Western Springs have suffered a setback in their push to make back-to-back appearances in the grand final of the Women’s National League.
The Kate Sheppard Cup holders dropped two valuable points in their latest game, drawing 2-2 against a Wellington Phoenix side able to draw on players from their A-League squad.
The draw means Springs now trail defending champions Eastern Suburbs by five points after four rounds of competition, and with Auckland United and Southern United making their own claims for a grand final berth.
The Phoenix Reserves included first teamers Zoe McMeeken, Kelli Brown, Michaela Robertson and Daisy Brazendale, enabling coach Katie Barrott to make five changes to the side that lost to Eastern Suburbs the previous week.
Main photo: New Zealand U-20 international Zoe McMeeken scored for the Wellington Phoenix Reserves in their 2-2 draw with Western Springs. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Alyssha Eglinton, impressive for the New Zealand team at the recent OFC U-16 Championship in Tahiti, was also called into the line-up from the Phoenix academy.
The draw puts Springs under pressure to play catch-up, and they get no better opportunity than at Labour Weekend when they host Eastern Suburbs under Friday night lights at Seddon Fields.
In other games, a spectacular strike by Marissa Porteous was enough to get Southern United a 1-0 win against CF Wellington United.
The win propelled Southern United into contention for a final spot while Wellington United slipped off the pace to sit midtable.
Canterbury United Pride finally notched their first win of the season, beating bottom-placed Ellerslie 3-0.
On Sunday, Eastern Suburbs had to be patient before finding three goals late in the game to beat CF Waterside Karori 3-0.
A first-half double from Shannon Henson got Auckland United off to a winning start in their 3-0 win against Central Football, who remain without a win.
Results —Round 4
Games played on Saturday October 14, 2023
CF Wellington United 0
Southern United 1 (Marissa Porteous 34′)
Western Springs 2 (Arisa Takeda 43′, own goal 74′)
Wellington Phoenix Reserves 2 (Grace Bartlett 29′, Zoe McMeeken 49′)
Canterbury United Pride 3 (Chloe Bellamy 13′, Charlotte Roche 39′, Nicola Dominikovich 69′)
Games played on Sunday October 15, 2023
Eastern Suburbs 3 (Zoe Benson 77′, 86′, Emily Lyon 88′)
CF Waterside Karori 0
Auckland United 3 (Shannon Henson 23′, 36′, Danielle Canham 69′)
Central Football 0