Auckland United are the new champions of New Zealand’s women’s football after beating Southern United 2-0 in the Grand Final of the Women’s National League.
For most of the game, the sides were evenly matched but Auckland United took their chances well with a goal in each half at Auckland’s Go Media Stadium Mt Smart.
Main photo: Auckland United enjoy collecting their trophy. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Southern’s Amy Hislop had the game’s first chance when she headed a cross from Kendrah Smith onto the crossbar.
The South islanders contained Auckland United well in the opening stages.
Midway through the first half, the Aucklanders went ahead when Player of the Match Rene Wasi slid a pass across the goal for Alexis Cook to smash into the net.
For the rest of the half, the sides shared possession, and Hislop always looked dangerous.
However Auckland United saw out the half, going into the interval with their 1-0 lead.
Southern started the second half strongly, having most of the ball.
In the 52nd minute, Hislop shot from distance, forcing an excellent save from Auckland goalkeeper Aimee Hall.
The Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League champions inflicted the killer blow in the 57th minute, doubling their lead.
Southern United ‘keeper Lauren Paterson punched a cross out of the box and it fell to Maisy Dewell who cleverly chipped the ball over defenders and an out-of-position Paterson, and into the net.
Soon after, Hislop almost reduced the deficit with a delicate shot that curled tantalisingly close to the far post, but away to safety.
Chelsea Elliott, who was strong at the base of the Auckland defence all game, struck a long-range free kick that forced Paterson into a good save.
As the game wore on, Auckland United were content to soak up pressure and wind down the clock.
Southern were forced to go long, which was not their normal game, and they ran out of time to claw something back.
The two sides had gone into the Grand Final with identical records in the nine-round National League (seven wins, on edraw and a goal difference of +16).
It took a Grand Final to separate them …
Game played on Sunday November 26, 2023
Women’s National League Grand Final
Auckland United 2 (Alexis Cook 24′, Maisy Dewell 57′)
Southern United 0
Aimee Hall, Talisha Green (captain), Greer MacIntosh, Chelsea Elliott, Yume Harashima, Danielle Canham, Bree Johnson, Rene Wasi, Alexis Cook, Suva Haering, Maisy Dewell
Subs: Maya Vince, Shannon Henson, Pia Vlok, Kate McConnell, Penny Brill, Riley Sheldon, Amberley Hollis
Bree Johnson (89′), Kate McConnell (90′)
Lauren Paterson, Rose Morton (captain), Hannah Mackay-Wright, Freya Partridge-Moore, Toni Power, Abby Rankin, Kendrah Smith, Amy Hislop, Marissa Porteous, Margarida Dias, Bianca Park
Subs: Tahlia Roome, Jemma Wilson, Madeline McCormick, Amelia Simmers, Samantha Woolley, Raegan Potter, Katie Mawdesley
Kendrah Smith (64′)
Referee: Anna-Marie Keighley
Assistant referee: Helosie Welch
Assistant referee: Courtney Bremner
Fourth official: Beth Rattray