Eastern Suburbs and Western Springs are heading for a showdown next weekend as their Friday night wins put daylight between them and their nearest rivals in the Women’s National League.
Suburbs beat Auckland United 5-0 and Springs outran Northern Rovers 4-1 for both sides to maintain their 100% winning starts to the season.
Main photo: Georgia Brown celebrates her goal for Springs while Rovers defenders look forlorn.
After six rounds, both have maximum points and are eight points clear of third-placed Rovers.
But something’s got to give … and it’s going to be when the two in-form sides meet at Seddon Fields next Friday night (October 28).
Here’s how they won their latest games:
Second-half power gets Springs home
After being held scoreless by half-time, Western Springs came home strongly to beat Northern Rovers 4-1 at Seddon Fields.
Springs took the lead in the 54th minute when Rina Hirano crossed for Emma Pijnenburg to finish.
However, Rovers came back straight away, levelling within two minutes when Leanna Ryan took the ball to the byline and crossed hard and low for unmarked Kelli Brown to score from close.
In the 70th minute, Hirano was brought down by goalkeeper Ellen Blount, and referee Anna-Marie Keighley pointed to the penalty spot.
Arisa Takeda calmly scored from the spot to give Springs a 2-1 lead.
Rovers, missing Michaela Foster who has signed for the Wellington Phoenix, were still in the game but needed to score next.
Instead, substitute Georgia Brown stretched the Springs lead to 3-1, after capitalising on a cross from the left flank.
Jess Innes made absolutely sure of the win when she scored from a long-range free-kick that sailed over Blount’s outstretched hand and into the net.
On-fire Suburbs cruise to big win against Auckland United
Eastern Suburbs romped to a 5-0 win against Auckland United on the unfamiliar territory of William Green Domain.
When you’re in red hot form, you often get your share of luck too … and that’s how Suburbs took the lead after only four minutes.
Nicole Cooper struck a fairly tame shot that took a wicked deflection and wrong-footed Jesse Barnard in the United goal.
Cooper scored her side’s second goal in the 14th minute when leading scorer Tayla O’Brien muscled her way through the United defence to set up an easy finish for her teammate.
O’Brien scored the third in the 22nd minute, a solo effort commensurate with a player at the top of her game.
The sides turned around with Suburbs coasting at 3-0.
In the 53rd minute, Georgia Martin cleared off the line for United, but her effort only delayed the inevitable for a minute when a cross from Aimee Atkins was smashed home by Erinna Wong.
Atkins continued to taunt the United defence and in the 81st minute she pinged over a perfectly-placed cross for O’Brien to head home the fifth goal of the game, and O’Brien’s 10th for the season.
The sides meet again on Monday, at United’s Keith Hay Park.
Games played on Friday October 21, 2022
Western Springs 4 (Emma Pijnenburg 54′, Arisa Takeda 72′ pen, Georgia Brown 86′, Jess Innes 90′)
Northern Rovers 1 (Kelli Brown 56′)
Eastern Suburbs 5 (Nicole Cooper 4′, 13′, Tayla O’Brien 22′, 82′, Erinna Wong 54′)
Auckland United 0
Games to be played on Saturday October 22, 2022
Canterbury United Pride v Southern United
Venue TBC, Christchurch, 1.30pm
Central Football v Capital Football
Massey University, Palmerston North, 3pm
Games to be played on Monday October 24, 2022
Northern Rovers v Western Springs
McFetridge Park, Glenfield, 1pm
Capital Football v Central Football
Petone Memorial Park, Petone, 2pm
Auckland United v Eastern Suburbs
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 3pm
Southern United v Canterbury United Pride
Venue TBC, Dunedin, 3.15pm