Eastern Suburbs suffer injuries to key players in loss to Southern United

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Two leading Eastern Suburbs players have suffered injuries a fortnight ahead of the Women’s National League’s Grand Final.

The competition’s leading goalscorer, Tayla O’Brien, hobbled off in pain with an ankle injury while U-20 international Ella Findlay was carried from the pitch with a lower leg injury in Suburbs’ 2-1 loss to Southern United.

Meanwhile, Auckland United came from behind to beat 10-player Capital Football 3-2.

Here’s our round-up of Sunday’s games:

Southern United fight back for stoppage time victory

Southern United upset league leaders Eastern Suburbs, coming from behind to beat the Aucklanders 2-1 in Dunedin.

With the Grand Final two weeks away, Suburbs coach Stephen Hoyle rotated his squad, resting 11-goal striker Deven Jackson and making five changes to the previous round’s starting line-up.

The sides played out a scoreless first half.

Five minutes after the restart, Suburbs lost the competition’s leading goalscorer, Tayla O’Brien, to an ankle injury. She hobbled off the pitch, raising concerns about whether the injury will put a Grand Final appearance at risk.

Tayla O’Brien’s game was ended by this injury to her left ankle.

Just after the hour mark, Suburbs went ahead with a superb solo effort from Aimee Atkins who controlled a ball into the box, evaded two markers and struck the ball high into the roof of the net.

Southern levelled in the 67th minute when Emily Morison hit a speculative cross high into the Suburbs penalty area that flew over the head of ‘keeper Kate Payne and into the goal.

In the 75th minute, Suburbs suffered another injury when U-20 international Ella Findlay was carried to the sideline with a lower leg injury.

Suburbs’ second injury which saw Ella Findlay carried from the pitch.

As that left Suburbs a player short, United pressed high and tried to put Suburbs under pressure.

Both sides had chances; neither broke through as the clock ran down to 90 minutes.

Then, as the game entered its second minute of stoppage time, United’s Chelsea Whittaker scored the winner.

Receiving the ball outside the area, Whittaker turned her marker, Suburbs captain Rebekah van Dort, and hooked her shot into the net.

Main photo: Suburbs ‘keeper Kate Payne is unable to save the shot from Chelsea Whittaker (9).

Auckland United leapfrog 10-player Capital

Auckland United moved out of the league’s bottom two places with a 3-2 win against Capital Football at Keith Hay Park.

The Aucklanders had to come from 2-1 down and Capital blew their chances of taking the game when their goalkeeper, Molly Simons, was given a straight red on the hour mark.

The game started well for United when Manaia Elliott drove hard into the box and shot inside the near post after only two minutes of play.

The visitors recovered well and had a good spell of play, scoring twice.

The first came from a long through ball to Renee Bacon who unselfishly passed for Rebecca Otte to tap in.

The next was scored by Bacon herself who struck what appeared to be a cross from the sideline, only for the ball to elude goalkeeper Aimee Feinberg-Danieli and drop over her head and across the goalline.

United had the chance to level but Ruby Nathan shot wide from the penalty spot.

In the second half, United pushed forward and were rewarded in the 57th minute when Bree Johnson got onto the end of a long ball to turn it into the net.

Three minutes later, Capital ‘keeper Simons was sent off when she raced out of her area and mistimed a tackle, bringing down a United player.

United got their winning goal in the 69th minute when Elliott swung a free kick into the Capital goalmouth and it eluded everyone, dipping into the goal.


Games played on Sunday December 4, 2022

Auckland United 3 (Manaia Elliott 2′, 69′, Bree Johnson 57′)
Capital Football 2 (Rebecca Otte 18′, Renee Bacon 29′)

Southern United 2 (Emily Morison 67′, Chelsea Whittaker 90+2′)
Eastern Suburbs 1 (Aimee Atkins 61′)

Games played on Saturday December 3, 2022

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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′)


Remaining fixtures

Game to be played on Friday December 9, 2022

Eastern Suburbs v Western Springs
William Green Domain, Pakuranga, 7.30pm

Games to be played on Saturday December 10, 2022

Canterbury United Pride v Capital Football
English Park, Christchurch, 12pm

Northern Rovers v Southern United
McFetridge Park, Glenfield, 2pm

Game to be played on Sunday December 11, 2022

Central Football v Auckland United
Massey University, Palmerston North, 12pm

Grand Final

To be played on Sunday December 18, 2022

Eastern Suburbs v Western Springs
Venue to be confirmed

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