A fine individual goal by Auckland United striker Milly Clegg has earned the Junior Ferns a 1-1 draw against the Young Matildas in an U-20 friendly international.
The draw, to some extent, healed the hurt of last week’s 5-1 win by the Australians in the first of their two-match series.
Sunday’s rematch was a very different matter with the New Zealanders matching the Young Matildas and almost stealing the win with the last move of the game at Viking Park, Canberra.
The Young Matildas took the lead in the eighth minute when Sarah Hunter broke into space and carefully placed her 20-metre shot high into the top corner of the New Zealand goal with ‘keeper Murphy Sheaff unable to get to it.
Sheaff kept the Junior Ferns in the contest with a fine double save after 31 minutes, keeping out Australia’s Kahli Johnson.
Two minutes later, Auckland United forward Clegg bustled her way through the Matildas’ defence, forcing ‘keeper Chloe Lincoln to push her shot wide for a corner.
In the 38th minute, Clegg again used her height and strength to force herself between a trio of defenders before calmly slotting the ball wide of Lincoln to make it 1-1.
That’s how it stayed till half-time.
Main photo: Teammates congratulate Clegg (22) on her goal.
In the second half, New Zealand grew in confidence and for periods of play dominated possession and often looked the most likely to find a winner.
They went closest in the third minute of added time when Kate Taylor ran behind the Australian backline to get onto a cross, volleying over the bar.
Video replay: Clegg’s goal
Click on image to watch Milly Clegg’s goal
Video replay: Full game replay
Junior Ferns squad
Alyssa Whinham; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Aniela Jensen; University of the Pacific, USA
Ava Pritchard; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Brianna Edwards; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Charlotte Lancaster; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Charlotte Wilford-Carroll; Eastern Suburbs AFC, NZ
Chloe Bellamy; West Coast Rangers FC, NZ
Emma Pijnenburg; Western Springs AFC, NZ
Jana Niedermayr; Eastern Suburbs AFC, NZ
Jemma Catherwood; Wellington United AFC, NZ
Kate Duncan; Auckland United FC, NZ
Kate Taylor; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Kitty Jacob; Western Springs AFC, NZ
Macey Fraser; Wellington Phoenix Academy, NZ
Marisa van der Meer; Melbourne City FC, NZ
Milly Clegg; Auckland United FC, NZ
Murphy Sheaff; Jacksonville University, USA
Olivia Ingham; Wellington Phoenix Academy, NZ
Rene Wasi; Unattached
Rylee Godbold; Hamilton Wanderers AFC, NZ
Te Reremoana Walker; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ
Tui Dugan; Arizona State University, USA
Zoe McMeeken; Wellington Phoenix FC, NZ