Australia hold out fast finishing New Zealand for 3-2 win

Australia hold out fast finishing New Zealand for 3-2 win

Photo: FFA

Australia withstood a second half fight back to extended their unbeaten run over New Zealand with a 3-2 win in Auckland.

A blistering first half and goals from Emily van Egmond, Michelle Heyman and Caitlin Foord set up the Matildas win despite Sarah Gregorius’ second half brace.

The clash saw senior debuts for goalkeeper Casey Dumont, Sydney FC’s Amy Harrison and 16 year old Adelaide United midfielder Alex Chidiac.

While the opening minutes were tight, it was a more even battle than Australia’s last outing and this time the Matildas took even less gauge the match tempo.

Playing her first minutes for 2015, van Egmond settled nerves when she unleashed from 35 metres to beat out New Zealand goalkeeper Erin Nayler and net a top right screamer.

Before the home side’s defence could catch their breath, Australia were at their goal once again with Foord’s neat flick finding Heyman. The first match goalscorer made it two for the series with a calm finish to double the lead.

On top, Australia looked to press home the advantage and just minutes later Gorry sent an effort flying just wide of Nayler’s goal.

End to end, New Zealand got their first real looks at Dumont’s goal with the debutante forced into several strong claims.

The 20th minute saw Gorry again threaten to extend the lead with a trademark bullet of a free kick beating Nayler but not the woodwork.

Australia’s pressure finally told on the half hour. Again in the thick of the action, Gorry dispossessed a Ferns midfielder, played in Foord with the pacy striker steadying before placing her strike past Nayler.

After a frantic opening 30 the game slowed with physical challenges flying in from both sides.

Heading into half time Rosie White set up Ali Riley with the full back seeing her strike sail just wide giving Australia a 3-0 half time lead.

The second half saw New Zealand make several early substitutions with the result a change in the momentum of the game.

It was 54th minute sub Gregorius who made the biggest impact with the forward unsettling the Matildas defence.

Half time sub Katie Bowen earned the Football Ferns’ first corner of the half and the Kiwis made the most of the chance.

Ria Percival’s floated the corner to back post where Gregorius headed home in the 56th minute to breathe life into the clash.

Buoyed by the goal, New Zealand began to press in earnest as they laid siege to Dumont’s goal but the Sky Blues goalkeeper held firm under the pressure.

New Zealand made the final 10 minutes interesting with Gregorius drifting in behind the Australia defence and, with Dumont charging out, she remained steady to grab her second.

The exchange saw Dumont stretchered off with Brianna Davey her replacement.

Betsy Hassett had a late look at Australia’s goal but the visitor’s managed to hold on and claim a second tri-nations victory.

The Matildas will head back to Australia before departing for next month’s Cyprus Cup where they meet the Netherlands, England and Finland.

Women’s International Tri Series

New Zealand          2 (Gregorius 57’/83′)
Australia                3 (Van Egmond 9′, Heyman 12′, Foord 29′)

Bill McKinlay Park, Auckland
Thursday, 12 February
Kick-Off: 7pm local (5pm AEDT)

Australia: Casey Dumont; Caitlin Foord (Amy Harrison), Clare Polkinghorne, Danielle Brogan, Elise Kellond-Knight; Teresa Polias, Emily Van Egmond (Aivi Luik), Katrina Gorry (Alanna Kennedy), Lisa De Vanna (Alex Chidiac), Hayley Raso, Michelle Heyman (Kyah Simon)

New Zealand: 1. Erin Nayler (GK), 2. Ria Percival, 4. Katie Hoyle, 5. Abby Erceg (capt), 6. Rebekah Stott, 7. Ali Riley, 9. Amber Hearn, 11. Kirsty Yallop (14. Katie Bowen 46’), 13. Rosie White (10. Sarah Gregorius 52’), 16. Annalie Longo (12. Betsy Hassett 58’), 17. Hannah Wilkinson (24. Jasmine Pereira 82’)

Matildas Squad

Nicola BOLGER (Sydney FC), Danielle BROGAN (Adelaide United), Kim CARROLL (Brisbane Roar), Stephanie CATLEY (Melbourne Victory), Alex CHIDIAC (Adelaide United), Hayley CRAWFORD (Newcastle Jets), Larissa CRUMMER (Brisbane Roar), Brianna DAVEY (gk) (Melbourne Victory), Lisa DE VANNA (Melbourne Victory), Casey DUMONT (gk) (Sydney FC), Caitlin FOORD (Perth Glory), Katrina GORRY (Brisbane Roar), Amy HARRISON (Sydney FC), Michelle HEYMAN (Canberra United), Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT (Brisbane Roar), Alanna KENNEDY (Perth Glory), Aivi LUIK (Brisbane Roar), Teresa POLIAS (Sydney FC), Clare POLKINGHORNE (Brisbane Roar), Hayley RASO (Brisbane Roar), Kyah SIMON (Sydney FC), Ashleigh SYKES (Canberra United), Servet UZUNLAR (Sydney FC), Emily VAN EGMOND (Newcastle Jets)