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Wellington United 17
Valeron Wanderers 0

Women’s Central League
Sunday 22 May 2016

This looked like it was going to be a top versus bottom of the table match; until midweek, when Massey University’s 3-0 win over Valeron was revered due to an ineligible player, and Valeron snuck off the bottom of the league.

Valeron, from Palmerston North, are a one-team club, and avoided relegation by grabbing an equaliser in the final ten minutes of the last match they played in 2015.

Wellington United are usually slow starters in this League, kicking-on later in the season when they benefit from a partnership with PEC Zwolle which sees the Dutch club lend them a player or two, who usually arrive midway through the season.

This year United have also benefited in another way from the relationship with PEC Zwolle with Michaela Robertson and Jayme-Lee Hunter developing their skills in the Netherlands recently.

Are United the real deal with the potential to win the league this year? Too hard for me to say, having seen Upper Hutt and Palmerston North Marist also play against weaker opposition, it’s clear they’ll be the top 3. I hope to cover some of the matches between those 3 (and am disappointed I’ve missed a couple already).

The goals in this 17-0 win to United were scored by:

Michaela Robertson:
1 robbed defender in 2nd minute and went one-on-one with goalkeeper;
2 beat 3 players on left, then shot past goalkeeper;
3 played a 1-2 with Hunter through centre, then poked it past the goalkeeper;
4 played a 1-2 with Hannah Wignall, who cut it back to Robertson and she powered it into the net.
Jayme Lee Hunter:
1 received a curled pass to the left and shot across keeper,;
2 reacted first to a shot that hit the post;
3 tapped in cross which was missed by defender.
Maggie Jenkins:
1 powerful shot;
2 stolen after Alder had slid the ball past the goalkeeper, on target but a defender was near the goal line, Jenkins made sure;
3 well-placed header.
Sandy Cumpstone:
1 free header from corner;
2 tapped in rebound off keeper from 2nd phase of corner;
3 on end of cross;
4 turn and shot received pass from Tara Elmes.
Sarah Alder:
1 shot near post off post into net.
Asha Strom:
1 power shot from distance.
Own goal:
1 from corner.

Wellington United’s played out of the back, short passing to create space then using the opportunities that arose from dragging the defender around. Valeron sat very deep, possibly to try to counter the speed in attack that players like Michaela Robertson and Hannah Wignall possess. This just provided more room in midfield for the United players, such as Cumpstone who could drop into the gap and orchestrate the attacks.

When Valeron gained possession, they transitioned the ball to attack quickly. This allowed them to create several half chances, catching out a United defence missing a couple of their usual players. Valeron’s best chance was late in the game when a ball upfield bounced over a United defence and Maegan Welsh shot from a long way out, catching the United keeper off her line but the shot was narrowly wide.

The match was brought to a premature close after a head injury to Wellington United’s captain Sam Kendrick in the 83rd minute. Five minutes later, with Kendrick unable to be moved and an ambulance on the way to Newtown Park, the referee blew the final whistle/abandoned the match to the relief of both sets of players on what was the coldest and wettest footballing day in Wellington so far this year.

I’ve since heard that Kendrick’s injury wasn’t as bad as the initial symptoms suggested it could possibly have been. No doubt that the correct decision was made to not move her and wait for more qualified medical assistance.

Words by Phil Clayton.
Photographs of this match by Michael Welsh (Dr yomcat shoots).

Categories: NZ Women's Central/W-League

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Phil Clayton

Phil Clayton's feet are registered with Brooklyn Northern United but—despite having moved back to Wellington from Christchurch in 2011—his heart is still bonded with Coastal Spirit FC.

3 replies

  1. No doubt United Diamonds are the ‘real deal’. A great structure in place at the club not just with the Zwolle connection, but with the infusion of talented younger players in both the game day and larger squad. With the majority of the squad under 20, and in fact a number in the 15-17 bracket, United are poised to become the benchmark Wellington women’s team for some years under the expert guidance of Guillermo Schiltenwolf and Elliot Tailer.

    1. I admire what Wgtn Utd have developed over the past couple of years, and, as you say, there’s potential for them to become stronger still. I imagine Upper Hutt have similar ambitions to become the benchmark, as they have good depth and are developing an impressive style with several promising players. Seatoun lack that depth, but are a handful of players away from becoming competitive again. I saw the last few minutes of Stop Out v Moturoa at the weekend, and Stop Out looked comfortable in their 4-1 win—I’ll have to see a full-match of theirs soon & write-up a post. Wairarapa in CapPrem also have ambition to regain past glories. So while Wgtn United are in pole position (with Upper Hutt also near the front of the grid), they can’t afford to stall and risk being overtaken.

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