After just two rounds of Lotto Northern Premier Women's League action, Glenfield Rovers are the only team boasting a perfect record after they trounced league newcomers Papakura City 7-0 at McFetridge Park on April 15.
Without suspended defensive lynchpin Marlies James, City were always facing an uphill battle in this contest, and Rovers wasted little time in establishing their superiority, with Liz Savage, Kate Loye and Dayna Stevens all hitting the target in a twelve-minute spell following the tenth minute.
The Kate Sheppard Cup holders eased off after that, but half-time substitute Geena Gross served notice to coach Andrew Clay that she would far sooner be a regular starter when rattling home an eighteen-minute hat-trick in the second spell.
Gross' first goal came on the hour mark, and within five minutes both she and Tamami Endo had bolstered Rovers' lead to 6-0, before the Nelson native claimed the match ball twelve minutes from the end of a match in which City had chances late on, most notably to Britney Cunningham-Lee, only for Alice Noyer to play a pivotal role in ensuring the league leaders would record a clean sheet in this encounter.
A trio of teams lie two points behind Glenfield on the table, including their near-neighbours Forrest Hill-Milford United. "The Swans" prevailed 4-2 in a highly entertaining encounter at Galloway Park against a Claudelands Rovers side which found itself trailing to a quick-fire double from Rose Luxton inside the first ten minutes of the contest.
Leanna Ryan dragged Rovers back into the contest on the quarter-hour, but Arabella Maynard restored United's two-goal cushion twelve minutes later, an advantage which Summer Gunn halved half-way through the second spell.
That set up a grandstand finale, with Rovers striving for a share of the spoils until three minutes from time, when Amy Waters swooped to confirm the three points would be heading north.
Logic would suggest that with two of the teams in an eight-team league being based in Hamilton, it should be easy enough to schedule the fixtures so that there is a Premier Women's League match taking place in Waikato's capital every Sunday during the season.
As we're all too well aware, however, logic and common sense are the rarest of bedfellows in New Zealand footballing circles. So it came to pass that on this 29th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, both Waikato NPWL teams found themselves playing on home turf - the first of seven such schedule clashes this season!
There are also seven weekends when both teams are
playing in Auckland at the same time, last Sunday being the first of them. Clearly haste was of the essence at Auckland Football when the draw was rearranged following Norwest United's eleventh hour withdrawal from the competition.
So to Porritt Stadium, where Hamilton Wanderers came from behind to down reigning champions Three Kings United 2-1, the goals of Briana Rose and Kelli Brown inside the last ten minutes overcoming Ayla Pratt's goal eight minutes into the second half for the visitors, who had four players out due to futsal commitments.
Also emerging as 2-1 winners in this round were Eastern Suburbs, who struck twice inside the first ten minutes of a torrid encounter at Seddon Fields to overcome Western Springs.
While the first goal has been recorded as being scored by Nicole Mettam, the reality is this fourth minute strike was an own goal. Mettam's thirty-yarder hit the crossbar and bounced down, the ball only crossing the line after it had struck the back of diving "Hoops" goalkeeper Selina Spiers.
Five minutes later, there was no doubt whatsoever about the goalscorer, Jade Parris' precise curling twenty-five yarder arcing into the far corner of the net to double "The Lilywhites"' lead.
Inspired by the right flank raids of Georgia Brown, Springs worked their way back into the contest, and were duly rewarded eight minutes before half-time when Kim Nottingham headed home Brown's cross from close range.
Before the interval, Lily Rose Dyer hit the post as the home team piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser, but it was to prove elusive against a team fielding Charne Van der Walt in goal in the absence of the injured Corina Brown, the first time she's donned the gloves since her primary school days!
Next Sunday's action spotlights the North Harbour derby at Becroft Park, where "The Swans" will look to put the skids on Glenfield. Hamilton head to McLennan Park to take on Papakura, while "The Lilywhites" welcome Claudelands to Madills Farm on a day Three Kings and Springs meet at Keith Hay Park in their Central Auckland derby.
Claudelands Rovers 2 (L. Ryan (16), S. Gunn (67)), Forrest Hill-Milford United 4 (R. Luxton (8, 9), A. Maynard (27), A. Waters (87)) HT 1-3
Glenfield Rovers 7 (L. Savage (10), K. Loye (16), D. Stevens (22), G. Gross (61, 64, 78), T. Endo (66)), Papakura City 0 HT 3-0
Hamilton Wanderers 2 (B. Rose (80), K. Brown (85)), Three Kings United 1 (A. Pratt (53)) HT 0-0
Western Springs 1 (K. Nottingham (37)), Eastern Suburbs 2 ("oggie" (4), J. Parris (9)) HT 1-2