Australia leveled the series with a strong performance | (Credit: Kim Logarzo)
A strong performance from the Young Matildas has seen Australia level their three match series with New Zealand thanks to a 4 - 0 victory today at Kiwitea Street.
A goal to Melissa Caceras and an own goal in the opening 10 minutes and second half goals from Tara Andrews and Alicia Bass helped the Young Matildas to overturn their first match defeat.
In direct contrast to Thursday's series opener, Australia started the match strongly with Player of the Match Hayley Raso using her blistering pace to good effect early. Five minutes in Raso produced a lovely cross to find Caceras, with the latter finishing easily to give the visitors the lead.
Looking to capitalise on the bright start, the Young Matildas exerted pressure on the Kiwis and were rewarded with a goal minutes later. Dispossessing the Junior Football Ferns in the midfield, Australia transitioned well up the pitch before Kiwi Laura Merrin's attempted clearance, under pressure from Raso, hit the post before trickling across the line for Australia's second.
Two goals down the Ferns finally had their first sight at goal late in the half but the Young Matildas defence, led by Mackenzie Arnold stood firm and they took a 2 - 0 lead into half time.
On the restart Australia, and Raso, continued where they left of with a poor New Zealand back pass picked up by Raso. In space, the lively forward was only foiled by New Zealand goalkeeper Lily Alfred who stood tall before blocking the Canberra United striker's shot.
However with Australia controlling proceedings a third goal as was only a matter of time and in the 61st minute it was Raso again who made the play as she got in behind the Kiwi defence before crossing to find Tara Andrews. Unmarked, and with an open goalmouth beckoning, Andrews had a simple tap in to effectively seal the match.
First match Ferns goalscorer Megan Lee went close to netting a consolation with an excellent goalward bound free kick but Arnold was equal to the task with an acrobatic save. Heading into injury time substitute Alicia Bass completed Australia's performance when she added a fourth.
aus 4 - nz 0 .. that's what's up ?
— Mackenzie Arnold (@MaccaArnold1) July 27, 2013
Player of the match, shocked but so happy!! :) Great game today girls, one more to go! #AUSvNZL #youngmatildas
— Hayley Raso (@HayleyRaso) July 27, 2013
On ya girls for killing it today :) keeeen for the decider #AUSvsNZ #fiz
— alexandra huynh (@alexandra_huynh) July 27, 2013
The final game of the series will be played on Monday July 29th at Seddon Street.
New Zealand 0
Australia 4 (Melissa Caceras, Laura Merin O.G., Tara Andrews, Alicia Bass)
Saturday July 27, 2013
Kiwitea Street, Auckland
Junior Football Ferns: 1 – Lily ALFED; 2 – Holly PATTERSON (9 – Emily JENSEN); 4 – Catherine BOTT; 5 – Katie BOWEN (7 – Emily STOTTER); 6 Hannah CARLSEN; 10 – Lauren DABNER (11 – Chloe KNOTT); 14 – Meikayla MOORE; 15 – Briar MACNAMARA (20 – Emma ROLSTON); 16 – Tayla O’BRIEN; 17 – Laura MERRIN (3 – Megan LEE); 19 – Briar PALMER (19 – Jasmine PEREIRA)
Australia: 1 – Mackenzie ARNOLD; 4 – Grace FIELD; 5 – Emma CHECKER (17 – Natasha WHEELER); 7 – Chloe LOGARZO; 8 – Nat TOBIN; 10 – Hayley RASO; 12 – Tara ANDREWS (11 – Britt WHITFIELD); 13 – Melissa CACERAS (20 – Alicia BASS); 14 – Meg McLAUGHLIN (19 – Grace MACINTYRE; 9 – Olivia PRICE); 15 – Liz RALSTON; 16 – Amy HARRISON