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Dead centre

New Zealand Development 7, Central Football 2
Northern Football 11, Capital Football 2
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, November 1 2015

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Halloween came a day late for the lower North Island’s two premier women’s football teams yesterday. As the competition’s regular season passed its midway point, they both fell victim to opponents who treated spectators to a double massacre at North Harbour Stadium’s outer oval.

Last week I was left with little alternative but to write a little bit about the joys and frustrations of watching a 0-0 draw. Today I find myself in the even more unenviable position of having to do the complete opposite, fresh after having witnessed two absolute pastings. I don’t particularly enjoy being a complainey complainster but work with me here people! Something in between wouldn’t go amiss!!!

Of course the real story is the ominous message these two winning sides delivered to the rest of the league. Two teams who have arguably both started slowly are now hitting their straps and looking rather hard to stop. Particularly Northern, who until now have not looked as convincing as they should despite their perfect record. What a statement this was, against a Capital side who other results suggest should be strong enough to compete somewhat in a match-up such as this.

The young ‘uns victory might not have been quite as impressive, they had to come back from surrendering the early lead to a confident looking Central outfit, but it’s only the immensity of Northern’s victory that makes Development’s pale slightly in comparison. That, and a solid second half performance from the side in green that managed to stem the flow right up until the dying stages.

I won’t bore you with any of the gory details. You can read about them elsewhere. Suffice it to say that everyone in the league who played Northern and Development in rounds 1-3 should breathe a quiet sigh of relief right about now.

In other results Auckland secured their second 0-0 draw in a row, this time a slight shock at the citadel that is the lair of the Mainland Pride, and WaiBOP dispatched South 4-1 in Dunedin.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?????

With four rounds gone, three rounds to go and three playoff places up for grabs – the table (pilfered from the NZF website without asking, hope they don’t mind) looks like this:

Tavola

Northern could still mathematically miss out on the post-season but they would have to lose all three of their remaining games, or two out of the three coupled with a goal difference shift so big I doubt it could happen if they tried to do it on purpose, so – in short – not going to happen. A home final is theirs for the taking.

Contenders for the other two places, and their runs home, look as follows:

Mainland: WaiBOP (A), Northern (H), South (A) – My admittedly terrible maths tell me they only need one more win to seal a playoff berth. Assuming I’m right about that they will get it against South at the very least if not before.

So that leaves a scrap for the other spot between:

WaiBOP: Mainland (H), Development (H), Northern (A) – Brutal. As much as I want to suggest otherwise I fear it will be another year of missing the playoffs for the two-time finalists… Unless they can prove me wrong – they are quite good at that…

NZ Development: Capital (A), WaiBOP (A), Auckland (H) – Favourites, surely. Especially after yesterday’s performance.

Auckland: Northern (H), Central (H), Development (A) – A definite outside chance.

The rest: Stick a fork in them, they’re done.

Categories: NZ Women's National League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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