In one of the more incredible afternoons of ASB Women’s League football, WaiBOP has fallen to defeat by the odd goal in eleven against a Mainland Pride side that refused to be beaten.
The scoring got underway early, with the visitors’ Megan Shea netting in the third minute before Tessa Leong equalised from close range only two minutes later.
Before twenty minutes were up both keepers had pulled out top class saves, Tayla Christensen had a goal ruled out for off-side, then Mainland hit the upright. And that was just the entre.
Mainland went ahead for the second time when Football Fern, Annalie Longo, calmly dispatched a spot kick, 25 minutes in, then ten minutes later the visitors saw Jacinta Coleman head a shot from a corner off the line. Both sides were having dominant periods of the game and this, either side of the half hour, was Mainland’s best.
WaiBOP managed to ride the threat out and got back on level terms seven minutes before the break when Paige Satchell broke down the right and crossed to Kate Loye, who finished from close range to make it 2-2. Mainland took the lead again right on half time when Shea held off several defenders before firing home.
WaiBOP had the best of the opening period of the second half, but Mainland looked dangerous on the break, having a goal ruled out for off-side then hitting the upright for a second time. WaiBOP snatched a third equaliser midway through the half, however, when substitute Leah Gubb scooped the rebound home after Isabella Coombes had hit the cross bar.
Within a minute Mainland were back in front after Longo grabbed her second to make it 4-3 to the visitors.
A mad final quarter hour began with Tessa Leong burying probably the goal of the game when she hit WaiBOP’s fourth equaliser from distance. Three minutes later WaiBOP took the lead for the first time when Satchell rounded Mainland keeper, Victoria Esson, and slipped the ball home.
Satchell shot wide a minute later before the match-defining phase of the game came with four minutes left. Remarkably, given the score line, both keepers had put in superb performances, and it was left to Esson to produce one final moment of brilliance. She blocked a point-blank effort from Loye, after which the ball bounced away, allowing Mainland to race up the other end and grab an equaliser of their own.
After all the goals, saves, and near misses, both sides would probably have taken 5-5, but Mainland chose not to be denied. They squeezed home what would prove to be the winner with a minute left on the clock.
WaiBOP coach Juan Propato Bautista said his group did all they could to earn the important result but couldn’t quite finish it off. “We’re gutted because I think we played with a lot of passion and determination to win the game. To come away with nothing is tough to take,” he said after the game.
“With six minutes to go we had a chance to win it and make it 6-4 and put it away probably but we didn’t. I’m really proud of the players, they gave everything.”
WaiBOP Football 5-6 Mainland Pride (half: 2-3)
WB: Tessa Leong 6’, 76’, Kate Loye 39’, Leah Gubb 67’, Paige Satchell 79’
MP: Megan Shea 3’, 45’, Annalie Longo 26’, 69’, Monique Barker 86’, 89’
WaiBOP Team List: Ashleigh McNaughton; Coleman, Talbot, Shadbolt, O’Connell; Christensen, Coombes, Loye, Leong, Satchell; Witt. Subs: Williams, Hill, Gubb, Cawte, Henry.