Forrest Hill Milford 1, Glenfield Rovers 3
Becroft Park, Auckland, April 9 2017
Derbies are a lot like the words in the English language. Ever evolving, some of them are as old as the hills and yet while others may barely be five minutes old, it’s obvious that they are here to stay forever – like ‘selfie’, ‘rivalism’ and ‘VAR’…
The NRFL Women’s Premier derby between Glenfield Rovers and Forrest Hill Milford is a case in point. It’s only in its fifth year, but it’s already proving to be a great rivalry with some spine tingling history.
Who could forget last season’s Women’s Knockout Cup final, where FHM overcame Glenfield on penalties after coming from behind twice – once inside the allotted 90 minutes and then again in extra time. That, two years after a 3-2 final defeat of FHM by Glenfield that prevented their North Shore rivals from doing the double – FHM having won the Northern League with Rovers hot on their heels in second place.
And no derby is worthy of the name until it’s had a much loved star player who has added to the fabric of the rivalry by doing the unthinkable and switching sides!
The Maia Jackman award winner for most valuable player in last season’s epic cup final, Tessa Berger, has not only switched clubs but also ends of the pitch. The former rock solid defender has crossed the Northern Motorway to play for the bitter enemy as a striker! Oh, the intrigue…
Looking at this year’s teams, there have been a few changes. FHM’s new coach Ben Bate looks to be going for a youth development approach, replacing departing players with young ‘uns who are fresh from winning the NZ Under 17 tournament just a few short weeks ago. This is quite a refreshing change really. A couple of years ago I was writing about rumours of FHM buying the league with a team of mercenaries. Whether the money side of it was true or not, now it seems they are taking a much more laudable and sustainable approach regardless – albeit a more long term one.
It was looking very long term a week ago, if reports of their performance in going down 3-0 to Claudelands Rovers were to be believed. But this week they pleasantly surprised me with a defiant performance against a very strong looking Glenfield side despite their two goal loss.
It was FHM who got on the board first via an 18th minute Malia Steinmetz goal. But Katie Rood was looking well on form throughout the match, ducking and weaving her way all around the final third, and it was just a matter of time before she got on the score sheet. Her equaliser came in the 37th minute and was a well taken shot – dissecting three defenders and Emily Couchman, who pulled off some great saves in this game but couldn’t keep this one out.
FHM conceded the lead just two minutes into the second stanza via the dreaded ‘oggie’ route. Then Rood doubled her tally in the 66th minute, effectively putting the result to bed.
At the start of last season I picked Glenfield to add to their two Northern League crowns, earned back to back in 2010 and 2011, and jinxed them something chronic – they ended up in fourth, twenty points off the pace – so I’ll do them a favour and refrain from doing so again.
All I’ll say is the team I think will win the league this year starts with G and rhymes with Lenfield.
Meanwhile, I liked what I saw from FHM. I don’t like my chances of coming up with something sensible that rhymes terribly well with Forrest Hill Milford by the time I’m picking them to win the league, but them’s the breaks…
Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier
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