New Zealand 0
Australia 3 (Heather Garriock 37', Lisa De Vanna 49', Leena Khamis 84')
The Matildas' ability to mercilessly punish errors was at the heart of their 3-0 triumph
over a vastly improved Football Ferns combination at Bill McKinlay Park on February 20, a
match watched by a decent crowd on a gloriously sunny Auckland afternoon.
The Football Ferns fielded four changes to the side which produced such a rusty effort at
North Harbour Stadium three days prior, and matched their Australian counterparts stride for
stride during long spells of this clash, in which the levels of passion and pride on show
across the park couldn't be faulted.
But the West Islanders continue to hold the upper hand in this storied series, extending to
twenty their winning sequence over New Zealand in this match, the first incident in which
saw Anna-Marie Keighley marking her international refereeing debut by taking a tumble just
five minutes into it - not the most auspicious of starts on the world stage, but at least
she saw the funny side of the incident.
Two minutes later, a timely Kristy Hill tackle thwarted Clare Polkinghorne in the act of
shooting, after Servet Uzunlar and Lisa De Vanna had combined to slip their team-mate
through the inside-right channel.
After Jenny Bindon had grabbed a De Vanna drive, and Anna Green had headed narrowly past her
own post in dealing with a dangerous Collette McCallum free-kick, the Football Ferns
fullback let rip a teasing seventeenth minute cross-shot which Australian custodian Lydia
Williams - one of three changes in the Matildas' line-up - grabbed greedily under her
Three minutes later, the Football Ferns were opened up down their left by the pace of De
Vanna, who swept past Abby Erceg on receipt of a McCallum pass before the combined efforts
of Green and the recovering central defender forced the striker to check her run and lay the
ball back for Kathryn Gill.
The beanpole striker was looking up at the sky seconds later, then towards the referee in
vain hope of a free-kick. Never in a million years, lass - when Hill cleans you out with one
of her trademark uncompromising, bone-jarring, ball-n-all tackles, you take your medicine
and suffer in silence.
It was a challenge which galvanised the Football Ferns? resolve, and none too gently
reminded the Matildas that a twentieth successive victory over their old foes was by no
means a fait accompli.
After Bindon had easily dealt with a mistimed Kyah Simon volley, Hill and Green combined to
unleash Amber Hearn down the left on the half-hour. The powerful number nine had the
back-pedalling Uzunlar twisting this way and that as she surged goalwards, but the defender
stood her ground well and was able to block the striker's twenty-five yard drive to safety.
Seconds later, a Kirsty Yallop free-kick gave Williams cause for concern, but the 'keeper,
upon grabbing the ball, promptly sent De Vanna spearing downfield on the counter-attack, her
pace eventually thwarted just outside New Zealand's penalty area by Green's covering
Back came the Football Ferns, a delightful 32nd minute raid in which the hard-working Rosie
White combined with Ria Percival and captain for the day Ali Riley - this a rare venture on
Kiwi soil for the US-born-and-based professional - to produce a scintillating interchange of
passes which culminated in a cross from Riley.
Hearn, rising in between three defenders, deftly headed the ball across and into the stride
of the versatile and vivacious Hannah Wall, whose vibrant performance deserved a goal. She
came within a yard of getting it on this occasion, her rising twenty-yarder flashing past
Williams' right-hand post.
Eight minutes before half-time, Australia were awarded a free-kick just outside the area
which McCallum curled over the wall and towards Bindon's top left-hand corner. The 'keeper
tipped the shot onto the crossbar, but the defenders in front of her reacted far too
ponderously to the rebound, unlike De Vanna, whose touch invited Heather Garriock to mark
her 115th appearance in green and gold with a goal from six yards out.
The goal stunned the home team, and the visitors looked to swiftly build on their advantage.
Five minutes before half-time, Garriock, Gill and McCallum combined to put the Kiwis under
pressure, with Green's attempt to head clear only diverting the ball into De Vanna's stride.
Hill stepped in to avert the danger, but another Australian raid, on the stroke of
half-time, had consequences of an unwanted nature for the Football Ferns, with McCallum
crudely taking out Percival, who cried out in pain as she took a blow to the knee from which
she has only just returned to action following injury.
After treatment, she returned to the fray, but her first attempt to kick the ball - the last
of the half, as it happened - suggested that all was not as it should be, and she was
replaced by Annalie Longo for the second half.
A second half which started in the worst possible manner for the Football Ferns, as they
yielded the game's second goal. Uzunlar's hopeful ball forward was allowed to bounce by the
hesitant Erceg, and De Vanna stole in on the defender's blindside to pounce, lobbing the
sphere over the stranded figure of Bindon to double Australia's lead.
The home team reeled, and were dealt a second blow two minutes later when referee Keighley
ignored claims for a stonewall penalty. White sent Longo spearing into the penalty area,
where she looked to turn the ball inside her, where Hearn was arriving on cue.
Half-time substitute Sally Shipard had other ideas, however, swatting the ball away with her
arm and promptly clearing the ball as it fell to her advantage. Longo and her team-mates
instantly appealed for a spot-kick, their unified cries embellished by the instant roar of
the crowd as they witnessed the injustice.
Those roars turned to howls of disbelief as the referee waved play on - what a goal from the
penalty spot would have done for the Football Ferns' confidence and self-belief at that
stage in the game we can only but wonder.
At least their work on employing the offside trap was paying off - the Australians were
caught almost constantly throughout the second half as the back four more often than not
timed things to perfection to thwart the pace of De Vanna and Simon, both of whom paid the
ultimate price for their repeated failings on the hour mark - ruthless Matildas coach Tom
Sermanni does not stand on ceremony when his charges under-perform.
One of their replacements, Tameka Butt, made an instant impact upon her introduction,
getting in behind the covering figure of Erceg to send a low cross fizzing across the face
of goal, eight minutes before Garriock warmed the gloves of Bindon with a shot arising from
the creativity of Uzunlar and the other front-running replacement, Samantha Kerr.
In between times, Katie Hoyle, who was much more like her usual tenacious self in this
match, played the ball forward to the much-improved Yallop, whose deft turn unhinged an
opponent before a measured cross-field pass picked out Wall in space on the right. The
youngster dashed inside and let fly, only to see a deflection take the sting from her shot
and make life far easier for Williams than had threatened to be the case.
Seventeen minutes from time, Wall's corner was headed out by Shipard to substitute Betsy
Hassett, whose shot through the crowd flew straight at Williams. Two minutes later, the
Football Ferns were in again, this time thanks to the enterprise of White.
The reigning Oceania Women's Player of the Year caught Lauren Colthorpe napping just outside
her penalty area, and the striker instantly looked to exploit the opportunity, dashing
across field before linking with Yallop.
Her slide-rule pass rewarded Riley's run down the left, the weight on the ball allowing the
flying fullback to whip in a first-time cross on the run to the near post, where Longo was
arriving on cue. It was a difficult opportunity to volley goalwards, and the youngster?s
attempt saw the sphere slice through the air a yard wide of the target.
After Bindon had smothered an effort from Kerr, ever-willing Kiwi substitute Emma Kete
surged through the middle nine minutes from time and was about to pull the trigger when
Shipard stopped her in her tracks. White gathered the loose ball but was unable to direct an
effort on target from the most acute of angles.
Several players succumbed to cramp in the latter stages of the match, with the uneven
playing surface doubtless contributing to their plight. The state of the pitch was an issue
of considerable concern before the match - a great shame for the hosting University-Mt.
Wellington club, who have made considerable efforts to improve their facilities generally,
but really need to install an artificial surface if those efforts are to prove worthwhile.
One of those to succumb was Yallop, and while both she and Erceg - for a cut - were
receiving treatment on the sideline six minutes from time, the Matildas capitalised on the
confusion in the temporarily short-handed Football Ferns line-up to conclude the scoring.
Kylie Ledbrook and Garriock combined to get in behind Hill on the left, and the cross to the
far post found substitute Leena Khamis completely unmarked to head home one of the easiest
goals she'll ever score - 3-0.
It was particularly hard on the home team, whose performance certainly wasn't reflected in
the scoreline. Indeed, they twice went close to reducing the deficit before the final
Hassett won the ball in midfield and squared it to Yallop in the 86th minute. Her last act
of the match - she was soon to be replaced by Hannah Wilkinson - saw her reward Riley's
rampaging run down the left with another pass into the acting captain's stride. Her teasing
cross-shot crept inches past the far post - desperately unlucky!
After Butt had fired across the face of goal following a through ball from Kerr, powerful
running by Wilkinson gave the Matildas a new threat to deal with late in the match, with
Uzunlar utilising impeding tactics to hinder the striker's progress. The youngster kept on
coming, however, forcing Williams to race out and save at the feet of both front-runner and
defender in stoppage time.
Of which there was plenty, given the numerous replacements and injury treatments during the
half. Five minutes after the scheduled finish time, they were still at it, with the home
team hot on attack.
Wall's corner wasn't cleared, and Wilkinson, in the ensuing scramble, drilled a shot through
the gathered throngs which Ledbrook cleared off the line. The ball struck the arm of a
defender and ricocheted into Williams? hands, prompting further penalty appeals.
Again, referee Keighley was unmoved, this time with justification, and soon after blew the
final whistle to conclude a match in which the Football Ferns' much improved effort bodes
well for their pending Cyprus Cup conquest. But they again failed to end the Matildas'
continued dominance of this fixture - they haven't lost to their trans-tasman rivals since
The Westfield Matildas, will now meet North Korea (DPR) for two international friendly matches in Brisbane on the 3rd and 6th of March.
NEW ZEALAND: 1. Jenny BINDON (gk), 2. Ria PERCIVAL (10. Annalie LONGO +46'), 3. Anna GREEN (12. Betsy HASSETT +57'), 4. Katie HOYLE, 5. Abby ERCEG, 7. Ali RILEY (c), 9. Amber HEARN (16. Emma KETE +77'), 11. Kirsty YALLOP (17. Hannah WILKINSON +87'), 14. Rosie WHITE, 15. Hannah WALL, 18. Kristy HILL
Subs not used: 13. Bridgette ARMSTRONG, 20. Aroon CLANSEY (GK)
Cards: Ria PERCIVAL
Coach: John Heardman
AUSTRALIA: 18. Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (10. Kylie LEDBROOK +68'), 5. Lauren COLTHORPE (Aivi LUIK +75'), 6. Servet UZUNLAR, 7. Heather GARRIOCK, 11. Lisa DE VANNA (24. Tameka BUTT +58'), 12. Kathryn GILL (19. Leena KHAMIS +75'), 14. Collette MCCALLUM (c), 16. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 17. Kyah SIMON (22. Samantha KERR +58'), 23. Kim CARROLL (15. Sally SHIPARD +45')
Subs not used: 1. Melissa Barbieri (rgk)
Cards: Lauren COLTHORPE, Lisa DE VANNA
Coach: Tom Sermani
Referee: (NZ) - Rating: 5/10
Best players: 3. Collette McCallum (Aus), 2. Hannah Wall (NZ), 1. Rosie White (NZ)
Game ratings: 7/10
Pitch rating: 3/10
Marauding Matildas Flatter Flat Ferns
Report by Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com
North Harbour Stadium, Albany, Auckland 7pm, Wednesday 17 February, 2010
New Zealand 0
Australia 3 (Sarah Walsh 23',52', Lisa De Vanna 84')
New Zealand's Football Ferns produced one of their flattest performances in many a moon at
North Harbour Stadium on February 17, and Australia's Matildas took full advantage to record
a 3-0 win - which flattered their trans-Tasman rivals.
But for some outstanding goalkeeping from Jenny Bindon, the Matildas could well have doubled
that margin of victory in front of 1,853 paying spectators, who were hoping to see the
Football Ferns score a first win in nineteen games against the old enemy in what was just
their 25th game on home turf.
Instead, they were left feeling as flat and disappointed as the Football Ferns performed.
And therein lies the nub - as a team, they didn't!
Bindon, Bridgette Armstrong - she marked her first start with a top performance, Hannah
Wall, and debutant Hannah Wilkinson, who gave her all in a display rich in raw potential,
were the only members of the starting line-up to satisfy the standards expected of them.
Their efforts were bolstered by the introduction of substitutes Rosie White and Annalie
Longo, who both added some much-needed dynamism to a side which, given this rare chance to
play on home soil, never really got going.
Far too many of the side's senior outfield players failed to do justice to the shirt they
usually wear with passion aplenty, and duly produce performances to match. Not today.
Captain Hayley Moorwood, Katie Hoyle, Amber Hearn and US-based Betsy Hassett all looked
short of recent match-play - in the case of the last-mentioned, that's no surprise, given
this was her first game back since suffering a broken leg nearly a year ago.
Last year's Lion Foundation National Women's League affords the other trio no such excuse.
However, one of the star turns in that competition, Kirsty Yallop, was muscled off the ball
more often in this match than happens in an entire calendar year!
As for Abby Erceg and Ria Percival, she of the heavily strapped leg, they had a collective
nightmare on the right-hand side of the Football Ferns' rearguard, so much so that all three
goals scored by the Matildas stemmed from exploiting the inconsistencies so often in
evidence on that flank.
Yes, this was not the Football Ferns' finest hour-and-a-half, not by a long chalk! In fact,
it reminds this writer so much of the inglorious first clash between these countries in
the 2007 series, when the Matildas prevailed 6-0 in Canberra. Then, as now, dissatisfaction abounds.
Australia, as a team, hadn't played an international since Italy mauled them 5-1 a year ago.
But they were made to look good on this occasion by a Football Ferns team which was far too
often guilty of gifting possession to their opponents - the number of times they failed to
deliver accurate, quality passes, particularly in their own half of the pitch.
They struggled to contain the pace of Lisa De Vanna, too, the striker first exploding down
the left in a fifth minute run from half-way into the penalty area before taking on one
Football Fern too many. Bindon mopped up in her usual calm, accomplished manner.
The home team responded nine minutes later with one of their few raids of note in the entire
match. Bindon gathered a cross and threw the ball out to Percival, whose lobbed ball inside
found Yallop in rare space. She guided her header into the path of Wilkinson, who took on a
defender and got the better of her, but shot early and wide of the near post.
There was little between the teams in the first twenty minutes, which was when the Matildas
first unleashed their greatest threat, the ability to counter-attack at pace. Captain
Melissa Barbieri ventured out towards the edge of her penalty area to powerfully punch clear
a Percival free-kick, and it instantly sent Heather Garriock hurtling forward.
It needed all of Percival's recovering powers to thwart the 114-times-capped Australian
veteran, albeit at the expense of a corner, which saw Garriock pick out the head of Thea
Slatyer. Bindon made the resulting save seem easy - like picking a plum off a tree!
She hadn't a prayer in the 24th minute, however, as Erceg, as is so often her wont, dallied
near the edge of her penalty area, and paid the price for her ponderous play. Garriock
caught the defender in possession, and instantly pinged the ball across the box and beyond
the fast-retreating figure of Wall. Arriving on cue was Sarah Walsh, who fair smashed a
ten-yard volley into the top far corner of the net to open the scoring.
That strike silenced the crowd, but they perked up on the half-hour as Percival powered down
the right and delivered an inviting cross towards the far post, where Hassett was arriving
on cue. Clare Polkinghorne, who had a fine game in midfield, tracked her opponent's run
well, and was perfectly placed to head clear.
New Zealand's lack of genuine attacking penetration meant Barbieri and company had little to
concern themselves with for much of the match. Indeed, they were doing it comfortably long
before the end of the first half, with only a superb save by Bindon prevented the visitors
from doubling their advantage eight minutes before the break.
Collette McCallum, making her fiftieth appearance for the Matildas, curled in a free-kick
from the left-hand edge of the penalty area which the 'keeper, at full stretch diving low to
her right, managed to paw away. Garriock outmuscled Percival in getting to the rebound
before cutting in and letting rip a cross-shot - Bindon once more made things look easy.
The second half was mere seconds old when World Cup Finals-bound referee Mike Hester wielded
the yellow card for the second time in the match, Moorwood's ill-timed lunge earning her a
booking, joining the 44th minute entry for Erceg's display of dissent.
The Football Ferns rightly copped an earful from coach John Herdman at half-time, and looked
to respond in the 52nd minute. Wilkinson scampered down the right and fired in a cross which
arced narrowly over Hearn's head. Hoyle, hovering, gathered the loose ball and fired in a
cross towards Wall.
It never reached her, due to the diving headed clearance of Polkinghorne, who directed the
ball to Walsh. The striker instantly stormed downfield, continuing her run even after laying
the ball off the McCallum, who, in turn, found Garriock and, beyond her, De Vanna.
This sweeping move from right to left was afforded a quite superb finish, with De Vanna,
having raced clear of the covering defence, clipping a cross into the near post where Walsh
was arriving on cue. She opened her body and deftly flicked the ball beyond the wrong-footed
Bindon - a quality strike.
And one which knocked the stuffing out of the Football Ferns, for a few minutes at least.
Cue the twin introductions of Longo and White, and with their arrival, some much-needed vim
and vigour, dynamism and desperation, attributes which had been sorely lacking in too many
for too long.
They made an impact, as did Armstrong on Kathryn Gill, the Matildas' beanpole striker, who
went straight down the tunnel nursing an injury when she hobbled off in the 66th minute,
having been done an absolute treat by the youngster, whose lack of fear against the 'old
enemy' reflected the best traditions of her football-steeped pedigree.
Sitting on a 2-0 lead against opponents who didn't even force a corner, let alone trouble
Barbieri unduly, the marauding nature of the Matildas took over in the final twenty minutes,
counter-attacking at pace every time a promising Football Ferns move broke down due to final
More often than not, the visitors outnumbered their hastily retreating opponents as they
swept downfield, such as in the 73rd minute, when substitute Samantha Kerr should have done
an awful lot better when played through by De Vanna.
The duo reversed roles two minutes later - yet another stray pass inside their own half
compromised the home team's creativity - but this time it was De Vanna who was guilty of
spurning the chance, shooting straight at Bindon, who was called upon again six minutes
later to deny Kerr, after De Vanna had done Erceg a treat as she tormented her way down the
In between times, the Matildas should certainly have increased their advantage in the 76th
minute, the moment Erceg and Percival reached their collective nadir in this match. Both
said 'Yours' to each other as they attempted to deal with a situation near the edge of their
penalty area, to which De Vanna gleefully replied 'Thanks' as she stormed between them onto
the loose ball, and surged to the by-line.
Her low cross was missed by substitute Leena Khamis, but Kerr gathered the loose ball and
edged past Armstrong near the by-line before pulling the ball back for her fellow
replacement. Cue an air-shot, much to New Zealand's relief.
The goal De Vanna deserved materialised six minutes from time, and oozed quality in its
finish. Again, it stemmed from a clearance from a promising Football Ferns raid which
instantly sent the Matildas marauding downfield once more, Garriock - a top game - leading
With options left and right as four green-and-gold-clad opponents bore down on three
white-clad rivals, she opted for De Vanna, who powered into the penalty area before
unleashing a tight-angled shot at Bindon. The 'keeper parried it, but the rebound sat up
perfectly for the Australian, who executed the most deft of chips to beat Bindon all ends
up, not to mention those who had beat a hasty retreat towards the goal-line.
3-0, game all but over, although a further twist of the knife was at hand. Before it,
Longo's sweeping ball wide rewarded Percival's forward thrust, and she picked out White
lurking near the edge of the penalty area. She evaded one challenge, but was buffeted once
too often as she looked to shoot on the turn, and never made clean contact.
Nor did Moorwood in the ninetieth minute, at least, not with the ball. But her ill-timed
tackle was to prove costly, referee Hester wielding his yellow card, then the dreaded red
one - the first time in her career New Zealand's captain had seen the hue at first hand.
Sympathetic applause rang out as she ran down the tunnel, but the tears were hers alone.
Stoppage time saves by Bindon prevented both Khamis and Elise Kellond-Knight adding to
Australia's 3-0 advantage, one which extended their winning streak against Oceania's
champions to nineteen matches, although a scoreline more akin to that early 2007 match would
have better reflected their advantage.
Incidentally, that series was also a two-match affair, and the Football Ferns produced a
performance far more in keeping with the passion and pride this writer has come to expect
from New Zealand's national women's team over the last quarter of a century in the second
They didn't deserve to suffer a 1-0 reversal in that Waitangi Day match, so impressively did
they perform. The Matildas know they dodged a bullet that day - hopefully they will be less
evasive when these foes meet again at Bill McKinlay Park from 3pm on Saturday.
NEW ZEALAND: 1. Jenny BINDON (gk), 2. Ria PERCIVAL, 5. Abby ERCEG, 13. Bridgette ARMSTRONG, 15. Hannah WALL (16. Emma KETE +75'), 4. Katie HOYLE
(3. Anna GREEN +67'), 12. Betsy HASSETT (10. Annalie LONGO +57'), 8. Hayley MOORWOOD (c), 11. Kirsty YALLOP, 9. Amber HEARN, 17. Hannah WILKINSON
(14.Rosie WHITE +57')
Subs not used: 18. Kristy HILL, 20. Aroon CLANSEY (rgk)
Cards: Erceg YC 44', Moorwood YC 46', RC 90'
Coach: John Heardman
AUSTRALIA: 1. Melissa BARBIERI (gk) (c), 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (10. Kylie LEDBROOK +76'), 5. Lauren COLTHORPE,
6. Servet UZUNLAR, 7. Heather GARRIOCK, 9. Sarah WALSH (22. Samantha KERR +65'), 11. Lisa DE VANNA, 12. Kathryn GILL
(19. Leena KHAMIS +65'), 13. Thea SLATYER (15. Sally SHIPARD +45'), 14. Collette MCCALLUM (27. Aivi LUIK +71'), 16. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT
Subs not used: 17. Kyah Simon, 18. Lydia Williams (rgk), 23. Kim Carroll, 24. Tameka Butt
Cards: De Vanna YC 90'
Coach: Tom Sermani
Referee: Mike Hester (NZ) - Rating: 6/10
Best players: 3. Lisa De Vanna (Aus), 2. Jenny Bindon (NZ), 1. Heather Garriock (Aus)
Game ratings: 6/10
Pitch rating: 8/10