A encounter ended in a pretty irritating 0-0, and in so doing robbed me of 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. I didn’t regret my decision for very long though, because Plan B turned out to be more enjoyable than I ever would have guessed.

Northern Football Federation is running a pre-season women’s football tournament over the next few weeks featuring many of the big name clubs from the Northern Premier League. Today’s instalment was held at Huapai Domain out past Kumeu, which had a lovely laid back country summer atmosphere, and with games going on all around on multiple fields, the place had a buzz about it you don’t often get during the regular winter women’s football when the game you’re watching is usually the only thing going on for miles around. The weather was also lovely and partly cloudy – this suits me the best as it’s not too bright nor too dark for photos, it’s not too hot and sticky, or cold and miserable. It was just a lovely relaxing afternoon of football.

To top all this off, the game I chose to concentrate on matched the vibe perfectly. Eastern Suburbs, last season’s Women’s Premier Champions, vs Glenfield Rovers, last season’s Northern runners up and national Knockout Cup finalists – it promised to be a good ‘un and it certainly was. Played in three thirds, each third was quite different from the one before it.

Eastern Suburbs looked the better of the two sides in the first, enjoying the lion’s share of the ball but unfortunately for them their multiple forays into the final third saw them come up empty, handicapped somewhat by new recruit Steph Trowill looking uncomfortable on an injured ankle and not able to move too freely. This ultimately cost them right before the first break when against the run of play Glenfield caught their opponents napping, allowing Katie Rood to slam home a beautifully worked goal into an open net.

The second third was almost the polar opposite of the first, with Glenfield taking their turn to shine, coming even closer to scoring than Suburbs had in the first with balls ricocheting off posts. The end result however, was close but no cigar. The third third was wide open with both sides taking turns to take pot-shots at their respective opposition nets but, despite many heart stopping moments, Rood’s original goal remained the difference until the end.

I wasn’t able to pay a great deal of attention to the game between Fencibles and Forrest Hill Milford going on on the neighbouring pitch, but I do know that FHM got at least 4 goals and the win with a pretty solid looking side strengthened by a few additions over the off-season that my beady eyes could make out. Chief amongst them was a certain someone wearing number 5 who looked remarkably similar to one Emily Jensen of Football Ferns and Mainland Pride fame who was with Three Kings last year. Looking at their line-up was rather eye-watering. It was pretty much the vast bulk of the Northern Football side that were beaten finalists in the ASB Women’s League, plus Jensen who was a winning finalist. If I was a betting person I would put a lazy tenner on them for the league this season in only their second year in the competition… Roll on round one on April 6!

[UPDATE: A little birdy tells me Capital based Junior Ferns CJ Bott, Emma Rolston and Briar Palmer might be at FHM this year too! Mama mia…]

Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier

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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.

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