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Three Kings United 5, Eastern Suburbs 1
Keith Hay Park, Auckland, April 10 2016

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People who watched Eastern Suburbs demolish pre-season favourites Glenfield Rovers 6-2 last weekend might be forgiven for doing a double take when they see this result – a drubbing of the same magnitude! This season is shaping up to be a bit of a curly one.

The first thing that looked a bit odd today was the sight of all the players I’m used to seeing in different coloured strips! Chief amongst them was Paige Satchell in the green of Three Kings rather than the red of Claudelands, and the likes of Kate Seatter, Daisy Cleverley and Tayla O’Brien having swapped the swan of Forrest Hill for the lily of Eastern Suburbs.

This game had all the makings of a classic with two strong teams that were hard to separate on paper. Shortly before kick off I asked Jeremy Ruane who he thought would score first, so that I could go to that end and blame him if all the goals went in at the other. He said Three Kings but I doubt even he would have picked the extent of the lop-sidedness of the first half.

The visitors’ misery was already well in train as early as the ninth minute when Marty Puketapu – recently back from long term injury – slotted from out in front with only the keeper to beat. Things went from bad to worse for Suburbs about ten minutes later when Claudia Crasborn burned off Kate Seatter down the left and doubled the home side’s advantage. Then only two minutes after that Erinna Wong steered home an own goal and just like that it was three zip – a score that endured until the break with the team in white really struggling for a way into the game.

You can never count out this Suburbs team though – a young group of players who are more than capable of coming back from deficits with a canny gaffer in the form of Mauro Donoso cooking up schemes on the sidelines… I thought we could well still be in for a second half more interesting than the first.

And it was, even if we were destined not to end up with a close game on the scoreboard. Right away there were two substitutions for the visitors with the ex FHM duo of Daisy Cleverley and Tayla O’Brien coming in to compliment the Mount Albert Grammar youngsters and they both seemed to make a genuine impact with Suburbs spending a lot more time on attack from that point on.

But it was Three Kings who again found the back of the net a bit after the hour mark with a Hannah Blake goal that well and truly killed off the match as a contest. On Eastern Suburbs plugged however, and their perseverance finally paid off when O’Brien bludgeoned home a goal with ten minutes left to play. There was still time for one more addition to the score sheet when another own goal made it five for Three Kings in the 87th minute.

Despite the score it was still a high quality game with lots of skill and commitment on show in drizzly wet conditions.

A quick anecdote in closing.

One of the things I love about women’s football, as I have highlighted in the past, is the lack of diving. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a female footballer go down in the box with minimal contact, sometimes to their detriment! There was one classic example of this today. Paige Satchell was driving into the penalty area with a clear bit of interference from Suburbs’ Leah Mettam. The attack came to nothing and as a result there was a frustrated call from a male spectator “you’ve got to learn to fall over!!” And it’s true, if Satchell had gone down she may well have won a penalty (although contact was initiated outside the box on that occasion).

But my contradictory message to all women in the game is this – keep being awesome!

Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier

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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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