Ferns squander chances as Thailand hold them to scoreless draw in Christchurch

The Football Ferns will have to wait another day for their 100th victory after being held to a scoreless draw by Thailand in Christchurch.

After comfortably winning the first match 4-0 on Saturday, the New Zealand team would have expected to celebrate this historic milestone on home turf and mark the retirement of record international Ria Percival in style.

The Ferns, who warmed up in T-shirts depicting Percival’s face, started with an unchanged front-line while Kate Kitching got the nod ahead of Indiah-Paige Riley after scoring two goals on Saturday.

The Ferns show their respect to retiring teammate Ria Percival. Photo credit: NZ Football.

In other changes to the first match, centre-back Claudia Bunge started instead of Rebekah Stott, while Vic Esson replaced Anna Leat in goal.

Leat had barely touched the ball in the first match and Esson may have expected a quiet night as well, but the visitors opened much more adventurous and nearly caught the Glasgow Rangers keeper off-guard with a looping shot in the opening minutes.

After the initial Thai flurry, the match resumed the familiar pattern of the first match, with the Ferns creating a regular stream of chances.

Main photo: New Zealand had 22 attempts on goal during the match. Photo credit: Natural Light Photography Company.

Grace Jale … had an early chance. Photo credit: Natural Light Photography Company.

Jacqui Hand forced a good save out of keeper Tiffany Sornpao after a weaving run through the Thai defence, Malia Steinmetz blasted over from just outside the box, and Grace Jale came even closer when her intended cross hit the crossbar.

As so often in recent New Zealand matches, the defensive set-up and build-up play through the midfield and wings looked impressive, but again the team lacked a clinical finishing touch.

Most of the crosses ended up in the gloves of Sornpao, who also dealt comfortably with a blasting drive from CJ Bott to get Thailand to the break without conceding a goal for the first time in seven matches.

Coach Jitka Klimková made three changes at the break and the introduction of Ally Green and Riley immediately provided a spark to the New Zealand attack.

Macey Fraser played the first half for the Ferns. Photo credit: Natural Light Photography Company.

Green, who plays for Aarhus, delivered several teasing crosses, but Wilkinson failed to trouble Sornpoa, who regularly comes up against Green in the Danish league, where the goalie is under contract with leading club Brondby.

The belief in a sensational draw among Thai players and fans grew by the minute while the pressure increased for the home team desperate to break the deadlock.

Hand came close three times within minutes, shooting wide, over the bar and forcing another save from Sornpao a glancing header.

As frustration grew, even defender Katie Bowen got involved in the shooting gallery, blasting over from the edge of the box.

Green’s eyes lit up when the ball dropped kindly to her in the box, but to the exasperation of the home crowd, the winger failed to keep her volley under the crossbar.

Nine minutes of added time added to the frustration felt by the New Zealand camp. Photo credit: Natural Light Photography Company.

In the nine minutes of injury time, the Football Ferns unleashed a relentless offensive, with Meikayla Moore wasting the best chance from close range.

Unlike the first match, the resolute Thai defence stayed strong and resisted the Kiwi onslaught until the final minutes to earn only their second-ever draw against New Zealand and avoid defeat for the first time in seven internationals.

READ MORE: Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková: ‘Those games are part of football >>>>

WATCH: Highlights from New Zealand’s second game against Thailand >>>>

Match stats

New Zealand / Thailand

Shots: 22 / 1
Shots on target: 7 / 0
Possession: 60% / 40%
Passes: 555 / 395
Pass accuracy: 87% / 74%
Fouls: 13 / 3
Yellow cards: 1 / 0
Red cards: 0 / 0
Offsides: 2 / 0
Corners: 9 / 0


Game played on Tuesday April 9, 2024

New Zealand 0
Thailand 0

New Zealand kept the Thai defence under pressure but could not find the net. Photo credit: Natural Light Photography Company.


New Zealand

Victoria Esson, Claudia Bunge (Meikayla Moore 62′), CJ Bott, Malia Steinmetz, Ali Riley (Michaela Foster 46′), Katie Bowen, Jacqui Hand, Hannah Wilkinson (Gabi Rennie 62′), Grace Jale (Indiah Paige-Riley 46′), Macey Fraser (Ally Green 46′), Kate Kitching.


Thailand’s starting line-up. Photo credit: Natural Light Photography Company.

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