Sizzling comeback in final game

Three goals beyond the 80th minute have seen WaiBOP snatch an unexpected, but incredibly well received, draw from an eight goal thriller at Hamilton's Porritt Stadium.

Substitute, Stella Neems, set the seal on the comeback, racing through to bundle the ball home four minutes into added time. Earlier captain, Michaela Foster, whipped the ball home from a corner in the 81st minute, then Chelsea Elliott nodded home from another Foster corner with two regulation minutes remaining as WaiBOP came from three goals down.

Auckland almost had the final say but were denied by Ryley Godbold's crossbar in the final seconds of a quite mad final quarter.

Grace Wisnewski opened the scoring, in somewhat fortunate circumstances, inside the opening 20 minutes, when her shot from distance squirmed home. But Auckland, who had been the stronger of the two teams during the first half, struck back through Daisey Cleverley and Tayla O'Brien to lead at the break.

Rina Hirano and O'Brien, with her second, pushed the visitors further ahead with goals either side of the hour mark as Auckland looked to be settling in for a comfortable victory. But they couldn't account for the way football sometimes takes players, coaches and fans by surprise.  

This was a memorable way for us to bow out in what was, given the recent National League System announcement, WaiBOP's final ever national league game. From 2021, the WaiBOP, Auckland and Northern Federations will be represented by the top four clubs in the NRFL Women's Premier League.   

WaiBOP 4-4 Auckland (ht: 1-2)
WB: Grace Wisnewski (18'), Michaela Foster (81'), Chelsea Elliott (88'), Stella Neems (90+4').
WB: Daisey Cleverley (35'), Tayla O'Brien (42', 61'), Rina Hirano (57').

WaiBOP squad: 1. Ryley GODBOLD (GK), 2. Mania ELLIOTT, (14. Sarah CARPENTER 67'), 3. Serena MURRIHY (17. Caitlin BYRNE 46'), 5. Michaela FOSTER, 7. Emma CAWTE (13. Stella NEEMS 61'), 8. Kate LOYE (11. Olivia HOOPER 75'), 9. Kelli BROWN, 10. Grace WISNEWSKI, 16. Maddi OLLINGTON, 19. Kate MCCONNELL (6. Lilly MUSPRATT 46'), 20. Chelsea ELLIOTT.


Watch a full replay here.


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