Melville United win promotion to Lotto NRFL Women’s Championship

WaiBOP W-League champions Melville United have earned promotion to the 2024 Lotto NRFL Women’s Championship after beating Birkenhead United 3-1 in a play-off.

Melville coach Tarena Ranui told the club’s website it was “highly satisfying” to win the play-off final at Mangere Central Park, especially as the squad had needed to overcome a number of pre-match obstacles.

Three key players were missing from the starting line up, and some players were backing up from Melville’s first match in the Girls National Youth League on Saturday when they played Wellington Phoenix in Auckland.

“We worked through all sorts of barriers but in the final actually controlled the match for all but one small period,” Ranui said.

“We are a diverse group, with a range of culture but still the same identity and we were prepared for whatever. That is who we are.”

Right back Michaela Clark put Melville ahead in the 28th minute and Stevie-Lee Tiller increased the lead six minutes later.

Melville’s third was a Birkenhead own goal on the hour.

The NRF Conference winners pulled back a goal in the 78th minute through Jacqueline Rempe.

Ranui praised the efforts of skipper Alix Galletly, 16-year-olds Lola Anderson and Siena Austin and goalkeeper Taylor Fullerton.

“But everybody did their job,” she said.

“This season we’ve been learning how to play good football — but also learning how to win.”

Main photo: Melville United’s promotion-winning squad. Photo credit: Melville United.


Game played on Sunday September 24, 2023

Melville United 3 (Michaela Clark 28′, Stevie-Lee Tiller 32′, own goal 60′)
Birkenhead United 1 (Jacqueline Rempe 78′)

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