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The football ground merry-go-round

Forrest Hill Milford 5, Ellerslie 0
Ashley Reserve, Auckland, June 3 2018

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There were two Kate Sheppard Cup games scheduled for Auckland today. Norwest were set to face Fencibles in a 1pm all-Conference clash at Huapai Domain, an hour later than NRFL side FHM and the Conference’s Ellerslie were due to kick off their fixture at Becroft Park.

Then came the tempest.

It rained all night and all morning and as lunch time approached the main question of the day was exactly how wet we were going to get trying to watch football in the downpour. Then attention turned to whether there would be any football at all! It was certainly touch and go for a while there…

My original choice of a leisurely meander five minutes up the road to the local Westie fixture at Huapai was blown out of the water fairly early on. Fencibles defaulted. It’s not clear if this was due to all the rain – not many would have blamed them if it was! “Look you guys, if playing in the national cup competition means getting more soaked than an abandoned bowl of garbanzo beans, you can keep it!”

Meanwhile the last fixture standing was looking more iffy than a Folau family float at a Pride Parade.

Becroft was ruled out, essentially because it has, you know, dirt.

Instead the artificial pitch at Long Bay’s Ashley Reserve was chosen as the place to go. Except apparently it had a game booked on it. And, also apparently, there was the small matter of a pitch inspection that yielded a recommendation that an application be submitted to the Geographic Board to rename it the lost city of Ashlantis – given it was underwater at the time.

Hence a move to the North Harbour Stadium football turf. The people rejoiced – for there is a portion of cover for spectators there as an added bonus! Except it was also more of a water feature than a football ground at that stage.

But if the football gods were having a good old fashioned belly laugh at our expense, it appears that it reached the point where our constant determination to play the game somewhere, anywhere, eventually crossed that line over into the realm of boring the living crap out of them. So they turned off the tap! And after all that angst, the game finally went ahead an hour and a half behind schedule at Ashley without so much as a drop of rain over the entire 90 minutes.

It was a 90 minutes that the NRFL side dominated, as you might expect. But the gap in quality wasn’t exactly a chasm. Ellerslie didn’t get many if any genuine opportunities on attack but they defended well to the point where the score at the break was confined to a solitary Saskia Vosper penalty to nil.

The floodgates opened a little bit in the second half. Anneka Mittendorf got on the end of a 50th minute corner to nod home and double FHM’s advantage before Greer Macntosh drove home to make it 3-0 just two minutes later. Sam Tawharu saw her hard toil all game rewarded with a goal that spluttered and spun in via the fingertips of the Ellerslie Keeper and the post, before Mittendorf grabbed her second to complete the day’s scoring with 14 minutes of regulation time remaining.

A tough result on paper for Ellerslie, but they should be relatively pleased. The gap between the Northern League and the Conference appears to be closing. Some years ago we would have expected a double figure drubbing at least in a game like this.

And with both Onehunga Sports and Norwest through to the next round, it will be interesting to see if one of them can provide us with the K-Shep’s first ever memorable cupset!

Categories: NZ Kate Sheppard Cup

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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: http://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

1 reply

  1. Thanks for covering the game Enzo – we are pleased with the performance, did feel we could have nicked something if we had come in at halftime at 0-0.
    That penalty call really hurt.
    Congrats to FHM though.

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