December 4, 2011
AUCKLAND – A clinical second half performance from Northern Football clinched a 3-0 win over Waikato Bay of Plenty Football in the final of the ASB Women’s Youth League in Auckland on Sunday.
With the match goal less at halftime and chances hard to come by as heavy rain blanketed the Parrs Park artificial pitch, Football Fern Hannah Wilkinson scored twice in the second spell to take her record-breaking golden boot tally to 15 while midfielder Rebecca Burrows added the third in the 77th minute after twice hitting the cross bar earlier in the game.
It is the first time a team other Auckland or Capital has won the national women’s league, which for the last two seasons has featured limited age restrictions.
But Northern’s celebrations were muted by concern for Waikato’s Brianna Stewart after the 15 year old broke a leg in a clash with Northern goalkeeper Pam Yates in time added on.
Just minutes after a goal line clearance, Wilkinson’s first goal came when captain Rebecca O’Neill headed Caitlin Campbell’s 53rd minute free kick back into her path for an easy tap in, and her second 10 minutes later when she met Liz Milne’s cross with a deft glancing header to double the lead.
Northern Football coach Gordon Forrest said the game was much tenser than the score would suggest.
“We knew it was going to be tough in those conditions against a good Waikato side so we needed to adapt the game plan a little bit and just have that passion and commitment to get through the first half, which allowed us to take more control in the second.
“It was a close affair, but the first goal allowed us to relax a little bit and thankfully we got another two opportunities and another two goals as the game opened up.”
Waikato’s best chances came when Waikato’s midfield threatened to unlock the Northern defence but the potential one-on-ones were quickly snuffed out by an alert Yates.
One of those chances did result in a strong penalty claim from Waikato in a 50-50 challenge between Yates and Waikato Helen Collins two minutes before halftime, but referee Anna-Marie Keighley ruled there was no foul committed.
Waikato substitute Tessa Leong had two chances late in the game to reduce the deficit but shot wide with the first and then was delayed enough by Yates for the impressive Megan Lee to clear the danger.
ASB Women’s Youth League Final
December 4, 2011
At Parrs Park, Oratia, Auckland
Northern Football 3 (Hannah WILKINSON 53’, 64’; Rebecca BURROWS 77’)
Waikato BOP Football 0
Golden Boot Winner: Hannah WILKINSON (Northern Football) – 15 goals