Northern Rovers have poured on the pressure for a place in the Women’s National League grand final by moving to within two points of rivals Western Springs.
The two Auckland clubs look to be locked in a battle to see who’ll meet Eastern Suburbs in the December 18 grand final.
Suburbs are all-but-mathematically certain of a spot in the final after a 9-1 rout of bottom side Central Football.
Here’s our round-up of Saturday’s matches:
Main photo: Central Football goalkeeper Annie Foote … a busy day against the league leaders.
Suburbs put Central to the sword again
Eastern Suburbs overran bottom side Central Football 9-1, beating their rivals by an eight-goal margin for the second time this season.
The Lilywhites despatched Central 8-0 in the second round of competition and a repeat drubbing was always on the cards when the sides met at Massey University.
Suburbs started their goal onslaught in the third minute when Nicole Mettam was left unmarked to steer home her shot from 12 metres.
Central levelled after 12 minutes with the goal of the game when Grace Smith fired home a spectacular shot from 25 metres.
But normal service resumed a couple of minutes later when Deven Jackson reclaimed the lead for Suburbs.
In the 21st minute, the Lilywhites stretched the lead to 3-1 when Olivia Page tapped in, following up a Tayla O’Brien header that rebounded off the bar.
In the 32nd minute, O’Brien played provider again, setting up Jackson’s second of the day.
In the 39th minute, O’Brien got a goal for herself, hitting a controlled shot from the edge of the area that dipped beneath the crossbar.
The sides turned around with Suburbs firmly in charge at 5-1 and dominating possession, and running Central ragged with patient build-up play from the back.
A refreshed Central kept Suburbs contained for the opening spell of the second half but O’Brien finally broke through in the 61st minute, calmly slotting a shot home from 12 metres, her sixteenth goal of a stellar season.
In the 74th minute, Juliette Lucas increased the lead to 7-1 when she punished Central for lax marking in the box.
Three minutes later, Charlotte Carroll struck the eighth of the day for Suburbs with a looping shot from outside the area.
In stoppage time, Lucas added the ninth with a tap-in after following up a shot saved by the ‘keeper.
Rovers keep up final push with 4-0 win at Capital
Northern Rovers kept up their challenge for a grand final spot with a 4-0 win against Capital Football at Petone Memorial Park.
The win was sparked by an outstanding performance by Rene Wasi who tormented the Capital defence with her quick and incisive runs.
She opened the scoring in the 21st minute when a mis-hit clearance by Capital goalkeeper Molly Simons fell in her path, giving her a clear shot into the net.
A minute later, Mackenzie Longmuir scored the goal of the game, firing a shot from the edge of the area into the right right of the net, giving Simons no chance.
The sides turned around with the Aucklanders ahead 2-0.
Rovers stretched their lead to 3-0 within minutes of the restart, when Wasi scored her second, putting home a rebound off the ‘keeper.
Substitute Shannon Henson finished the scoring in the 75th minute when she was on the end of a smart move by Kelli Brown and captain Talisha Green down the right flank.
The win puts Rovers two points behind second-placed Western Springs who meet Canterbury United Pride in Christchurch on Sunday.
Games played on Saturday November 12, 2022
Central Football 1 (Grace Smith 12′)
Eastern Suburbs 9 (Nicole Mettam 3′, Deven Jackson 15′, 32′, Olivia Page 21′, Tayla O’Brien 40′, 62′, Juliette Lucas 73′, 90’+3′, Charlotte Carroll 76′)
Capital Football 0
Northern Rovers 4 (Rene Wasi 21′, 48′, Mackenzie Longmuir 22′, Shannon Henson 75′)
Games to be played on Sunday November 13, 2022
Canterbury United Pride v Western Springs
English Park, Christchurch, 1pm
Auckland United v Southern United
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 1.45pm