Northern Rovers have claimed their Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League title with four rounds of competition still to go.
They made sure of the title with a scoreless draw at home to West Coast Rangers, enough to take the crown off last year’s champions Eastern Suburbs.
In the process, they extended their unbeaten run to 17 league games this season and added a 10th clean sheet to an impressive defensive record.
Here’s our round-up of the latest WPL games:
Rovers do enough to confirm title with 0-0 draw
Working their outfield bench, Rovers coach Benjamin Bate made sure 15 of his champions were on McFetridge Park to celebrate their WPL title win at the end of a scoreless draw with West Coast Rangers.
The scoreline might not have been the one they wanted but Rovers needed a point to be sure they could claim the title, and that’s what they achieved.
West Coast Rangers can claim to have given the new champions two of their toughest challenges this season as they lost the reverse fixture only 1-0, and no other team has so far done as well to blunt the Rovers attack.
Rovers have four remaining fixtures, including a potential humdinger against arch-rivals Auckland United.
Originally scheduled for August 20, the match will need to be shifted because both sides are engaged in Kate Sheppard Cup semi-finals that day.
Auckland United might hold the key to whether anyone can prevent Rovers from a league/cup double, and going unbeaten through the season.
For the record, the 15 players to claim the title today were Ellen Blount (goalkeeper), Talisha Green (captain), Greer Macintosh, Suya Haering, Leanna Ryan, Danielle Canham, Shannon Leigh Henson, Michaela Foster, Breeze Durham, Alexis Cook, Chelsea Elliott, Kate McConnell, Gabrielle Jenson, Riley Sheldon, Mackenzie Longmuir.
The coaching and support staff were Benjamin Bate (coach), Gene Granger and Liz Savage (assistant coaches), Jade Henley-Smith (physio) and Ella Dorward (team manager).
Puketapu double restores winning form for United
A double from Martine Puketapu led Auckland United to a 3-0 win against Hamilton Wanderers at Keith Hay Park.
Having surrendered the WPL title through their midweek loss to Northern Rovers, United were keen to return to winning ways and they got off to a flyer through Bree Johnson’s opening goal in the third minute.
As half-time approached, striker Puketapu doubled United’s advantage with her seventh goal of the season.
The teams went into the break with United leading 2-0.
Wanderers, who were without leading scorer Helen Arjomandi, held firm for most of the second spell but Puketapu grabbed another in the 81st minute to put the result beyond doubt.
Puketapu’s goal took her past Tessa Leong as United’s leading scorer this season.
Suburbs grab late winner at Ellerslie
Eastern Suburbs may have seen their champion status pass on to Northern Rovers but their fighting spirit remained intact as they came back from 1-2 down to beat Ellerslie 3-2.
Tayla O’Brien opened the scoring for Suburbs in the fourth minute.
Ellerslie skipper Cat Pretty levelled from the penalty spot in first half stoppage time, after referee Beth Rattray ruled that Lucy Carter had fouled an opponent.
The Ponies took the lead in the 53rd minute through Marie Green but Suburbs came back almost immediately with a goal from Nicole Cooper.
The game was heading for a 2-2 draw when substitute Deven Jackson showed why she’s the competition’s Golden Boot leader, popping up to grab the winner with five minutes left. It was her 12th goal of the season.
Springs celebrate return to Seddon Fields with 2-0 win
Western Springs made the most of their return to a refurbished home pitch at Seddon Fields by beating bottom side Tauranga City 2-0.
The visitors made Springs work hard for their win, holding them to a scoreless first half.
However, Jess Innes broke through for the home side in the 55th minute and Tauranga couldn’t find a way back.
With five minutes to go, Springs captain Sofia Garcia ensured the win by making it 2-0.
Games played Sunday August 7, 2022
Northern Rovers 0
West Coast Rangers 0
Auckland United 3 (Bree Johnson 3′, Martine Puketapu 43′, 81′)
Hamilton Wanderers 0
Ellerslie 2 (Cat Pretty 45+2′, Marie Green 53′)
Eastern Suburbs 3 (Tayla O’Brien 4′, Nicole Cooper 55′, Deven Jackson 85′))
Western Springs 2 (Jess Innes 55′, Sofia Garcia 84′)
Tauranga City 0
Hamilton Wanderers host Tauranga City at Porritt Stadium on Wednesday August 10, 2022 (7.30pm kick-off).