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A bookie’s dream

Three Kings 5, Glenfield Rovers 1
Keith Hay Park, Auckland, May 8 2016

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Before this game, there were still three teams I hadn’t yet blogged about so far this NRFL Women’s Premier League season. Those three sides were Glenfield, Norwest and Western Springs. I had been planning to go to Becroft Park yesterday, to check out Forrest Hill coming up against one of those sides, Norwest, but I changed my mind at the last minute. The reason for this stemmed from me doing something I deliberately never do – indulging in a pick the score contest on the Northern League Forum!

When playing a game like this, probably to my detriment, I always feel the need to pick at least one upset. Because upsets happen all the time, right? And there’s nothing that makes you feel more clever than being able to say you knew it all along – even when it’s more likely that you simply fluked a lucky guess!

So for this round, my upset was picking Glenfield to beat Three Kings. For which I was told I was dreaming!

But, you know, stuff it, I thought it was plausible… And being told it would never happen got me passionate enough about it to want to go along and find out how right or wrong I really was!

Besides, I wanted to see what is going on with Glenfield. They were my pick to win the league before the season started. Largely unchanged from the team that is coming off back-to-back New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup victories, when compared with the wholesale changes that most of their rivals have endured, I thought this would stand them in good stead for this season. They have since suffered some unforeseen losses however with hugely experienced Estelle Harrison departing to return to her beloved North to name just one important departure.

Then there’s Three Kings! They look like an absolute juggernaut at the moment, in contrast to last season when they had a similarly strong start before falling away drastically from around about this point onwards. This year’s teal terriers (a suitable patronising name I made up for them just now) have a very ‘2014 Forrest Hill Milford’ look about them – we keep waiting for someone to stop them in their tracks, but they just keep on winning.

And in all fairness to my prediction – it wasn’t even close. They dominated Glenfield from start to finish.

By my count there were four clear cut chances for Three Kings to score in the first thirty minutes to Glenfield’s two. For the home side, Hannah Blake blazed over the bar from space, Marty Puketapu stung the keeper’s gloves twice, and Jessie Mathews also forced a save out of Kaitlyn Savage. For the visitors, it was Grace Evans and Katie Rood who got themselves into good scoring positions but couldn’t quite seal the deal.

It was Blake, in the 30th minute, who initially broke the deadlock. Paige Satchell did most of the hard work in her typical barnstorming style before slipping the ball through to her teammate for an easy tap-in.

It was at this point that we were treated to the undisputable quote of the year – Glenfield’s keeper Savage to the referee with a wildly gesticulating finger tracing a line back and forth along her back four: “TELL ME WHICH ONE OF THESE GUYS WAS KEEPING HER ONSIDE SO I CAN YELL AT THEM!!”

Then it was all Three Kings from where I was standing. There were two scuffed chances for Blake before she made amends by doubling her tally in the 42nd minute with a beautiful strike from the edge of the penalty area and right in front – once again given too much space.

After that here was time for one more Puketapu pot-shot denied by Savage and that was half time. It took barely ten minutes of the second stanza for the age group international to finally earn her place on the score sheet though – taking the score to 3-0.

But then Glenfield began to enjoy a bit of a period where it looked like a comeback wasn’t entirely outside the realm of possibility. Rood in particular was managing some excellent forays into the Three Kings attacking third, managing at least one shot on goal, but it was Belinda Van Noorden who nonchalantly scored and brought the score back to 3-1 in the 68th minute.

But just seven minutes later any hope of a grandstand finish was snuffed out when Tessa Leong made it 4-1 before Hannah Robert polished things off with six minutes of regulation time remaining.

And with that, my career as a Northern League Forum tipster ended in disgrace!

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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