Western Springs and Eastern Suburbs will contest the Grand Final of this year’s Women’s National League.
Springs secured their berth in the big game on Sunday December 18 with a 9-0 rout of bottom team Central Football at their Seddon Fields home.
Needing a win to be sure of making the final, Springs showed no mercy as they punished every mistake by the visitors, and only an outstanding performance by Central goalkeeper Sophie Campbell kept the margin in single figures.
It was a bitter-sweet result for Springs who now farewell three key players, all of whom are heading overseas and will not be available for the Grand Final.
Rina Hirano, who scored two goals in her last game, Emma Pijnenburg, who also got on the scoresheet, and Arisa Takeda have all been essential components in a Springs side that has scored 45 goals in the national league.
Springs took the lead after 14 minutes when Jess Innes ran through and hit an angled shot across the goal, finding her target just inside the far post.
Hirano doubled her side’s lead in the 21st minute, thumping a shot high into the net from an acute angle.
Campbell made two excellent saves to deny Springs striker Sophia Garcia.
Springs made it 3-0 when Garcia and Hirano combined to set up Sam Tawharau for her goal a minute before the break.
Hirano scored her second goal seven minutes after the restart when she received a through-ball from Tawharau and was able to swivel and shoot past Campbell.
In the 64th minute, Hirano was denied her hat-trick when her shot hit the post.
Garcia made it 5-0 when she finished a pass from Sofia Dyer.
In the 73rd minute, captain Lily Jervis made it 6-0 when she headed home a corner.
Main photo: Jervis and teammates celebrate the skipper’s goal.
Pijnenburg scored in the 81st minute, striking from the edge of the area.
Two minutes later, substitute Rhee Morrison scored a cracking goal, controlling the ball with one foot and then volleying it with the other, her shot flying into the net from the edge of the area.
Springs wrapped up the result with a ninth goal in the dying minutes, when Innes scored from an inswinging corner that eluded the Central defenders.
For Springs, the three points ensured that nearest rivals Northern Rovers could not catch them, regardless of their result against Canterbury United Pride.
Northern Rovers confirm third placing
Northern Rovers made sure they will finish the season in third place after an entertaining 6-3 win against fourth-placed Canterbury United Pride.
Rovers took a 2-0 lead into half-time after early goals from Suya Haering and Alexis Cook.
The game came alive early in the second half when Charlotte Roche pulled back a goal when her shot took a wicked deflection.
A minute later, Cook helped Rovers regain the lead after an error by goalkeeper Una Foote.
In the 50th minute, Pride’s Lauren Dabner scored with a vicious shot from outside the area.
Within a couple of minutes, Rene Wasi restored Rovers’ two-goal margin when she steered the ball between defenders after Pride failed to clear a corner.
On the hour, Pride cut Rovers lead to 4-3 when Chloe Bellamy got on the end of a cross to the far post, heading it past ‘keeper Ellen Blount.
Kelli Brown scored with a chip over ‘keeper Foote to make it 5-3 in the 64th minute.
Rovers wrapped up the scoring when captain Talish Green scored from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute.
Games played on Saturday December 3, 2022
Western Springs 9 (Jess Innes 14′, 88′, Rina Hirano 21′, 52′, Sam Tawharau 44′, Sophia Garcia 66′, Lily Jervis 73′, Emma Pijnenburg 81′, Rhee Morrison 83′)
Central Football 0
Northern Rovers 6 (Suya Haering 10′, Alexis Cook 16′, 49′, Rene Wasi 52′, Kelli Brown 64′, Talisha Green 73′ pen)
Canterbury United Pride 3 (Charlotte Roche 48′, Lauren Dabner 50′, Chloe Bellamy 60′)
Games to be played on Sunday December 4, 2022
Auckland United v Capital Football
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 1.30pm
Southern United v Eastern Suburbs
Dunedin Artificial Turf, Dunedin, 12pm