Flying Kiwis will keep you up to date on the endeavours of New Zealand sports folk overseas. Not the battlers, mind you, but the genuine overlooked and underappreciated superstars that for some ridiculous reason don’t get a look in on local media.
Chris Wood – Leicester City (English Championship)
Woody returned to the bench this week, having missed a few games with a hamstring issue, but he didn’t make it into the action. Leicester City held off Huddersfield to win their fifth straight home game in the Championship, and move to within 2 points off top spot. Even before his injury, Wood seemed to be the third choice forward behind Jamie Vardy (who opened the scoring here) and Dave Nugent. With an absolutely crucial All Whites game coming up in less than a month in Mexico City, though, it’s just good to know that Woody is getting back to full fitness, because he’ll almost certainly be leading the kiwi line in that one.
Up Next: Bournemouth, next Sunday morning at 3am (NZT)
Tommy Smith – Ipswich Town (English Championship)
It was a spirited effort, but Ipswich wasted too many chances, and eventually fell to a red hot Burnley side, which extended their Championship winning streak to 6 games, putting them on top of the table. Tommy Smith was one of the best players on the park, lurking around the backline, clearing the ball effectively and mopping up the loose ball. But with the game heading towards a draw, Burnley’s Scott Arfield found himself in the right place at the right time and buried his header for the 80th minute winner. Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy was notably pissed, as Ipswich had done well to blunt the streaking Burnley attack, and would have been good value for a point. The loss keeps Ipswich buried in the swamps of mid-table obscurity.
Up Next: The Potters travel to Bolton, 3am Sunday 27 Oct (NZT)
Marco Rojas – VfB Stuttgart (Bundesliga)
According to a Bleacher Report article last week, apparently we know Rojas as “the kiwi Messi” in this country. Well, regardless, Marco is still on his way back from his preseason foot injury, so he missed his Stuttgart side battle to a 3-3 draw against Rafael Van Der Vaart’s Hamburger FC (RVDV scored the final equaliser). It’s pretty impossible to find much out on Rojas’ recovery, but all going to schedule, he should be back in full training by now.
Up Next: FC Nurnberg comes to town, Saturday morning 7.30am (NZT)
Winston Reid – West Ham United (English Premier League)
Once more, West Ham went in without a recognised striker. But while they got away with that against Spurs, Manchester City was another story. Sergio Aguero was too much for Reid and co. to handle, scoring a double, and though Ricardo Vaz Te pulled one back, the result wasn’t really in doubt, certainly not after David Silva sealed the 3-1 win. Winston was probably the best of the Hammers defence, winning a few tackles and competing in the air, though nowhere near as dominantly as usual. Clearing headers are a different story when your opponents are dropping crosses on a dime. Reid did his best to make it difficult for City, blocking 3 different shots, but it was too big of an ask, ultimately.
Up Next: Off to Wales to take on Swansea, 5am Monday morning (NZT)