Auckland 1-1 Loaded WaiBOP - 2018 NWL

Auckland had the chance to draw level on points with second placed Canterbury United Pride this weekend but the reigning champions were left to kick themselves after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to WaiBOP, who made the short trip north with only three previous points to their name.

Auckland could have ended this match out of the play-off picture altogether had a last-gasp strike from Tessa Leong in stoppage time not saved their season. In previous years, final placings in the play-off positions have been determined by head-to-head records if any teams were level on points. But the primary determining factor is now goal difference, meaning Auckland would have needed to earn an improbably large win over Canterbury to make the final had it not been for Leong’s late intervention.

With multiple absentees due to international commitments and injuries, coach Tracy Wrigley had described the build-up to the WaiBOP game as the toughest week of Auckland’s campaign so far. Such difficulties were matched by WaiBOP, which left the prospect of an open and unpredictable encounter on the table.

And so it played out.

The favourites found themselves a goal down against their visitors after Lilly Muspratt had given WaiBOP the lead with just under 20 minutes remaining. It was then all hands to the pump for Auckland as they desperately scrambled to keep their title defence alive and finally found a vital equaliser with one of the last kicks of the game, Sophie Bradley swinging in a perfectly-placed cross for Leong to half-volley into the top corner.

Auckland Football 1-1 WaiBOP Football 1 (ht: 0-0)
AKL: Tessa Leong.
WBP: Lilly Muspratt.

WaiBOP squad: 21. Rylee Godbold, 3. Kate Williams, 4. Olivia Hooper, 5. Chloe Henderson, 6. Jayden Watts, 8. Stella Neems, 11. Lilly Muspratt, 13. Tiana Hill, 14. Richlyn Tuhoro, 15. Grace Cox, 19. Ashley Weld. Subs (not used): 23. Amy Harrison, 7. Emma Cawte, 20. Chelsea Elliott.

Photo: PhotoSport.


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