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May the fourth be with you

Fencibles United 1, Glenfield Rovers 4
Riverhills Park, Auckland, May 4 2014

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The first few days of May always used to bring with them two things. Union parades up Queen Street and the start of the cold weather. Now all they bring is a really bad Star Wars pun. The parades commemorating the anniversary of the Haymarket Square martyrs are sadly a thing of the past and, just to complete the duet of incongruities, despite the cold snap we have been experiencing of late, summer made a brief comeback yesterday. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining, but only because it just so happens there are few places better for watching football on a nice day in Auckland than Riverhills Park, home of Fencibles United. Its tree lined flanks provide dappled shade for the pale and pasty amongst us, while for those of more robust complexion the bank at the northern end is a great place to lounge around and feel the sun on your back while watching the beautiful game. Glenfield Rovers even came to the party by banging in four goals to add to the Star Wars theme of the day!

This year’s NRFL Women’s Premier is shaping up as the most even contest in recent years. With this league we have become accustomed to a handful of good sides running up cricket scores against more lowly opposition, but so far in 2014 we have seen some close games and interesting upsets! One of the surprise packets have been former sleeping giants Lynn Avon, who struggled last season having lost a big chunk of their squad in the previous offseason. They have rebuilt well and this culminated in them claiming the scalp of the injury ravaged defending champions Eastern Suburbs yesterday in a shock result.

But that’s not the game I chose for this week, and the reason for that is I also thought Fencibles were looking like quite interesting dark horses too – more so than their position on the ladder might suggest. Just looking at their results on paper, they started the year with a comprehensive 6-1 whooping of Bay of Plenty and they followed that up with a mere 2-0 loss to Forrest Hill Milford. A LOT of teams this year will only be able to dream of keeping FHM to 2-0 with all their stars on deck. The other win so far for Fencies has been a 1-0 victory over Western Springs and that coincidentally was the same score their opposition today defeated the green and white hoops by a week ago. So this looked like it had the ingredients of an interesting match-up.

Sadly, it didn’t quite live up to that as Glenfield seemed to find another gear and fairly comprehensively take this one out. They didn’t quite have it all their own way though – after all it was Fencibles who snatched the opening goal, but that was well and truly against the run of play as Sonia Lovemore found the net directly from a free kick. Glenfield had some justification to be frustrated with themselves for that because they had been dominating the game up to that point and had squandered several gilt edge opportunities down the other end. A major bright spot for the home side was their keeper Ashleigh McNaughton who pulled off some stunning saves throughout the match, keeping her side well and truly in it.

But the goal agin them may have been exactly what Rovers needed to wakey wakey and lift their game. Because from that point on Katie Rood for one found her range and by half time she had two quality goals to her name while Fencies had a 2-1 deficit to ponder. Then early in the second half McNaughton came off her line to meet a Briar McNamara charge. The number ten duly passed it out of the keeper’s path to leave Rood with the easiest hat trick she will ever convert. It was then left to McNamara to grab the cherry on top and 4-1 it finished.

That win puts Glenfield Rovers into fourth equal with Lynn Avon (just to take the four/Star Wars thing to its natural low ebb). Having amassed nine points, those two teams sit three points behind Suburbs in second on twelve and six away from pace setters FHM on fifteen, who let’s not forget still have to have their depth severely tested by the FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup. My favourites, Claudelands Rovers, are still hanging in there in third on ten points and you can’t ever write off Three Kings, currently on seven just ahead of Fencies on six.

So now that all the teams have played five games out of 18, the time has come for predictions! Who is your pick to win the league?

Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier

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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