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The beautiful game

Three Kings United 3, Forrest Hill Milford 0
Keith Hay Park, Auckland, August 13 2017

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Picking games is always a bit tricky for me at the business end of the season. I try to be present whenever trophies are clinched, but this must be balanced with practicalities. I can’t watch the same team every week for three weeks either waiting for them to get the job done or just in case their major rival unexpectedly slips up and gifts them the title.

Last year I did very well, attending every title clinching match across four divisions on the first try. This year it was so far so good on Saturday, when Onehunga Sports took out men’s premier. But yesterday I wasn’t so lucky!

To be fair, it was both a bit of a long shot and not my first choice game to attend.

The original plan was to watch Manukau City’s women’s first team’s last game of the season before they are promoted to the AFF/NFF Conference next year – but that was postponed.

So this was my second choice, knowing that a Three Kings win coupled with an Eastern Suburbs loss to Claudelands over at Madills Farm would result in silverware getting handed over at Keith Hay Park.

It wasn’t to be. Even though they were suffering the loss of a few key players to the Football Ferns Development Squad, Suburbs still managed to get the job done against their Hamiltonian opposition.

Three Kings certainly fulfilled their end of the bargain though!

The 3-0 score probably flattered FHM a little. They had a difficult day at the office with only one sub on the bench, and she had just finished playing in a reserves fixture with only nine other players largely due to, as I understand it, a number of injuries picked up in school football.

The first half was characterised by lots of Three Kings attacking, and lots of spectators (this one included) nervously checking Twitter trying to find out the score in the other game! But both games remained scoreless until we passed the 42nd minute mark. At Keith Hay that was in no small part down to some great acrobatics between the sticks by Swans keeper Emily Couchman.

Emily, by the way, has an Instagram page especially dedicated to photos of her with terrible facial expressions, featuring a scarily large amount of my work. It’s well worth a look.

Sometimes I get shots that might be great football photos but they don’t necessarily show players in their best light… Emily’s match winning save in last year’s Knockout Cup final is a case in point! Occasionally they are so unflattering that I don’t publish them. For example, this wasn’t ever going to see the light of day but I feel this paragraph needs an example (sorry Michaela)…

So you see, players may think I publish horrible photos of them all the time but in my defence I do give it some thought and it can always be worse!! I’ve also never refused a request to delete.

Anyway, I digress. The game’s opening goal finally arrived three minutes shy of the break when Lily Dowsett rounded Couchman and slotted. Thanks to that the home side took a 1-0 lead into the sheds and, with the score still locked at 0-0 in Kohimarama, Three Kings were champions as things stood.

But not long after the break, news filtered through that Suburbs had scored not once but twice. Hannah Blake scored for Three Kings in the 54th minute and slotted a penalty in the 72nd, but the mood around the ground was sombre nonetheless. Everyone understood that the title is now Suburbs’ to lose. The Lilywhites simply have to beat the same opposition that Three Kings dispatched yesterday and the trophy will be theirs to lift on Friday night.

I’m sure the Suburbs players will be breathing a huge sigh of relief. Not only are they now the hot favourites to win the league but my camera will be useless under the Becroft Park floodlights so there will be no more ugly pictures of any of them this season! Well, none that anyone will distinguish through the blur…

Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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