Holders Forrest Hill Milford United have been denied the chance to make it back-to-back Women’s Knockout Cup titles after falling to a 3-1 defeat to local rivals Glenfield Rovers in a repeat of last year’s final this afternoon.
Rovers will be joined in the semi-finals by fellow NRFL Women’s Premier side Eastern Suburbs, who came from behind to defeat 2012 winners Three Kings United 3-2 in today’s other all-Auckland quarter-final.
Likewise booking a berth in the semi-finals were Dunedin Technical and Upper Hutt City, who both did so a day earlier with tight wins over Coastal Spirit and Palmerston North Marist respectively.
After that pair of thrilling encounters yesterday, all eyes were on the City of Sails today, particularly McFetridge Park where the 2016 finalists met again for the latest instalment of a long-standing rivalry.
With revenge at the forefront of their minds, Glenfield took control straight after kick off on home soil when American import McHale Perkins netted from a set piece. The hosts went on to take a 2-0 lead into the break after Georgia Brown latched onto a long pass down the right and expertly dispatched it into the top corner.
New Zealand U-20 internationals Sam Tawharu, Malia Steinmetz and Saskia Vosper were all in the line-up for a young Forrest Hill team but couldn’t find a way back into the match, even when Rovers were reduced to ten players after the dismissal of Claudia Bunge. There was still over half an hour remaining at that stage but any thoughts of Glenfield falling victim to a stirring comeback were put to bed when a lovely pass from player of the match Kate Loye found Dayna Stevens, who rounded goalkeeper Emily Couchman to make it 3-0.
Forrest Hill did finally hit back through Talisha Green but, with under ten minutes left on the clock, it was a case of too little, too late as the holders bowed out at the hands of their neighbours.
Across town at Madills Farm, the two best-performing sides in the upper half of the North Island were meeting as NRFL Women’s Premier leaders Three Kings United looked to keep their hopes of winning the double alive against league title challengers Eastern Suburbs.
It’s Suburbs who still have a chance of claiming both bits of silverware though after they bounced back from 1-0 down with three goals in just six second-half minutes. Rebecca Burrows had given Three Kings the advantage just past the half-hour mark and they were still in the box seat with 20 minutes to go.
But Suburbs then suddenly found their shooting boots, Aimee Phillips getting the fight-back going before Nicole Mettam and Erin Roxburgh followed up her effort with two more goals to put the hosts 3-1 up. A shell-shocked Three Kings did manage to respond through Estelle Harrison late on but Suburbs held their nerve to go through to the semi-finals.
Dunedin Technical will do likewise for the first ever time after causing an upset over 2013 winners Coastal Spirit down south on Saturday. Emily Morison gave Technical an early lead before the sides swapped goals just before the break, Mel Cameron equalising for Spirit before Sophie Dijkstra swiftly put the home side back in front.
Chloe Jones notched Spirit’s second leveller in the 78th minute and extra-time was on the cards before Kirsty Hayr popped up with a dramatic late winner for Dunedin.
The other quarter-final turned out to be a marathon as Upper Hutt City finally accounted for Palmerston North Marist 2-1 after extra time. Emma Main, who was a standout in New Zealand’s recent OFC U-19 Championship-winning team, opened the scoring for Upper Hutt in the 13th minute before Torijan Lyne-Lewis squared the ledger shortly before the interval.
There was no further scoring in the second spell and it took until midway through extra time for the contest to be settled, Lena De Ronde making a heroine of herself by putting City into the hat for the final four.
The semi-finals of the country’s premier women’s club competition will take place on the weekend of August 26-27 with the official draw to be conducted by New Zealand Football this Tuesday.
Women’s Knockout Cup Quarter-Finals
Eastern Suburbs 3 (Aimee Phillips 72’, Leah Mettam 76’, Erin Roxburgh 78’)
Three Kings United 2 (Rebecca Burrows 32’, Estelle Harrison 90’)
Glenfield Rovers 3 (McHale Perkins 4’, Georgia Brown 37’, Dayna Stevens 72’)
Forrest Hill Milford United 1 (Talisha Green 86’)
Dunedin Technical 3 (Emily Morison 13’, Sophie Dijkstra 45’ + 1’, Kirsty Hayr 88’)
Coastal Spirit 2 (Mel Cameron 45’, Chloe Jones 78’)
Upper Hutt City 2 (Emma Main 13’, Lena De Ronde 105’)
Palmerston North Marist 1 (Torijan Lyne-Lewis 39’)