Central League champions prove too strong for women’s reserves

Waterside Karori’s North American forwards have shown their class against the Wellington Phoenix reserves in the penultimate round of the women’s National League Championship.

Canadian Nikki Furukawa and American Kaley Ward have scored two goals each to lead the Central League champions to a 4-1 win over the Phoenix reserves at Martin Luckie Park in Wellington.

The young Nix never gave up and were rewarded with a stoppage time goal from New Zealand U-16 international Alyssha Eglinton.

It is the reserves’ fourth straight league defeat and leaves them eighth in the 10 team competition.

Head coach Katie Barrott was unable to call on any first team squad members, but she was able to name Aimee Danieli in goal for the first time in this year’s National League. The New Zealand age-group international was an unused substitute for the Phoenix in last week’s A-League match against Brisbane Roar.

As well as Danieli’s inclusion, Georgie Furnell, Emily Humphrey, Libby McMillian and Mackenzie Greene came into the XI replacing Charlotte Eagle, Rebekah Trewhitt, and first team players Zoe McMeeken, Michaela Robertson and Rebecca Lake.

The Phoenix reserves ‘keeper was busy in the opening 20 minutes. Although Danieli didn’t have to make any saves of note, she had to be quick off her line on two occasions to deny Ward, showing great bravery in both instances. She also displayed command of her six-yard box.

However, there was nothing Danieli could do to prevent Waterside Karori taking a 2-0 halftime lead.

Furukawa put Wharfies in front shortly after the half hour mark when she nodded home a well-worked short corner.

The Canadian then doubled their advantage on the stroke of halftime when she found some space in the reserves’ box and smashed a shot into the roof of the net.

The young Nix started the second half promisingly but found themselves three goals down little over 15 minutes after halftime when Ward turned her defender on the edge of the Phoenix reserves’ box and picked out the left corner of Danieli’s goal.

The American scored her second from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute. Sixteen-year-old Brooke Neary, on for an injured Danieli, guessed the right way but was unable to keep out Ward’s shot.

Four minutes into time added on the Phoenix reserves were finally rewarded for all of their endeavour, with Eglinton beating Waterside Karori’s replacement ‘keeper with a shot from the edge of the box.

The Wellington Phoenix reserves will return to Fraser Park in Lower Hutt next Sunday afternoon to host ninth placed Central Football in their final round match.

Wellington Phoenix reserves:
1. Aimee DANIEL (gk) (41. Brooke NEARY (gk) 72nd), 4. Marie GREEN, 9. ELLA MCCANN, 12. Ella MCMILLAN (c), 13. Grace BARTLETT, 14. Alyssha EGLINTON, 17. Georgie FURNELL (40. Sienna CANDY 65th), 21. Emily HUMPHREY (32. Nova HILL 86th), 24. Libby MCMILLAN, 25. Mackenzie GREENE, 31. Phoebe HAWES.
Unused substitutes: 26. Ellie JOHNSON, 28. Angela PIVAC.

Waterside Karori:
1. Annie FOOTE (gk) (20. Katia BROWN (gk) 79th), 2. Saskia VOSPER (3. Hayley HEDGES-FICKLING 79th), 5. Jemma HALL (11. Grace MCROBIE 46th 4. Daphne RANTA 71st), 6. Kaley WARD, 7. Renee BACON, 10. Jenna BARRY, 13. Kennedy BRYANT, 14. Mei BURDEN, 15. Jessica SHILTON, 16. Nikki FURUKAWA (9. Emma KRUSZONA 71st), 17. Sarah MORTON (c).

16. Nikki FURUKAWA (Waterside Karori) – 32nd & 45+3
6. Kaley WARD (Waterside Karori) – 61st & 83rd pen
14. Alyssha EGLINTON (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 90+4