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Well that happened fast…

Northern Football 1, Mainland Pride 4
Another game we won’t dwell on too much
Seddon Fields, Auckland, November 16 2014

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All of a sudden it’s all starting to fall into place! With one round to go it’s looking like, barring miracles, we have our minor premiers and our hosts for the ASB Women’s League final. And what’s more, this league is now well and truly Mainland’s to lose after they shrugged off the loss of their Football Ferns (Annalie Longo and Meikayla Moore) to destroy Northern with 8 minutes of second half magic.

As far as the first half was concerned, Northern were a completely different team to the one I have seen play on two previous occasions this season. They have disappointed me up to this point but right from today’s kick-off they looked hungry and arguably bossed the game for the first 45 minutes, although to be fair there were chances at both ends.The home side’s reward came almost on the stroke of half time when Katie Rood (who else?) jinked and jived her way through the Mainland defence and stabbed home a goal that gave her team a well-deserved lead at the break.

But after that… I don’t know what was in Mainland striker Aimee Phillips’s half time water, but she certainly came out of the shed with a sense of purpose and just looked like she was going to score if it killed her and it was this attitude that gave the game its massive turning point. Chasing everything, Phillips closed right in on Northern keeper Corina Brown as she attempted a clearance and by sheer force of will the ball rebounded off Phillips and into the auld onion bag.

Then it was only a couple of minutes before Mainland had their lead via a Mikayla Wieblitz screamer, from well outside the penalty area, that glanced in off the crossbar. And only a few minutes after that Northern were buried by Monique Barker. The gold lettering on the headstone came via an Aimee Phillips penalty after Corina Brown brought an attacking player down in the box. 4-1 was the final score.

What’s that you say? Yes, you are quite right. This was a double header. The other game saw New Zealand Development take on my beloved WaiBOP. Who won? Shame on you for asking. The concepts of ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ are senseless Eurocentric notions foisted upon us by our colonial oppressors. We’ll speak of this no more.

Looking at the table with one round to go, for Mainland to not finish top from here they would have to fall to Football South next week. So yeah, that won’t be happening. Northern are now out, shockingly given their recent history in this league, and for WaiBOP to qualify they will need to beat Northern and hope neither New Zealand Development nor Capital win their respective last round robin games. Considering Capital is playing Central, that seems a remote possibility at best.

Auckland could still miss out if they lose to NZ Development and Capital win well. That is quite foreseeable. But if Auckland win they will most likely play Capital in Auckland in the second vs third playoff to find Mainland’s final opponent.

Not entirely sure where I’ll be next week but given I’m still a bit grumpy with William Green after I was kicked off the turf for something I didn’t do last time I was there, and I should have my new toy by then, a shiny new (third hand) Honda Accord… A road trip to Cambridge for one last look at WaiBOP before the comp is done is very tempting…

Categories: NZ Women's National League

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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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