It’s been another successful week for Kiwi footballers scattered across the globe, the highlights of which were Chris Wood receiving an illustrious personal accolade and Rebekah Stott earning back-to-back national titles.
Wood has been in hot form in front of goal for Leeds United in the highly-competitive English Championship – he now has 18 strikes to his name – and that outstanding contribution has not gone unnoticed with the big striker being voted the PFA Fans’ Championship Player of the Month for January. He scored six goals in four Championship games last month, including the winner against Derby County and a brace in a 3-0 victory over Rotherham United.
Even Wood’s efforts couldn’t prevent his side suffering a home defeat on the weekend though as he played the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 loss to Cardiff City that dented Leeds’ hopes of promotion to the Premier League.
Football Ferns defender Stott – also included in Tony Readings’ New Zealand squad for the upcoming Cyprus Cup last week – was on the end of a far more positive outcome as Melbourne City became the first team to win consecutive Australian W-League titles with a 2-0 triumph over Perth Glory in the grand final at nib Stadium on Sunday.
Stott started the match at the heart of the City defence and played an important role in keeping a clean sheet in front of a record crowd of over 4,500. A first-half stoppage-time goal from player-coach Jess Fishlock and a 72nd-minute effort from striker Beverly Yanez secured the win as Stott’s team lifted the trophy. The 23-year-old will now head Stateside to join up with Seattle Reign in the American National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
In further transfer news in the women’s game, Football Ferns fullback Anna Green recently put pen to paper on a deal with English Women’s Super League (WSL) side Reading while attacker Olivia Chance – who earned four caps for the Football Ferns in 2011 – has done likewise for Everton. The latter has not taken long to make her mark in the famous royal blue, scoring twice on debut in a comprehensive 8-1 victory over Brighouse Town in the third round of the FA Women’s Cup.
International centurion Kirsty Yallop is also on the move with the midfielder set to head to Norway after the Cyprus Cup to play for Klepp IL.
Joining Chance in making an immediate impact for a new club was young All White Monty Patterson, who is currently on loan at Braintree Town in the National League, the highest level of the English non-league game. The Ipswich Town player is in his second spell with Braintree and made a key contribution upon his return, teasing the North Ferriby United defence on the right before drilling a low cross for the unmarked Reece Hall-Johnson to net from close-range.
— Monty Patterson (@PattersonMonty) February 11, 2017
Patterson’s exploits were enough for him to be included in the Non-League Paper’s National League Team of the Day and helped Braintree to 18th in the 24-team league, which includes the likes of well-known former Football League clubs Lincoln City, Tranmere Rovers, Wrexham and York City.
— Thomas Feaheny (@ThomasFeaheny) February 12, 2017
Also in England, Winston Reid assumed his usual position in the middle of the West Ham United rear guard but he and his team mates were left disappointed as the Hammers conceded a last-gasp equaliser to be held 2-2 at home by West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. Reid was regarded as a contender for man of the match by West Ham fans and picked up 14 per cent of the online votes but lost out to goal scorer Manuel Lanzini.
For the second week running, the only downside to his individual performance was a late booking, which the centre back picked up when trying to halt a West Brom break.
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) February 11, 2017
All Whites goalkeeper Tamati Williams also featured in the referee’s notebook, receiving his marching orders for RKC Waalwijk in the second-tier Dutch Eerste Divisie after handling outside the box. Pleasingly for Williams, his dismissal just after half-time did not come at a cost for Waalwijk, who went on to claim a 3-2 victory over fellow play-off hopefuls NAC Breda.
In the top-flight of the same country, Ryan Thomas very nearly got on the scoresheet as PEC Zwolle earned another crucial victory – their second in succession – as they continued to pull away from the Eredivisie drop zone. Thomas’ side took on NEC – who are now just two points ahead of 13th-placed Zwolle – and posted a 2-0 success that included a long-range strike from the All Whites midfielder which crashed against the cross bar.
— betsy hassett (@betsyhassett12) February 10, 2017
Also in Holland, Football Ferns midfielder Betsy Hassett and her Ajax team mates secured an important win over FC Twente in a top-of-the-table female Eredivisie game. Leaders Ajax now have an eight-point advantage over defending champions Twente with seven matches of the regular season remaining. At the end of the round-robin, the top four teams will play off with a place in the UEFA Women’s Champions League at stake.
Nearby in Germany, striker Amber Hearn – New Zealand’s highest ever goal-scorer, male or female – took full part for USV Jena against VfL Wolfsburg in the first Frauen Bundesliga round after the winter break, losing 2-1.
Another Europe-based Fern was also in action as fullback Ali Riley took on Chelsea and Arsenal, drawing 2-2 and winning 2-0 respectively, in pre-season games for her Swedish side FC Rosengard.
Just touched down in London Town. pic.twitter.com/ucuYaBP6Gk
— Ali Riley (@RileyThree) February 11, 2017
Closer to home in Australia, a first-ever A-League goal from Spaniard Alex Rodriguez wasn’t enough for the Wellington Phoenix to avoid a 10th defeat of the campaign, this time 3-1 against unbeaten Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night. A numerous All Whites contingent was involved with Glen Moss, Andrew Durante, Tom Doyle, Michael McGlinchey and Kosta Barbarouses all starting the match while fellow Kiwis Hamish Watson and Matt Ridenton were named on the bench.
— Wellington Phoenix (@WgtnPhoenixFC) February 8, 2017
Despite the result, it was a memorable occasion for goalkeeper Moss, who became just the 18th player – and third from the Phoenix – to play 200 games in the A-League.
Elsewhere in the A-League, the in-form Marco Rojas will be in action tonight after Melbourne Victory’s visit to the Newcastle Jets was rescheduled due to heatwave conditions in New South Wales over the weekend. The Jets have reason to be wary of the ‘Kiwi Messi’ as he has scored six goals and assisted in three more in his last four games against them.
— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) February 13, 2017