Positive signs for the Ferns despite defeat to Norway in Oslo

There were positives to take from today's performance Credit: Photosport

The Ford Football Ferns came into their European tour looking to build on the strong end to their last match against Australia where despite the loss they had the better of the closing quarter. The first of their two opponents were Norway in Oslo (to be followed by Wales in Spain in three days later).

Ranked number 11 in the world, the Norwegians were looking to test themselves in the run up to next month’s UEFA Women’s Euros. The Gresshoppene were strengthened by the recent return of all-time women’s UEFA Champions League top scorer Ada Hegerberg in only her third game back since her self-imposed exile from international football in 2017.

The match day began on a sombre note as reports emerged of a terrorist attack at a prominent Oslo gay bar on the eve of the city’s Pride march. Both teams opted to wear armbands as a mark of respect, and a minute's silence was held before the game.

The Ferns line up featured four changes from the last side that started against the Matildas in April. Vic Esson returned in goal, Liz Anton and Rebekah Stott (captain) came in for Anna Green and the injured Ali Riley in defence, and Annalie Longo returned after nearly a year away to replace Daisy Cleverley.

The game at Ullevaal Stadion, Norway’s national stadium, started evenly. After a number of chances for the Norwegians, well marshalled by a strong defensive display from Vic Esson and Claudia Bunge, the Ferns had their chance to take the lead in the 19th minute. A clearance on the edge of the Norway box fell to Katie Bowen who fired in from distance but it was tipped over by Pettersen in goal.

In the 33rd minute the breakthrough for the hosts came. Ada Hegerberg neatly rounded her marker and struck a low powerful shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net. There was nothing that Vic Esson in goal could have done about it.

Four minutes later there was a chance for the Ferns to bring it level. A great Meikayla Moore cross flashed across the box but was just out of reach for Hannah Wilkinson and Katie Bowen, keeping it 1-0 at the break.

The last year has certainly been a whirlwind for Kate Taylor. 12 months ago the centre back was preparing to play for Canterbury United Pride in the National League Championship. Fast forward to June 2022 and the 18-year-old has turned pro with Wellington Phoenix, impressed in her first full season in the A-League Women as vice-captain and now has made her senior international debut, replacing Rebekah Stott at half-time, and facing one of the best strikers in the world. Her performance heavily praised by Jitka Klimková post game as she seamlessly stepped up to senior international football.

Three minutes after the break the Ferns had the ball in the net. Liv Chance’s cross was headed into the goal by Paige Satchell, but was flagged offside.

Chances fell to both sides as the clock ticked towards the 90. Another commanding performance by Vic Esson, captain for the second half following Rebekah Stott’s withdrawal, kept the Norwegian attack at bay while the Ferns carved out a number of opportunities at the other end. 

At the end the Norwegians made it two. A loose ball from a Norway corner fell to defender Guro Bergsvand who volleyed home.

Post-game head coach Jitka Klimková saw the positives for her side despite the 2-0 result:

“We had a perfect performance from Vic Esson again, who kept us in the game. We had Kate Taylor make her debut. It’s a really bright future. If I look at how she performed against such a strong opposition and won many, many one v one battles…

"…Another one with Liz Anton who played the whole game. Never started before, ever and all of a sudden she finished the game. We had Annalie Longo who is back and performed really well and helped us to keep the ball better. So there are a lot of positives from this game.”


Ford Football Ferns starting XI

Victoria Esson

Elizabeth Anton

Claudia Bunge

Meikayla Moore

Rebekah Stott (45’ Kate Taylor)

Katie Bowen

Olivia Chance (64’ Gabi Rennie)

Betsy Hassett (74’ Daisy Cleverley)

Annalie Longo (64’ Malia Steinmetz)

Paige Satchell (85’ Jacqui Hand)

Hannah Wilkinson (64’ Emma Rolston)

Article added: Sunday 26 June 2022


Latest News