Eastern Suburbs and Western Springs have emerged as clear favourites in the race for the Women’s National League title.
Both sides won their fourth-round games to preserve their 100% winning records and they have taken a five-point lead over their nearest rivals.
Suburbs were impressive in beating Northern Rovers 5-2, with a hat-trick from Deven Jackson, while Springs beat Capital Football 3-0.
Here’s our round-up of Saturday’s games:
Main photo: Hat-trick scorer Deven Jackson (23) celebrates with teammates. Photo: Joan Grey.
Jackson hat-trick inspires Suburbs to 5-2 win
A hat-trick by Deven Jackson fired Eastern Suburbs to a 5-2 win against local rivals Northern Rovers at McFetridge Park.
Rovers twice led in the game but Suburbs proved too strong, and overpowered the home side late in the game.
Rovers took the lead after four minutes when Suburbs’ Ella Findlay put the ball into her own net, trying to turn a cross to safety.
Within a minute, Jackson forced a save from
Rovers ‘keeper Ellen Blount, shooting from 30 metres.
A minute later, Jackson won the ball on the edge of the area, and shot again, this time directing it just out of Blount’s reach and inside the post.
On the half-hour, Rovers were awarded a penalty when Leanna Ryan was brought down by Annie Byrne who mis-timed her tackle.
Michaela Foster calmly placed the ball inside the post to give her side a 2-1 lead.
Suburbs equalised in the 30th minute when a goalmouth scramble led to Tayla O’Brien getting the last touch, after Blount’s attempted save pushed the ball onto the post and into the striker’s path.
In the second half, the Lilywhites increasingly took control of the game.
Patient build-up paid off in the 67th minute when Saki Yoshida fired home a shot from the edge of the area.
A couple of minutes later, Suburbs had the ball in the net again but O’Brien’s effort was ruled out after intervention from the assistant referee.
Suburbs wrapped up the game — and declared themselves as potential title favourites — with two late goals.
In the 90th minute, Jackson was left unmarked and she took her time before firing an angled shot into the net.
In the third minute of stoppage time, Jackson completed her hat-trick when she received the ball 40 metres from goal, went past two defenders and neatly finished.
Hirano double keeps Springs’ winning record intact
A Rina Hirano double set up a 3-0 win for Western Springs against Capital Football at Seddon Fields.
She gave the home side the lead after half an hour when she dribbled between players, shook off a tackle and put it past the ‘keeper.
That gave Springs the lead at half-time but the side put the pressure on as soon as the second spell began.
In the 48th minute, after patient build-up play, Jess Innes ran through a pack of defenders. Her first attempt rebounded off a defender but she controlled the ball, poked it forward and then finished with a shot inside the far post.
The result was wrapped up in the 54th minute when Hirano scored her second of the day.
The goal started with a cross beyond the far post from Maggie Pedersen. As it looked to be going out of play, Sofia Garcia got her foot to it, hooking the ball back across the face of the goal where Hirano had an easy tap-in.
After four rounds, Springs have shown their capability at both ends of the pitch, and have the tightest defence in the competition, having conceded only three goals.
The loss keeps Capital without a win after four rounds.
Southern overcome Central with three-goal burst
Southern United beat bottom-placed Central Football 3-0 in Dunedin, scoring all their goals in a 10-minute second half spell.
Central Football may have lost their fourth game but they are learning how to put up more resistance.
They held Southern goalless for more than hour and were able to hold possession in spells, indicative of their improvement.
Southern took the lead in the 63rd minute with a gem of a goal.
Kennedy Bryant received the ball on the edge of the area and she had time to choose her target, firing the shot high into the goal.
Three minutes later, Margarida Dias doubled Southern’s lead with a carefully aimed lob over ‘keeper Annie Foote.
in the 72nd minute, Southern repeated the effort with a move reminiscent of their second goal. This time it was Abby Rankin who chipped over the ‘keeper from the edge of the area.
Games played on Saturday October 8, 2022
Northern Rovers 2 (Own goal 5′, Michaela Foster 30′ pen)
Eastern Suburbs 5 (Deven Jackson 6′, 90′, 90+3′, Tayla O’Brien 40′, Saki Yoshida 67′)
Western Springs 3 (Rina Hirano 33′, 54′, Jess Innes 48′)
Capital Football 0
Southern United 3 (Kennedy Bryant 63′, Margarida Dias 67′, Abby Rankin 72′)
Central Football 0
Game to be played on Sunday October 9, 2022
Auckland United v Canterbury United Pride
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 3pm