Eastern Suburbs have lost their 100% winning record in the National Women’s League after losing 2-1 to Canterbury United Pride.
The loss means the Lilywhites will have to wait at least another week to book their place in the Grand Final, as they need one more point from their three remaining games.
Pride, who have struggled at times this season, took the game to Suburbs at a wet William Green Domain, and took the lead in the 21st minute when Charlotte Roche finished off a move with a well-taken shot from just inside the penalty area.
Suburbs levelled in the 39th minute with a fine solo effort from Deven Jackson. She received the ball 35 metres out and ran between two defenders, lining up a shot that was always going to find its target.
The sides turned around, level at 1-1.
The crucial moment in the game came a minute after the restart when Canterbury won a corner.
The inswinging ball fell into a crowded box and players from both sides lunged and scrambled. But Pride’s Chloe Bellamy got the vital touch and it went over the line, as Suburbs players complained there had been a foul.
Main photo: Pride’s second goal is awarded despite protests from Suburbs.
Suburbs piled on the pressure towards the end of the game, building from the back and trying to find a way through the well-organised Canterbury defence.
In added time, Canterbury almost increased the lead when Bellamy broke and crossed for Britney-lee Nicholson to shoot from close range, only for Suburbs ‘keeper Brooke Bennett to save at point blank range.
The final whistle went to the obvious delight of the visitors.
For Suburbs, it means waiting another week, at least, to confirm their spot in the December 18 Grand Final.
Game played on Sunday November 20, 2022
Eastern Suburbs 1 (Deven Jackson 39′)
Canterbury United Pride 2 (Charlotte Roche 20′, Chloe Bellamy 47′)
Games played on Saturday November 19, 2022
Southern United 1 (Emily Morison 78′)
Capital Football 1 (Pepi Olliver-Bell 25′)
Northern Rovers 4 (Leanna Ryan 26′, Kelli Brown 27′, Mackenzie Longmuir 34′, Shannon Henson 60′)
Central Football 0
Game played on Friday November 18, 2022
Western Springs 3 (Sofia Garcia 73′, 87′, Emma Pijnenburg 75′)
Auckland United 2 (Bree Johnson 31′, Maya Vince 64′)
Games to be played on Saturday November 26, 2022
Capital Football v Western Springs
Petone Memorial Park, Petone, 12.30pm
Canterbury United Pride v Auckland United
Venue TBC, 1pm
Games to be played on Sunday November 27, 2022
Central Football v Southern United
Massey University, Palmerston North, 12pm
Eastern Suburbs v Northern Rovers
Madills Farm, St Heliers, 1pm