Auckland 3, Southern United 2
McLennan Park, Auckland, November 11 2018
Armistice Day was marked by a complete lack of respectful observance on the part of the Football Gods in South Auckland. Rather than ceasefire, in their infinite wisdom they saw fit to mock all who dared attend the National Women’s League clash in Papakura by viciously attacking with the kind of unrelenting drizzly porridge that isn’t enough to soak you instantly. However over the course of 90 minutes of standing out in it, the cumulative effect drenches one’s clothes, camera gear and soul.
On the plus side, at least the positively tropical comparative temperature was a far cry from the first 20 minutes or so of watching Southern last week! This time I could at least feel my fingers.
Nonetheless, getting to watch Southern for the second week in a row and the fourth time this season was a luxury in itself considering last year we only got to see them north of Palmy once – for the semi-final!
And if, like I was, you were thinking that given last week’s loss that put them out of contention for a place in the final, this week’s game might not see them playing with quite the same zing we’ve come to expect – you were very mistaken!
The game started with my usual photography luck. I stood at the end Southern were attacking because I wanted the wind at my back to avoid water on my lens but after twenty minutes, with Auckland making all the running, I had to move or risk having nothing to show for the first half.
Then almost as soon as I moved, Southern found their way in the game and started to give more than they got. So now not only was I standing around like a goober with nothing to shoot but my lens was soaking wet as well!
Back to my original spot I trotted and…
I know what you are thinking – of course Auckland scored! That’s what I was fully expecting too. But no! Emily Morison latched onto a stray back-pass and slotted for Southern!! Right in front of me!! Before I had set my camera up again. So I got nothing…
Grace Jale hit back shortly after to restore parity but it was a short lived equilibrium. Morison grabbed a cooly taken second to send the visitors into the sheds with an unexpected advantage but not before a stonking double save from Jordan Woodward off Jade Parris that was worth the price of admission in itself.
Ok, so admission was free, but it was still bloody good!
Southern will have been weary though – the pain of Auckland’s injury time winner in Dunedin in round three surely still seared into their consciousness.
Unfortunately for them however, they couldn’t prevent something of a repeat of their September demise even if the Auckland comeback was a bit earlier this time.
Jale doubled her goal tally for the day with a classy finish in the 69th minute before, fifteen minutes from time, Nicole Mettam did a pretty fair Lucy Carter impersonation with a screamer from distance!
That result leaves the race to the final interestingly poised as we start to round the home turn. The Pride have a four point lead over the Lights who in turn have a three point lead over Auckland – who have a game in hand. Capital are probably out of the hunt now so it’s down to those three.
The Pride have the most challenging of the runs home so everything is still up for grabs. Including New Zealand Football’s Photo of the Week award which based on all the evidence to date you need to capture a celebration shot in order to win.
All I have to do is pick the right end…
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.