Women's Football: Whanganui draws with Massey University

07 May 2019

Teenager Eva Thompson (left) played well in her debut game in the staring lineup.
PHOTO / Lewis Gardner (photo to come)

Team Ritesh Football Whanganui remains undefeated in the Women's Federation League, although as expectations increase they likely would not be satisfied to be held to a 1-1 draw with Massey University FC at Wembley Park on Sunday.

Whanganui scored first at home with captain Vanya Apiata-Hodgkinson getting her second goal in as many games, and third of the season, before Massey pegged it back just before halftime.

Coach Matt Calvert said the visitors looked to keep their momentum going after the break, but his team weathered the storm, thanks to some good defence and "outrageous" saves by goalie Megan O'Connor.

The home finished the stronger but could not force a match-winner, extending their record to one win and three draws, with ten goals scored and five conceded.

"We felt we had more of the play, but then when they were on top they caused us lots of problems," said Calvert.

"Our goal keeper made the better saves.

"We played out from the back really well, worked the ball forward."

O'Connor, who had been asked to improve her game this season, has lifted considerably at training and the coach said she had a superb match.

"We believe in her, she's got the potential to even move on higher."

Candice Armstrong was strong in the middle of the park, which is crucial because the structure Football Whanganui plays means that position can sometimes become isolated.

Rebekah Chamberlain and Lisa Walker had good games at the back, while 15-year-old Eva Thompson had her first start and gave an encouraging effort.

Again, the side did not go into their shells when put under pressure – a hang-up of the team's two previous League campaigns when they managed just one win and a draw in each year.

"They have been taking responsibility this season," said Calvert.

"There's all sorts of coaching you can do....but they take responsibility in what they do.

"Create the performance before the result."

The draw maintains Football Whanganui in second place on the table by points differential over Palmerston North Marist, who held clear leaders Hokowhitu FC to their first draw of the season, 2-2 at Memorial Park.

In the other game, Taradale AFC beat Feilding United 4-1 at Timona Park.

The Federation League resumes on May 19 when Football Whanganui will travel to take on Hokowhitu to complete the first round of games.

By Jared Smith
Whanganui Chronicle 7/5/19