Hand almost heads late winner as Ferns draw 0-0 with Wales

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Substitute Jacqui Hand went closest to breaking the deadlock as New Zealand and Wales played out a scoreless draw in their international friendly played in Spain.

As the game entered its final minute, Hand got her head to a cross from Grace Jale, steering it goalwards only for Wales goalkeeper Laura O’Sullivan to steer the ball onto the crossbar.

That moment summed up the match — the Football Ferns had been restricted to half-chances, none of which they could convert, while a busy O’Sullivan was later acclaimed for her Player of the Match performance.

Main photo: O’Sullivan tips the ball onto the bar as Hand (left) lands after her leap to meet Jale’s cross.

Wales had their best chances in the first half when they briefly had more than their share of ball possession.

Ceri Holland could not quite finish a Rachel Rowe cross. Natasha Harding’s shot was deflected just wide of New Zealand’s far post.

For the rest of the first half, New Zealand controlled the play, stringing passes together and winning back-to-back corners.

Annalie Longo, playing her 126th game for the Ferns, almost got to a near-post cross.

Then defender Meikayla Moore ventured up field and was almost rewarded when she got her head to a cross, only to see it fly over the bar.

Another first-half opportunity fell to Ferns Liz Anton, whose shot was pushed over the bar by O’Sullivan.

In the second half, Olivia Chance made a dangerous run but was thwarted by Liverpool fullback Rhiannon Roberts as the Kiwi midfielder looked likely to score.

New Zealand will take some positives from the match — a clean sheet, more game time for newcomer Kate Taylor, a debut for Ally Green and a start for Malia Steinmetz. Captain Rebekah Stott led the side well and Claudia Bunge again looked confident and strong at the heart of the Ferns defence.

But the draw extends New Zealand’s winless run to seven games and the side has won once in 11 games since coach Jitka Klimková was appointed.

Result

Games played Wednesday June 29, 2022 (NZT)

Wales 0
New Zealand 0
Pinatar Arena, Pinatar, Spain

Highlights

Match stats

Possession: Wales 46%, New Zealand 54%

Shots: Wales 6, New Zealand 5

Shots on target: Wales 1, New Zealand 2

Passes: Wales 252, New Zealand 293

Pass accuracy: Wales 70%, New Zealand 70%

Fouls: Wales 7, New Zealand 6

Offsides: Wales 0, New Zealand 0

Corners: Wales 3, New Zealand 4

New Zealand

Victoria Esson (GK), Elizabeth Anton (Ally Green, 58’), Claudia Bunge, Meikayla Moore, Rebekah Stott © (Kate Taylor, 64’), Katie Bowen (Jacqui Hand, 82’), Olivia Chance (Grace Jale, 82’), Malia Steinmetz (Betsy Hassett, 58’), Annalie Longo, Paige Satchell, Hannah Wilkinson (Gabi Rennie, 64’)

Unused Subs: Lily Alfed (GK), Erin Nayler (GK), Mackenzie Barry, Daisy Cleverley, Emma Rolston

Wales squad

Laura O’Sullivan (GK), Rhiannon Roberts, Hayley Ladd (Josie Green, 63’), Gemma Evans, Rachel Rowe (Ffion Morgan, 63’), Sophie Ingle © (Anna Filbey, 81’), Angharad James, Carrie Jones (Lily Woodham, 46’), Tash Harding (Meg Wynne, 74’), Kayleigh Green (Helen Ward, 74’), Ceri Holland

Unused Subs: Olivia Clark (GK), Poppy Soper (GK), Chloe Bull, Elise Hughes, Georgia Walters, Chloe Williams

Post-match interviews

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