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Tungsten (W)

Seatoun 0
Wellington United 2

Capital Football W League
Saturday 08 April 2017
Seatoun Park.

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

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After several years of teams failing to complete (or start) their Central League season, Capital Football is trying to stabilise the top women’s grade in the region. The new “W League” has the residue of the Central League: four Wellington teams, and Palmerston North Marist, plus Wairarapa United (2016 Capital Premier League champions). It’s a league without relegation, and a change from playing on Sundays to playing on Saturdays.

The new matchday meant I thought I would not be able to see much of this League, as I play Saturdays and it’s unlikely they’ll schedule a W League match as a curtain raiser at Happy Valley. But with the remnants of a cyclone causing my match to be postponed, I headed to Seatoun Park to see what this League was all about.

Each team in this match had the addition of a classy player from the Capital squad who were finalists in the National Women’s League, late last year. Seatoun had improved their squad with defender Tessa McPherson returning in the backline after a couple of winters in Otago, and Wellington United were bolstered with Briar Palmer and her left foot (returning to Wellington club football after a spell overseas, including some time at Melbourne Victory in the Australian W-League).

The match settled into a pattern with United dominating possession, but Seatoun’s Julia Baldwin breaking it up in the midfield. A lack of suitable attacking outlets for Seatoun (there were some notable absences today including Annie Olsen and Grace Surridge) meant when they gained possession that they were unable to break or were forced out wide and out of danger.

Maggie Jenkins had a long-range dipping shot drop onto the Seatoun crossbar midway through the first half, but it was scoreless at the halftime whistle.

Seatoun got off to a terrible start in the second half when Palmer scored a goal with a long-range shot that the Seatoun goalkeeper looked to have gathered easily. Instead, it squirmed past her body and trickled across the goal-line.

The confidence of the goalkeeper appeared to be rocked by this and a few minutes later she pushed a Michaela Robertson cross onto the crossbar when a catch or firmer push over the bar would have been safer options.

After 70 minutes, Palmer grabbed her second. A cross from Jenkins from the right was not adequately cleared by the Seatoun defence, and Palmer smashed the ball into the top corner.

The Seatoun crossbar took another rattling in the 75th minute when Jayme-lee Hunter’s header hit it.

Wellington United had a comfortable 2-0 win and, following their 12-0 win over Stop Out in the first matchday, take an early lead in the League. Upper Hutt also look strong, while Wairarapa have suffered heavy defeats. It could be a tight race for the top two, but it might seem like a long season for the bottom two, where they may sink like a heavy stone.

Words by Phil Clayton.
Photographs (and their captions) 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.

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