WaiBOP 4, Auckland 2
John Kerkhof Park, Cambridge, November 6 2016
Today presented me with yet another great excuse (not that I really need one) to set off on my favourite football road trip – to Cambridge’s John Kerkhof Park – where yet another crunch National Women’s League encounter was taking place.
The race for the semi-finals is so delicately poised right now, that it’s likely that the third and final post-season spot will come down to goal difference. In order to set up that enticing prospect, WaiBOP faced a must win game at home against Auckland – who had a massive point to prove. They were defeated in their own do or die encounter at the hands of Capital last week, so today was all about restoring a bit of pride for a team that’s much better on paper than their winless record suggests.
And Camford Bridge never disappoints when it comes to classic football contests!
WaiBOP came out of the gates strongly and well and truly bossed the game for the first twenty minutes or so, racing out to a three goal lead. Their first was struck by Sarah Krystman, but from there it was the Helen Arjomandi show! The deadly former Football Fern bagged two in quick succession to leave the visitors reeling. Her first was a dinky little header, then the second was a barnstorming run from deep in her own half, monstering her way through a series of defenders before lashing her shot past Ashleigh Emery.
Auckland coach Tracey Wrigley rung the changes at that point, bringing Bella Richards and Nicole Mettam on and the impact was immediate. All of a sudden WaiBOP seemed to go sleepy bobos. Evie Millynn scored to bring the deficit down to two, and Auckland could have had more if they hadn’t directed a couple of golden chances straight at the keeper.
Into the second half, and Auckland continued to dominate. Another substitute, Maisy Dewell, pulled another one back with about twenty minutes left and at 3-2 the visitors had all the momentum. But just when it seemed like an equaliser, and yet another entry in the long, long, long list of Waikato football capitulations I have been subjected to, was coming our way, up stepped Arjomandi who completed her hat-trick with a wonderful thunderous shot from outside the box to settle things once and for all.
I would have taken a photo of the epic goal celebration, but I was too busy celebrating myself with my trademark Cambridge Leap.
Personally, I now have a huge incentive to hope with all of my might that WaiBOP can pick up a point when they entertain Canterbury in a fortnight’s time. If they do, they may well end up hosting the Mainlanders in the preliminary final back in Cambridge a couple of weeks after that! If they lose that but keep the score down, they may well end up travelling to English Park and I would REALLY want to be there despite the fact that I really can’t afford the flights having blown my football travel budget on a trip to Napier for the Chatham Cup earlier in the year.
I regret nothing! Having said that though, it might be time to start looking around the house for things to sell… Do we really need furniture?
But first, WaiBOP have a trip to the Deep South ahead of them next week, where their mission will be to run up as big a score as they can – as big if not bigger than Capital’s 5-1 win over the same opposition today. Meanwhile Capital will have a chance of their own to get a point or three out of a Canterbury side who will be smarting from today’s loss to Northern – a result that barring catastrophe should see the final hosted North of the Harbour Bridge.
Next week’s other game will see Auckland take on Central. This fixture has been moved to Riverhills after the Eastern Suburbs men’s Stirling Sports Premiership game, taking place at the same time, was shifted to William Green Domain. I don’t dislike Riverhills but it is irksome that the women get shuffled off to a perceived lower quality venue because the men’s national league takes priority.
Nevertheless, that’s where I’ll be next week to see if it will be Auckland or Central that climbs up off the bottom of the table. And speaking of tables, come and see me there if you want to buy one. Or a couch, or a TV…
Categories: NZ Women's National League
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.