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Guest Post – Flying High, Lime Light

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By Michael Welsh

One of the many clichés that Tim Vickery utters in his role as spokeswomble for the World Football Phone-in is about ‘moments’. My favourite bicameral organ isn’t what it once was, so I can’t quite remember exactly what it is he says, but it’s something along the lines of “Brazil doesn’t win on flow anymore, they win on moments”.

Personally, I like to think that every game of football is won (or lost) on moments. Sometimes these moments are obvious – such as when your keeper gets a red card – and sometimes they are more subtle. Then there are the moments in the game that just bring a smile to your face.

This is more an exploration of the latter from the greatest game I have had the privilege to shoot: Capital Football’s penalty shootout win over Enzo’s beloved WaiBOP in the National Women’s League pre-final.


1 – The Warpaint

Two weeks ago, Capital beat Northern and they had what I called their warpaint on. Understandably, they brought it out again, even though it wasn’t very sunny on Sunday. Two of the players tried to get Emma Evans to participate in the ritual, but she was having none of it as she “didn’t wear it last time”.

2 – Asha’s tongue

Asha is one of the Wellington United Diamonds, the team that I spent all winter following around the lower North Island. Her father is a big fan of ours, and we have a bit of banter on the sideline – originally about how I needed to take more photos of Asha, but more recently about how I need to get photos of Asha with her tongue in. I managed to pull this off in the last game of the season.

Asha Strom, with no tongue on display. Are you happy now (you know who you are)?

Asha Strom, with no tongue on display.

3 – Clearance collisions

Something I quite like is when little innocuous clearances hit somebody unexpectedly. The first instance of this I recall from Sunday was just after the first WaiBOP goal. Anna Wittman-Wenzel picked the ball out of the net, and booted it upfield, as one does. It sailed harmlessly through the air until it hit one of the WaiBOP players in the shoulder. I chuckled to myself. The second, more amusing, instance was when one of the Capital defenders pushed the ball out along the ground for a throw-in. It hit the kerb underneath the fence, bounced up, and got a spectator who wasn’t paying enough attention in the face. There were a few more chuckles this time.

4 – Mickey hits the post

I’ll let the photos do the talking this time.

5 – Mickey wins a header

Every so often, one hears apocryphal rumours that Michaela Robertson has won a header. I managed to catch two possibilities on Sunday.

6 – Police Predictions

Football predictions are often terribly wrong. But there was a prediction made on Saturday that quadrated exactly with what happened on Sunday. Sandy, one of Tash Ingram’s teammates from Wellington United Diamonds, predicted the following:

  • Anna would get sent off.
  • The game would go to penalties.
  • Tash would be the shootout hero.

7 – Nonchalant Briar

Briar Palmer has been a real leader for the Capital team this season. On Sunday, I recall two particular moments. The first, shown in the photo below, was when she was getting in a little scrap with Kate Williams. The call “play the advantage” came out from somewhere, Briar gave Kate a little push, then nonchalantly laid the ball off. The second was later in the game. Briar fed a ball through for Mickey to run on to, but something went ever so slightly wrong, and it hit the back of Mickey’s boot. Briar, never fazed, collected the unintentional back-heel and played on like nothing had happened.

Briar Palmer nonchalantly lays the ball off.

Briar Palmer nonchalantly lays the ball off.

8 – Olympic goals

Olympic goals have reared their heads a few times on ITBOTN. On Sunday, it was Maggie Jenkin’s turn.

9 – A moment’s silence

The teams share a moment's silence for the victims of the plane disaster in Colombia.

The teams share a moment’s silence for the victims of the plane disaster in Colombia.

10 – Supersub Emily

Emily Morison, who came on to score the winner against Northern two weeks ago, was at it again. It was the 95th minute, and He-who-must-not-be-tagged had informed me that there were going to 6 minutes of additional time. She collected the ball, rounded Amanda Wilshier, and slotted home, sending the crowd nuts (and Enzo into one of the stages of grief).

11 – Subbing subs

It’s not often you see a sub get subbed, and even less often when that sub has had such a big impact on the game. Partway through the second half, Asha Strom was replaced in the holding midfield role by Kennedy Bryant. Kennedy then proceeded to put Helen Arjomandi firmly in her back pocket, basically nullifying any threat posed by WaiBOP. It was more than a little surprising then, to see Ella Wilson come on in the antepenultimate minute for Kennedy, and even weirder when Ella didn’t take a penalty.

12 – Perfectly-timed photo

One of the photos I’ve been aiming to get is one of a perfectly timed header – the moment when the ball and forehead collide. I managed to pull one off on Sunday.

Tessa McPherson heads the ball.

Tessa McPherson heads the ball.

And there you have it. Twelve ‘moments’ from the game, from the viewpoint of a one-eyed Wellington photographer.

[Michael Welsh is a Wellington football photography enthusiast who often very generously contributes his photos to this blog. This is the first time he’s written for us but we will no doubt hear more from him next time a Wellington team beats a WaiBOP one. You should like his Facebook page here and follow him on Twitter here.]

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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