Three Kings United 1, Claudelands Rovers 3
Keith Hay Park, Auckland, April 19 2015
Witnessing a Hamilton football club win an important football game. These are occasions that don’t come around too often. When they do, it’s important that we poor, beleaguered, Waikato natives behave with appropriate decorum. This is not a time for uncouth gloating. There is nothing to celebrate here. When big wins come along as infrequently as they do for us, we know only too well what it feels like to be on the other end. We must treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated in such familiar circumstances.
What’s more, the season is long, and there will be many twists and turns along the way. You win some, you lose some. Taking some kind of tacky pleasure from simple accidents of fate would be to invite ridicule down the track should things not eventually work out in our favour. And let’s face it, they probably won’t.
So under the circumstances, what’s called for here is quiet satisfaction. And that’s what you’ll get from me. Right after I get this one thing off my chest:
I wasn’t going to attend this. Ellerslie vs Tauranga was meant to be my one and only NRFL excursion of the weekend, but on Saturday night this game was calling out to me. After the amazing Wellington Phoenix comeback on Friday and after Michaels Ave was so enjoyable, I was craving more football. Plus, after watching my favourite women’s footballers go two nil down in the first half hour and fail to recover vs Western Springs two weeks ago, I didn’t want to leave that as the last time I saw them for some weeks.
So head to this top of the table clash I did, with hope in my heart that it would yield a much better outcome for lovers of Hamilton football than Easter did… This hope dimmed slightly upon my arrival though. Looking at the Claudelands line-up was cause for a bit of head scratching. There was no sign of regular goalkeeper Georgia Williams and, instead, atop the team-sheet was the familiar name of striker Jeanette Adams in an unfamiliar spot.
Outfield players in goal for a team you support are not usually a recipe for a game you should watch without first consulting your GP. Especially if, like me, you have a family history of heart problems.
I was in fact slightly suspicious that Claudelands coach Alan Witt didn’t like something I wrote last time I saw his team play, and that this was some kind of well thought out assassination plot. A perfect crime it would be too. That was, until I was told that this is the second straight week that Adams has filled this role. Rather than feel some form of relief however, I confess that this news left me feeling slightly more concerned than I was before hearing it…
Perhaps my anxiety was slightly misplaced. Yes, there were a few jittery moments, but in general the Claudelands back four were excellent and protected their novice keeper quite well. And the midfield and strikers did their job too, starving their opponents of possession and giving the Hamiltonians a lead that endured the inevitable couple of mistakes between the sticks.
With the score 2-0 at half time thanks to goals from Kate Loye and Bethany Witt, this wasn’t yet quite enough to ease the nerves, especially with the attacking weapons at Three Kings’ disposal. The lead would have been safer for the visitors if it wasn’t for the Aucklanders’ proper shot stopper, (one of the best in the business) Rebecca Rolls, who played a blinder and kept her side well in the hunt. One felt during the break that this game could still turn quite quickly.
Those fears proved somewhat founded in the second half when one of the aforementioned strike weapons, Football Fern Jasmine Pereira, came storming onto a high ball, out muscled Adams with ease, and headed home the beginnings of a potential comeback. Fortunately for Claudelands though, they had a Football Fern of their own in Helen Collins who could answer in kind and put the game beyond doubt.
After all that, the question on everyone’s lips surely must be…
Who needs goalkeepers anyway?
Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.