Canterbury United Pride have won what could turn out to be a vital game in their quest for a seventh national title when they beat Auckland United 3-2 in an entertaining match at Keith Hay Park.
After a ding-dong battle that saw four first-half goals, the winner came from substitute Petra Buyck, her third goal off the bench in the four rounds played.
The win keeps the Pride six points behind the two leaders in the Women’s National League.
Canterbury struck first in the 14th minute when Kate Guildford was left unmarked and her header from 10 metres looped over goalkeeper Jesse Barnard and into the net.
Two minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead when Chloe Bellamy — who had played her winter football for West Coast Rangers — ran onto a long through ball, and calmly took it round the ‘keeper.
Main photo: Bellamy (left) sends the ball into the empty United net.
Auckland United bounced back within a minute.
Bree Johnson ran through the Pride defence and fired in a shot from an angle that sneaked inside the far post.
In the 28th minute, Johnson’s second goal levelled the scores.
Alosi Bloomfield won possession for United and exchanged passes with Johnson, who got into space and lined up a shot that gave ‘keeper Una Foyle no chance.
After the end-to-end action of the first half, which ended 2-2, the second half turned into a tense battle, and it started to look as though one goal could decide it.
In the 76th minute, that winning goal came.
Bellamy won the ball and pushed it into the United penalty area, creating a shot that ‘keeper Barnard blocked with her feet. The rebound fell to substitute Petra Buyck who kept her shot low and into the net.
The win keeps the Pride in sight of the competition’s dual leaders while United drop into the bottom half of the table.
Games played on Sunday October 9, 2022
Auckland United 2 (Bree Johnson 17′, 28′)
Canterbury United Pride 3 (Kate Guildford 14′, Chloe Bellamy 16′, Petra Buyck 76′)
Games played on Saturday October 8, 2022
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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