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Central Football 2, Football South 0
Memorial Park, Palmerston North, November 8 2015

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“If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick.” – John Cleese

I had never been to Palmerston North before yesterday.

On the one hand it seems odd that a New Zealander has never set foot in one of the North Island’s most significant urban centres and only has the word of a famous British tourist to go on when it comes to a blunt assessment of the place. But on the other hand, its reputation does precede it and there isn’t much known to be there that draws one in when thinking about places to visit. On this occasion it was the Labour Party Conference, which took place in the city over the weekend, that was the root cause of my visit but the game of ASB Women’s League that coincided with it definitely provided a bit of extra incentive to make the trip.

I’ve never been one to join the clamour to take cheap shots at cities that other people call home and while Palmerston North seems to be to Wellingtonians what Hamilton is to Aucklanders, I can’t possibly countenance that kind of snobbery!

Memorial Park looks as though at one time in its life it was a concrete cycling velodrome that I can only imagine must have been extremely brutal to come off your bike on… On one side there is a block of changing rooms that looks like it hasn’t changed much since around about the 1930s… and on the other side a rusty looking iron canopy covering the concrete terraces.

But where others see drab and dull, I see a different kind of beauty. As I alluded to in my midweek post last week, there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with a bit of rustic charm – on the contrary, this is exactly the type of interesting setting that makes lower league football great. In short – Memorial Park is my kind of shithole.

(Chances of me ever being allowed back after that – practically zero – but I really did mean it as a compliment! This is me being nice!!)

But anyway, I wasn’t there just to admire the surroundings and offend the locals with my JAFA diplomacy! There was, after all, a very interesting ASB Women’s League game on offer. Even if it was a battle for the wooden spoon. Those are sometimes the best battles of all!

South should be a tad disappointed with their effort, as if they had played as well as they did when I saw them play Northern at the start of the season they would have been a real chance to win this game. But instead, Central dominated to an extent that if it wasn’t for some real heroics in goal by South’s Tessa Nichol the score would have been more like 5 or 6 nil. As it was though, first half goals from Imogen Boss and Jane Barnett were the difference in a result that flattered the visitors.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

In other results, Mainland came out on top in a remarkable 6-5 game against WaiBOP in Hamilton. Northern dispatched Auckland 2-0, severely wounding their semi-final hopes, and Capital went down 4-2 to Development in Wellington.


Mainland have opened up a four point gap between themselves in second and Development in third. That last playoff space could be decided next week when WaiBOP host Development at Gower Park. If the visitors win that the three semi-finalists will have all been found. But even if WaiBOP take third back next week, they will still almost certainly need to win a mission almost impossible against Northern the following Sunday if they are to stay there.

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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