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Wellington United 2, Victoria University 3
Newtown Park, Wellington, May 5 2018

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They say you can’t beat Wellington on a good day, and they are perfectly correct. The saying refers to the weather and is really more put-down than compliment – the implication being that there aren’t many good days, if any. But the fact remains that on a cloudless and still day, the place still sparkles in a way that nowhere else can. And six days into May, in the closing stages of Autumn and just a few short weeks from deep dark winter, let the record reflect that it was officially t-shirt weather in our nation’s capital today.

There’s no reason why the saying can’t refer to the quality of the football as well, and it certainly did today.

I was in the so-called windy city this weekend, sent down for my union’s national conference that took place on Friday and Saturday, and I opted to stay on an extra night so I could rectify a disappointment I suffered a few weeks ago when I was down on Labour Party business. That week, I had been keen to catch ITBOTN writer Ella in action for her Victoria University Capital Premier side. They were playing on the Kapiti Coast though, and while I was more than up for the road trip my schedule simply wouldn’t allow it.

This time however, there were no impediments. And it was a huge game on offer.

Going into this match, there were three unbeaten teams in the league after three rounds: Vic, the Sapphires and Waterside Karori. The Wellington United Sapphires are the defending champions, having won this division by five points last year after only one defeat – at the hands of today’s opponents.

As for Vic, they had the chance to step up to the W League at the beginning of this year following the withdrawal of Stop Out from the top of the pyramid (a familiar tale for Northern League fans) but they rejected the invitation, instead preferring to earn promotion the old fashioned way. Today was a good opportunity to prove that they made the correct decision.

Things were looking a bit shaky in that department early on, after Nat Olson opened the scoring for the home side in the 16th minute with a shot that Vic keeper Laurel Smith thought was drifting wide so neglected to attempt a save only to watch with some horror as it snuck inside her far post.

It was looking like 1-0 would be the half time score, until we were treated to a seven minute goalscoring blitz starting with a 40th minute equaliser for Vic courtesy of Georgia Moore. Just three minutes after that the visitors had the lead when a cross eluded several players who might have put it away only to find its way to Claudia Weller, who made no mistake with an open net before her. But before Victoria could celebrate a half time lead, Jade Morrisey levelled things up once again for United in the second minute of time added on.

All things considered, 2-2 was probably a fair half time score, but from that point forward the second half largely belonged to Vic. In all honesty I’m not entirely sure if this can be fairly and accurately attributed to our Ella coming off the bench as a super sub straight after the break, but what the hell, it’s my write-up so I’m just going to do it anyway!

The winning goal was scored by Sam Haseltine in the 75th minute, a looping free kick from the right hand corner of the penalty area that eluded the outstretched fingertips of United goalkeeper Nicole Dalley and bounced in across the goal line.

Victoria University now share top spot in Cap Prem with Waterside Karori, who defeated Kapiti Coast United at Wakefield a little later in the afternoon. The clash between the two remaining unbeaten sides in a fortnight’s time will be well worth a look! Sadly I am running out of organisations that want to send me South…

Categories: Other NZ Federation Leagues

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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.

2 replies

  1. U tube ‘sapphires v uni’ to see the clear onside that Uni keeper/defenders convinced the ref was off !

    1. Pretty hard for the ref with no ARs. I was surprised there were no bench players or volunteers with the flags! 🙂

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