Auckland Football 0, Mainland Pride 3
William Green Domain, Auckland, November 3 2014
Sometimes you turn up to a game expecting a thriller and instead you get a fizzer. This wasn’t really like that despite the score line suggesting it might have been. A real illustration of how a couple of numbers on a piece of paper (or computer screen) can never do justice to the intricacies and sub-plots of a game of football. Those of us lucky enough to be at William Green Domain yesterday got to witness a dazzling performance from Mainland Pride, who more than lived up to their reputation as competition heavyweights. It was just somewhat of a pity Auckland couldn’t manage to do the same.
Maybe it shouldn’t have been that surprising that this game was a little one-sided. Auckland were top of the table going in to this encounter but their wins so far have arguably had an element of fortune about them. For example, I wasn’t there but I understand from someone who was that they weren’t too convincing despite winning 3-0 against South a fortnight ago. Then there was last week when I’m not sure they would have got past WaiBOP had Helen Collins been present even though that’s debatable given WaiBOP scored enough goals to win, the problem for them was more down the other end…
On the other hand, looking at Mainland’s recent form, they haven’t looked that dominant either especially given their shock loss to Capital last week. But despite that they really put on a show yesterday, thoroughly dispatching Auckland with complete aplomb. If anything, the score flattered the home side. Auckland showed flashes of what they are capable of but lacked strike power at the front and rarely looked like finding the back of the net despite a couple of nice saves from Mainland keeper Victoria Esson.
Meanwhile Mainland thoroughly dominated and took their opportunities well with some dazzling footwork along the way. Monique Barker opened the scoring earlyish in the first half to give them a 1-0 lead and then Aimee Phillips doubled it just before the break with a nice dink over the keeper from outside the box. Defender Meikayla Moore’s sublime finish completed the scoring in the second half after a lovely run then a one-two with fellow Football Fern Annalie Longo, who was apparently sick with a tummy bug brought back from the Oceania Nations Cup but still played magnificently, to make 3-0 the final score.
This and other round four results show just how tight this competition is this season – easily the most thrilling in recent years. Capital (the same team that lost 4-0 to WaiBOP) beat Northern (last year’s beaten finalists and champions the two before that) 1-0. WaiBOP smashed Football South 7-1 with Helen Collins equalling the record for most goals in a game (5) set by another WaiBOP legend Sarah McLaughlin. No gloating from me. I’m just cackling with glee on the inside… And NZ Development got a 3-0 win over central with ANOTHER WaiBOP player Issy Coombes on the score sheet… I’m saying nothing.
After all that, WaiBOP are top of the league (I’m still saying nothing) (YIPPIE!!!) on goal difference with Mainland and Auckland all equal on points with the league leaders (WaiBOP yusssssss) and a very good NZ Development side breathing down their necks along with classy Northern still only one point behind fourth. Still three games to go so it’s all up for grabs! We’ll know a lot more about the semi-final makeup after next Sunday. In particular I’d kill to be in Christchurch for Mainland’s clash with WaiBOP but the double header at North Habour Stadium will be equally as tantilising for the neutral. NZ Development takes on Capital at 1pm followed by Northern vs Auckland at 4, and that’s where I’ll be spending my afternoon. South also play Central in Dunedin in a match that looks increasingly likely to be the wooden spoon decider.
You’d have to have rocks in your head not to be at one of those games! What other national sports competition is this exciting and (apart from Mainland) free of charge to rock up to? Let’s give these ladies the crowds they deserve. You won’t be disappointed.
In the meantime, I’m just going to quietly leave this here…
Categories: NZ Women's National League
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.