June 24, 2012
AUCKLAND – The Football Ferns have ended a 22 match, 18-year losing streak against Australia with a 1-1 draw in Wollongong but celebrations are muted after being just seconds away from a drought-breaking win.
New Zealand hadn’t beaten Australia since 1994 – and since 1991 on Australian soil – but Hayley Moorwood’s 50th minute goal put New Zealand on course to end that run with their Ferns’ first win against any side ranked inside FIFA’s top 10.
The 79 cap midfielder headed Anna Green’s left hand cross back across goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri into the bottom left hand corner to cap a period of sustained New Zealand possession.
New Zealand missed chances to make the game safe and although two top class saves from Ferns goalkeeper Jenny Bindon protected the lead in the latter stages, a fast-finishing home side found a last-gasp equaliser through Thea Slayter in the third minute of time added on.
The Football Ferns will take some pride, however, in extending their current unbeaten run to a record-equalling nine matches, including the recent 2-0 series win over China, and doing so without regular starters Ali Riley and Kirsty Yallop who have returned to club duty in Sweden.
New Zealand coach Tony Readings said that the side’s consistency of performance throughout 2012 is laying a solid foundation for an Olympic campaign.
“We’re asking for improved performances in every match prior to the Olympics and we got that today,” said Readings.
“It was an improvement on the China series and clearly an improvement on what we’ve done previously against Australia.
“We strung together great periods of possession and we dominated the whole match apart from 15 minutes at the end.
“We’re all disappointed not to win that match after the chance we gave ourselves but it’s all about the Olympics and today was another step forward.”
The Football Ferns will get another chance to claim a rare victory when the two sides meet again in Wollongong on Wednesday afternoon.
The Football Ferns have drawn Great Britain, Brazil and Cameroon at the Olympics beginning on July 25 in Cardiff against the hosts.
International Series – Match One
Australia 1 (Thea SLAYTER 90+3’
New Zealand 1 (Hayley MOORWOOD 50’)
WIN Stadium, Wollongong, Australia
New Zealand: 1-Jenny BINDON (GK), 2-Ria PERCIVAL (14-Holly PATTERSON 81’), 3-Anna GREEN, 4-Katie HOYLE, 5-Abbey ERCEG, 6-Rebecca SMITH (captain), 8-Hayley MOORWOOD (18-Katie BOWEN 90+1’), 9-Amber HEARN, 10-Sarah GREGORIUS, 16-Annalie LONGO (12-Betsy HASSETT 70’), 17-Hannah WILKINSON (15-Emma KETE 60’).
Substitutes not used: 13-Rebekah STOTT, 19-Kristy HILL, 20-Rebecca ROLLS (GK).
Coach: Tony READINGS
Football Ferns v Australia
12.30pm (2.30pm NZT)