Written by the Football Federation Australia
The Australian Under 17 Women's team has finished their 'Future Stars' tournament in New Zealand with an encouraging 1-0 win over the hosts in Auckland.
A Marianna Tabain penalty just a minute before half time secured the win and third place in the tournament.
The match was a typical clash between these two arch rivals with both keen to beat the other, the hosts more so, given they are using this as vital preparation for FIFA Under 17 Women's Tournament later this year in New Zealand.
Encouraged by their performance against Germany on Thursday, the Aussie girls started off brightly and had the early pressure, although it was Casey Dumont that was forced into the first serious save of the match, diving to her left to stop a shit from the edge of the area.
Australia’s first chance came to Tameka Butt, which was just wide in the 11th minute. This was followed by a Teigan Allen effort after 25 minutes that was just over the crossbar.
After New Zealand squandered a good chance in the 31st minute, it was Australia that dominated the latter part of the half and duly went ahead in the 44th minute.
Minutes earlier Butt had an effort blocked by the keeper, but when she was felled in the box, Australia was awarded a penalty. Butt’s penalty hit the crossbar, but luckily for her, the linesman had raised his flag for the goalkeeper moving off her line. Marianna Tabain re-took the penalty and made no mistake.
An extended injury time, due to an injury to a New Zealand player, saw Australia unlucky to not go further ahead, with Butt just missing the top corner, while the Sophie Hogben was denied by a superb save from the NZ keeper.
The second half saw end-to end action as New Zealand searched earnestly for an equaliser, while Australia was dangerous on the counter.
The best of the chances for Australia came five minutes into the second half, with Samantha Kerr shaving the upright from close range, while both teams also hit the woodwork.
Coach Gary Phillips was ecstatic with the win, with the performances improving with each game.
"Again very happy with the performance," said Phillips. "The players showed plenty of character despite their age.
"The numerous missed opportunities not taken perhaps put more pressure on us as a team, but the focus was a clean sheet today which we achieved."
"All in all a great experience for all girls, especially those girls getting their first taste of international football," he added.