Defending champions Nelson College have earned an automatic right to defend their National First XI football title after an extraordinary win in the Tasman regional qualifying series.
This afternoon Nelson had to rely on Marlborough Boys’ College losing to Waimea College, while winning by a huge margin themselves to qualify for the Top 16.
Waimea, courtesy of a Logan de Joux strike ten minutes into the second-half, beat Marlborough 1-0 leaving each of those sides on two wins each.
Nelson destroyed Nayland College 13-0 to record their second victory. Captain Labu Pan scored four goals and Thang Thang Vanuk added a hat-trick as six different players netted goals.
That left Nelson, Waimea and Marlborough with two wins each meaning goal difference would determine the top ranked side.
Nelson scored 16 goals and conceded three for a goal difference of plus 13. Marlborough scored 13 goals, but conceded two for a goal difference of plus 11. Waimea was well back with a positive six differential.
Earlier in the tourney Marlborough threw the cat among the pigeons when they upset Nelson 2-1. Quick goals to Harrison Pine and Alex Connor-McClean established a lead which Nelson never pegged back, though a penalty converted by Thomas Amasia would prove crucial.
Meanwhile Waimea only put six goals past hapless Nayland, a total Marlborough’s Alex Connor-McClean scored on his own in a Round Two 11-0 win by Marlborough.
Nelson battled past Waimea 2-1 in Round Two. Van Roland Hlawn Ceu and David Hug scored on either side of halftime to give Nelson a 2-0 lead before a long-range effort from Chester Gaskin gave Waimea some hope of a late comeback with just five minutes to go.
Nelson coach Davor Tavich speaking to the Nelson Mail today said.
“There was a lot of pressure on us in the first game because it was the first game after winning the nationals and I think the nerves played a big part and we couldn’t get out of the hole and lacked a bit of leadership,” he said.
“But we know we can play football, that was never a question, it was just about the personality and the strength that is required to win big games and we’ve shown that we’ve got it but we need to have it consistently now.”
Marlborough and Waimea now require a wildcard to qualify for the Top 16 at Nationals which are staged in September.
R1: MBC beat Nelson 2-1
R1: Waimea beat Nayland 6-1
R2: Nelson beat Waimea 2-1
R2: MBC beat Nayland 11-0
R3: Nelson beat Nayland 13-0
R:3: Waimea beat MBC 1-0
New Zealand Women’s U-20 coach Leon Birnie is looking forward to seeing how good his team is when they take on the USA U-19 side in the first of two friendlies at QBE Stadium in Albany today.
Birnie said the touring American team, who came from behind to defeat a New Zealand A side 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon, will be the perfect benchmark for his team as they prepare for the FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea in November.
“These games will give us real clarity of what we need to work on and what we are doing really well,” said Birnie. “We have four months post this to go away and work on our learnings ahead of the World Cup.”
The head coach said it is always good to get a good result but they have long term goals and a bigger picture in mind. The main focus for the NZ-U20s is to deliver a good performance and develop their style and model of play.
Birnie watched the game on Tuesday, which included many regular Football Ferns, and was impressed by the skill and the structure of his opposition.
“They are going to test us in a way that we haven’t really been tested in this campaign,” he said. “A lot of our players haven’t had any international fixtures since the last World Cup and that is why we worked so hard behind the scenes to arrange this fixture. There is no better nation to test yourself in women’s football than the US. History shows that they have had consistent success at all levels in recent years and the performance they put on against New Zealand A on Tuesday was excellent and we expected that.”
Birnie said he was fortunate to work alongside USA Development Coach Jitka Klimkova in the NZ U-17s when she was working here in New Zealand and regarded her as “a great coach”.
“We knew she would have her team well-structured and that is what they showed. We are really looking forward to these fixtures.”
Meanwhile, Klimkova is hoping her team can continue their momentum from their performance on Tuesday where forward Marissa Everett scored two quick-fire goals to seal the win.
“We need to keep going,” she said. “We can take a lot of positives from the win [over New Zealand A]. It is always important the first game in a tour and we started well and we want to finish even stronger.”
New Zealand U-20 v USA U-19
2pm QBE Stadium, Albany
New Zealand U-20’s: 1. Tessa Nicol, 2. Sarah Morton, 3. Elizabeth Anton, 4. Meikayla Moore © 5. Jade Parris, 8. Jasmine Pereira, 9. Martine Puketapu, 10. Daisy Cleverley, 13. Paige Satchell, 15. Sophie Stewart Hobbs, 16. Mikayla Wieblitz
Subs: 6. Tayla Christensen, 7. Isabella Coombes, 11. Emma Rolston, 14. Rebecca Lake, 17. Samantha Murrell, 19. Hannah Blake, 20. Grace Jale, 21. Emily Couchman
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