Bottom-placed Ellerslie have thrown the last stage of the Women’s National League season into turmoil by beating defending champions Eastern Suburbs.
For Ellerslie, the 1-0 victory at Madills Farm created club history with the Ponies winning their first-ever point, let alone win, at national level.
Main photo: The celebrations begin for Ellerslie after their first-ever win in the competition.
For Eastern Suburbs, the upset result jeopardises their hopes of landing back-to-back national titles.
Anita Trudgeon (29), who has played more than 100 games for the club, scored the winner in the first half, and her team defended courageously as Suburbs mounted increasingly desperate attacks as the game wore on.
Going into the Round 8 fixture, Suburbs looked hot favourites to win and regain their lead at the top of the table.
Instead, to reach the Grand Final on November 26, they need Auckland United and Southern United to drop points in their final fixtures next weekend.
Even then, the Lilywhites must win in Christchurch against Canterbury United Pride.
Fourth-placed Western Springs can still make the Grand Final, which they lost last year to Suburbs, but only by having Auckland United and Southern United lose their final games, and by beating Waterside Karori by a hatful.
The odds favour an Auckland United v Southern United Grand Final but the southerners face a potential banana skin next week — they host an Ellerslie side who will be buoyed by their giant-killing act in Round 8 and now have a chance of escaping the wooden spoon.
Who plays who
With only one round left, here’s who the grand final contenders have yet to play.
All games are scheduled to be played on Sunday November 19, with 2pm kick-offs.
Wellington United (a)
Canterbury United Pride (a)
Waterside Karori (h)
Watch Ellerslie’s upset win against Eastern Suburbs here:
Game played on Sunday November 12, 2023
Eastern Suburbs 0
Ellerslie 1 (Anita Trudgeon 30′)
Canterbury United Pride 1 (Nicola Dominikovich 60′)
CF Wellington United 2 (Jemma Robertson 5′, Pepi Olliver-Bell 20′)
CF Waterside Karori 4 (Nikki Furukawa 32′, 48′, Kaley Ward 61′, 83′ pen)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Alysha Eglinton 90+4′)
Auckland United 1 (Bree Johnson 25′)
Western Springs 0
Central Football 1 (Mikaela Bouwmeester (Boxall) 54′)
Southern United 4 (Amy Hislop 13′, 85′, Abby Rankin 61′, Jemma Wilson 71′, )