WaiBOP 0, Central 1
Massey University, Palmerston North, October 20 2018
The 5am alarm. It’s curious to me that what constitutes the most heinous racket in the world on a work day can be such a sweet, sweet melody of the gods on the first day of a long weekend when there’s a football road trip in the offing!
On Monday through Friday when my alarm goes off I roll over, bury my head as deep into my pillows as it will go and pretend I can’t hear anything until the very last minute before delaying the start of my day any further could result in missing a meeting. Yet on a day like this, it was my absolute pleasure to bound out of bed with all the enthusiasm of a Tory MP who’s just been offered seven completely separate donations of exactly $14,000 and one of precisely $2,000 in perfectly divided increments to total $100,000 by pure coincidence.
For this was a special day. I was setting off on a magical journey to watch one of my favourite football teams play twice in one weekend. And things couldn’t have unfolded any more wonderfully.
Despite media reports of clogged roads and expected crashes, we had a dream run for the most part. Leaving our West Auckland casa before 6am, we were enjoying a Maccas breakfast in Bombay by 6:30 and despite stopping three times along the way for refreshments and the call of nature we still managed to arrive in Palmerston North with minutes to spare in the six and a half hour Google estimate for a non-stop journey. Along the way, we were treated to some of New Zealand’s finest scenery in the King Country and the Central Plateau.
What a lovely place Palmerston North is too – a veritable banquet of culture, heritage, fine dining, stunning architecture and picturesque scenery is abundant throughout this sought-after holiday destination. I still can’t believe how truly fortunate we were with the traffic. The teeming hordes of holiday makers must have streamed in on Friday night.
After a whistle stop tour of the sights of the CBD, we headed out to Massey University for the primary purpose of our visit – an opportunity to see my beloved WaiBOP play Central in the first of two ‘double header weekend’ clashes, the second one being due to take place on Monday at the same venue.
And the pure joy didn’t stop there either. What a spectacle this game truly was as these two sides went at each other hammer and tongs.
A strong breeze favoured WaiBOP in the first half and they used it to relentlessly attack the Central goal, drawing some spectacular defence from a feisty Central back four and some stunning saves from Central keeper Amelia Simmers who must be a leading candidate for player of the match.
Attacking into the wind in the second stanza, WaiBOP had things slightly less their own way, but they none the less continued to dominate as shots ricocheted of posts and crossbars, others missed wide and high by coats of paint, and others still were thumped away with aplomb by some dogged last ditch defence.
As the game wore on into the last 15 minutes or so, things got even more exciting as Central grew in confidence! Georgia Candy was called upon to make a couple of sharp saves for WaiBOP and at the other end Freya Partridge-Moore, so often the architect of WaiBOP’s vexation throughout the afternoon, appeared out of nowhere to rob Grace Wisnewski of an open net with the goalkeeper trailing in her wake.
Into injury time we went with the scores still locked at nil apiece. How exciting! Such delight! Could this day get any better? The answer to that question is it couldn’t and it didn’t.
Instead, Charlotte Lancaster scored for Central on the counterattack in the 92nd minute to leave WaiBOP heartbroken for the second time in two weeks and I literally loathe everyone and everything with the burning intensity of 1,000 suns. Football is a stupid fucking game, I hate it and I’ve always said so.
Categories: NZ Women's National League
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.