October 5, 2011
AUCKLAND – The New Zealand U-17 women’s football team have kept alive the chances of a rare series win against Australia after a goalless draw in the second game of a three match series at North Harbour Stadium on Wednesday night.
Following Monday’s 2-1 win to the Young Football Ferns, the 0-0 result was a much closer affair with few clear cut chances to either side.
Each side spurned an opportunity to take the lead in the first half with promising 14-year-old Kiwi striker Martine Puketapu heading over the bar from six yards out in the 17th minute, and Australia’s Alisha Bass blazing a shot over New Zealand’s goal 12 minutes later.
Otherwise, the teams were largely restricted to long range efforts although both Kiwi ‘keeper Ronisa Lipi and her Australian counterpart Eliza Campbell were called into action to make crucial interventions in the second half and earn their respective clean sheets.
“I was really happy with the performance,” said New Zealand coach Paul Temple.
“On Monday we were better in the first half than the second but it was probably the reverse tonight. We put in a really good 25 minutes at the end there and I thought we had done enough to win the game we talked all week about putting in winning performances and I thought that was one tonight.
“The girls worked so hard, particularly as Aussie fielded a line-up of fresh players and we were backing up.
“The one area we could improve on in the second half is the final ball, but the pleasing thing is we are playing through the thirds and building up play well. It takes time to get that quality in the last third. I felt we had the better of the chances in the game and we have t remember we’re playing Australia and it’s always going to be tough.”
Both teams are building towards qualifying for the next year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan, with Australia’s Asian qualifying tournament beginning next month and New Zealand’s Oceania qualifiers kicking off in April.
A draw or win in the final match of the series is at North Harbour Stadium’s football turf on Friday night at 6pm would clinch the series victory.
“There’s a bit riding on the third game and while the players have worked really hard so far they know they are going to have to work even harder in that last game. They’ve dealt with everything so well in what are their first internationals and played some nice football.”
U-17 Women’s International
North Harbour Stadium Football Turf
Referee: Renee SILVESTER
New Zealand 0
New Zealand U-17: 16-Ronisa LIPI (gk), 2-Meikayla MOORE (5-Megan LEE 64’), 3-Laura MERRIN, 4-CJ BOTT, 6-Hannah CARLSEN (c), 8-Jessica INNES, 9-Martine PUKETAPU, 10-Emma FLETCHER (18-Emma ROLSTON 64’), 11-Briar PALMER, 14-Tessa LEONG (17-Lauren DABNER 46’ / 7-Jasmine PEREIRA 68’), 15-Emily JENSEN.
Substitutes not used: 1-Lily ALFELD (rgk), 12-Daisy CLEVERLEY, 13-Jolene MUIR.
Coach: Paul TEMPLE
Australia U-17: 18-Eliza CAMPBELL (gk), 2-Olivia PRICE, 12-Hayley SHEHAN (3-Elizabeth RALSTON 82’), 13-Isabel COOTES, 15-Emma CHECKER, 16-Ebony PHILCOX, 17-Alisha BASS, 20-Jessie WILLIAMS (9-Amy HARRISON 61’), 23-Grace MACINTYRE (7-Breanna SAMPSON 75’), 26-Meg MCLAUGHLIN (28-Allison CLARKE 61’).
Substitutes not used: 1-Shamira KHAMIS (gk), 5-Melissa CACERES, 10-Jessica DILLON, 11-Grace HENRY, 14-Sarah CARROLL, 22-Alexander NATOLI, 24-Natalie TOBIN, 25-Penelope EDMONDS (gk), 30-Lucy METCALF.
Coach: Vicki LINTON