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Capital Football 1

Canterbury United Pride 3

National Women’s League

11 November 2017

Petone Memorial Park

Words by Phil Clayton. Photos by Enzo Giordani.


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Much has been made of the Pride having four current Ferns in their squad and how that might affect them when the Ferns are in Thailand later in November. While the three Ferns who saw playing time contributed to their usual high standard (Meikayla Moore, Annalie Longo, Aimee Phillips), it was the other players who stepped up to make this a dominant performance from Canterbury. Players like Tahlia Herman-Watt, Briar Guyan, Whitney Hepburn, Chloe Jones, Mel Cameron, Macey Fraser all made major contributions to this Canterbury win.

This repeat of the 2016 Final was surprisingly not featuring either of the current top-2 teams in the league, with that honour going to Southern United hosting Northern Football Federation. The points in the Capital v Canterbury match would be a huge boost to the teams chasing the top spot or the two playoff spots.

Canterbury’s goalkeeper Briar Guyan has been around the squad for a few years, and it was good to see her get some game time. Although Una Foyle started the first two Pride matches this season, Guyan has played the latest two, with Vic Esson on the bench.

The Pride had a back-3 of Rebecca Lake, Meikayla Moore, and Chloe Jones. They had two wing backs in Emma Clarke and Tahlia Herman-Watt. So essentially a group of 5 composed of four Coastal Spirit players plus Moore. A solid basis for organisation and the ability to attack wide.

Whitney Hepburn played in front of the back line and had an impressively solid game. Winning many challenges. On her day, she can be very difficult to beat.

Macey Fraser played alongside Hepburn in midfield and contributed tenacity and the odd creative moment.

Annalie Longo played behind a front pairing of Aimee Phillips and Mel Cameron. The latter getting her first goal of the National League season.

Canterbury’s formation allowed them to play around Capital [my thoughts on Capital this season can be found in my post on their match v Central], by using their wingbacks, having them one-on-one with Capital defenders and beating them, while having enough defensive resilience to handle Capital’s attacking threats. In the second half, when Capital had the wind at their backs, the Pride made some substitutions to add pace to their defence so that the through balls could be met with and dealt with.

Canterbury were getting joy down the left early on, Hepburn put a cross to Phillips who headed it down into the turf and it bounced wide of goal.

Ten minutes later, Longo sent Herman-Watt free down the left she outpaced the defence and cut a cross back into the goal area. A capital defender got a touch on it and the ball headed towards goal and Phillips who had overrun the cut back was standing at the near post to tap in from closed range. The first goal.

It was 2-0 to Canterbury in first-half stoppage time. Cameron put the ball into the net on the second attempt from close range after a scramble at a corner.

Canterbury got off to a fast start in the second half. Three shots in the first 90 seconds. Two went over the bar, before Phillips was tripped by Serena Murrihy and a penalty was awarded. Moore converted it to give the visitors a three-goal lead.

With the wind behind them, Capital started to create more than they had in the first-half, and grabbed what turned out to be a consolation goal from a Kennedy Bryant header from a corner midway through the half.

Final score was a 3-1 win for Canterbury United Pride.

While there were many impressive individual performances, the one that stood out for me was Tahlia Herman-Watt on the left for Canterbury who had the better of Capital’s right back Katie Barrott, especially in the first half. I wasn’t expecting such a dominant display from Herman-Watt, and it was great to watch her confidently take on and beat her marker.

Words by Phil Clayton. Photos by Enzo Giordani.


There was plenty of representation from the grassroots media in attendance, with Jeremy Ruane (photos NZ Soccer Scoreboard), and yomcat (photos on facebook), each capturing moments from the match. As well as myself, Enzo, and kiwibardy providing the coverage in this blog post.

Categories: NZ Women's National 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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