Flying Kiwis – April 24

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Michael Woud – Willem II (Dutch Eredivisie)

A minor tweak for the usual number tahi Timon Wellenreuther and Michael Woud, fresh from being named in the Junior All Whites for the U20 World Cup in a few weeks, was up for his second Eredivisie start. In that league debut he’d made a pretty disappointing error that clouded an otherwise solid performance. This time there was no such dark cloud... although at one stage his gloves did rip and he had to switch ‘em over for a new pair. Goalkeeper troubles, aye?

Willem II took the lead after quarter of an hour when Renato Tapia slammed one in from outside the box, a quality finish from the Peruvian international. In off the post and there you go. But opponents Excelsior lived up to the efforts of their name and a searching ball forwards caught Woud out as he collided with his own defender trying to gather the ball up and ended up scrambling with it outside the box, called up for the free kick but escaping without a card.

Woud made a strong save rushing out, parrying the ball off with his chest while staying big, later in the half to deny Ali Messaoud when he’d broken the offside trap then, in a situation similar to his debut error, he had no trouble dealing with a long range drive from Jurgen Mattheij, soft hands doing the business. Willem II then settled into a more defensive mindset in the second half knowing that a clean sheet would take care of everything. Woudy without too much to do, his defenders stepping it up.

He did concede one with twenty to play but the offside flag took care of that. And then since, you know, what goes around comes around, Willem II thought they’d been awarded a penalty with five minutes left that would have sealed it if they’d scored, a handball in the box, but the VAR said no deal and the call was reversed. Then just to rub it in they conceded right at the bloody end of it to let the victory slip. Third minute of stoppage time and Tapia flicked on a defensive header but he flicked it straight to Mounir El Hamdaoui who didn’t give Michael Woud a chance with a sharp finish.

A 1-1 draw then. Disappointing considering they were so close to the three points. Woud wasn’t too chuffed with the result when he was interviewed after the game for the telly although with FC Utrecht losing to FC Emmen it means that Willem II are only three points off the Europa League playoffs with three games left to play. Willem II have been a bit boring lately but when they concede nearly two goals per game on average they sorta need to keep it sturdy.

Timo Wellenreuther picked up his injury in training and it’s nothing serious, however with Willem II playing on a quick turnaround against title challengers (and Ryan Thomas’ crew) PSV on Friday morning so that might be another chance to start, gotta wait and see how it goes. Right now Woud’s job is just to be ready when he’s needed. By the way, James McGarry was on the bench here too. Heres hoping that lad gets to add to his five appearances this season (totalling 172 mins).

Up Next: Willem II vs PSV Eindhoven, Friday morning at 6.45am (NZT)

Chris Wood – Burnley (English Premier League)

Not every game lets you bag a brace and be the star man. Not every game is going to be won either. But as the final whistle blew at Stamford Bridge for a 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Burnley, it sure looked like the Clarets had won. The celebrations were well earned after a magnificent defensive performance in the second half, especially by the immense Ben Mee, helped Burnley hang on for their 40th point of the season, taking them to that eternal preseason target where relegation is just a word you read about for other teams.

The entire second half, basically, Burnley played with structure and purpose with all eleven blokes getting well involved. Which meant that Chris Wood wasn’t just hovering up top for the hold-up options, he was getting back and winning headers, putting his body behind the ball, working extremely hard alongside Ashley Barnes (who was intent on leaving a few bruises too) to hang in there.

Barnes had scored the equaliser in the 24th minute. Jeff Hendrick struck first with a beautiful volley but N’Golo Kante made use of some sublime work from Eden Hazard, who left Matt Lowton on his arse, to thump in the leveller a couple minutes later and only a couple minutes after that Gonzalo Higuain scored a beauty of his own to take the lead. But Barnesy wasn’t having that and a deep free kick was lobbed to the far post for Ben Mee to head across. That head across was then met by Chris Wood with his own head across and Ashley Barnes did the rest. Surely we can count that as an assist for The Woodsman, right? Fantasy Premier League gave it to him.

Then, yeah, the goals dried up after four in 24 minutes and this game became a matter of Burnley’s defence withstanding what Chelsea had to throw at them. By the end of it Mauricio Sarri had been sent to the stands and Burnley had done exactly what they needed to, despite David Luiz having a crack at their style of play afterwards.

Chris Wood: “Reaching 10 [goals] in the league is fantastic, another little milestone for myself. Having two strikers around the double figures mark is fantastic for the club. It's put us in a good position. It's nice that we keep ticking over together and keep scoring goals. They were both three yards out on Saturday, which is nice. It's nice getting those tap ins. Cardiff came and basically needed to win. They didn't want to get opened up too early. So it was good for us to get the early goal, we could have had a few more by half time but that's the way it goes.”

Up Next: Burnley vs Manchester City, Monday at 1.05am (NZT)

Paige Satchell – SC Sand (German Frauen-Bundesliga)

Already with the undercover reputation of being the fastest player on the planet, Footy Ferns speedster Paige Satchell is about to share that reputation with the nation of Germany when she joins up with top division club SC Sand for next season. Yet another of the Future Ferns Development Programme grads to step up into the pro ranks in recent years.

Paige Satchell: “I’m super excited to have signed for SC Sand and am looking forward to this new chapter in my football journey. It’s going to be a big change in environment and culture but I’m ready to embrace the challenge and further develop my football. This is my first professional football contract and I’m very happy to have signed for a good club and to have the opportunity to play in a top professional league such as the Bundesliga. I’m ready to push myself to get the most out of this opportunity.”

Satchell’s sneakily becoming a favoured option off the bench for Tom Sermanni with the national team and looks a great bet to be heading to the World Cup in a couple months. She’s signed for the 2019-20 season so won’t play any part in the remainder of this current campaign (Meikayla Moore’s MSV Duisburg played SC Sand last week), linking up with the side some time after the World Cup presumably.

SC Sand coach Sascha Glass: “We are delighted that Paige has chosen SC Sand. She is a young, dynamic player. Above all I’ve been impressed by her speed. We are sure she will help our team next season.”

Sweet as.

Up Next: A few German lessons, probably

Katie Rood – Lewes (English Championship)

Lewes have been up against it a little this season, sitting ninth on the ladder out of eleven with a couple more games to play. There’s a chance they can get up into the middle of the table but there’s no worries about relegation so it’s definitely the soft end of the season. A few teams like that on this list right now, to be honest. So you find your motivation to go out there and play well and get results however you can. Personal pride is one thing. Personal hunger is even more of an incentive. “Here’s one to warm your socks and ignite your appetite at the same time. New Zealand international Katie Rood rescued a point for Fran Alonso’s side as they drew 2-2 with Aston Villa – all for the love of a Greggs vegan sausage roll. Lewes had fallen two behind as Asmita Ale and Jodie Hutton turned home in the first half but the away side had brought a secret weapon with them. After Rood had halved the deficit she was encouraged on Twitter to grab herself a second and a post-match snack to which she duly obliged and in the final minute of the game, steered Rosie Paye’s cutback home to earn a point. She must have been starving.”

Last minute equaliser, aye? Roodie had scored in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace two months ago, now she’s bagged a brace against Aston Villa and that’s what we wanna see as we near towards the World Cup… goals. Important goals too. And the vegan sausage roll rewards probably didn’t go astray either.

Nor the extra recognition…

Up Next: Home to Sheffield United at midnight on Monday (NZT)

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

Alright now exhale because the Portland Timbers have finally won a game this season… and they did so with Bill Tuiloma starting in defence again so it feels safe to finally say he’s in that first choice eleven at this point. And should stay there too after the Timbers beat a very strong Columbus Crew side 3-1 to finally crack the egg in the W column.

Starting at CB along with his mate Larrys Mabiala in a back four, Tuiloma had a relatively quiet game as the two sides took a while to figure each other out. Columbus had the better of the chances to begin but when Mabiala nodded in the first goal on the end of a deep free kick after half an hour, that changed things. The Timbers’ conservative start, looking to keep it steady and in shape, was now a fair bit easier playing from in front and they doubled that lead four minutes later through Jeremy Ebobisse.

The Crew were allowed a way back into the game when keeper Jeff Attinella gave the ball away stupidly and allowed Pedro Santos to chip him from distance. But he made a couple useful saves and then in injury time Jorge Moreira polished it off for the Timbers with a third goal. By then they’d switched it up to a back three just to keep it safe. It took until their seventh game but that’s a first win of the campaign for Portland… who blessedly rise above the Colorado Rapids on the table.

Here are some yarns from Billy T after the game…

Up Next: Away to Toronto FC on Sunday at 7am (NZT)

Olivia Chance – Everton (English Super League)

Some late subs mean more than others. With this late appearance from Olivia Chance, coming on in the 88th minute of a 2-1 defeat away to probable champion Arsenal, she completed her long road back to fitness and just in time with a World Cup on the horizon. Chancey played off the bench for the Footy Ferns the other week, this was her first game for Everton having returned to full training around the start of the year. Incredibly it was one day short of an exact a year since she first did her ACL in a game against Reading.

Everton are second to last on the table with just two wins this league season but guaranteed to avoid relegation. There are two more games left in the Super League season.

Up Next: Everton vs Reading, 1am on Monday (NZT)

Ali Riley – Chelsea FC (English Super League)

Won’t talk about this one as much as it’d be nice to because disappointingly Ali Riley didn’t even make the bench… but Chelsea’s hopes of making the Champions League final are still alive despite a 2-1 defeat away to Lyon. The French side had the bulk of the chances and were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to a Magdalena Eriksson own goal and a little flick-on from Amandine Henry. Guts to Eriksson, who was the same player who scored the devastating last minute OG that cost the Blues the FA Cup semi last week too.

Chelsea then blew the chance to strike back when Fran Kirby missed from the penalty spot, keeper Sarah Bouhaddi saving the effort struck pretty much straight at her. But a wonderful goal from Erin Cuthbert in the last twenty minutes of the game ensured that Chelsea left with a crucial away strike and a fair bit of hope to progress past the defending champs if they can win it in London in the second leg. Barcelona won 1-0 away to Bayern Munich in the other game.

Up Next: Chelsea vs Lyon, 1am on Monday (NZT)

Tyler Boyd – MKE Ankaragücü (Turkish Süper Lig)

Huh, strange. Tyler Boyd played but… he didn’t score or set up a single goal. Ankers were held 0-0 by Konyaspor. Both teams had their chances but were wasteful, nothing meaningful to report for Tyler Boyd though. Can’t be scoring every week, after all.

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Up Next: Away to Besiktas, Monday at 4am (NZT)

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish Superliga)

A 1-0 win over Horsens has kept alive Sonders’ hopes of avoiding that relegation playoff, with Thomas Juel-Nielson scoring the only goal with ten minutes left. Marco Rojas was left on the bench but with scores still even and half an hour to go he was chucked on off the bench. Didn’t have anything to do with the goal, which came after the keeper spilled a soft header from a free kick, but whatever. As long as he’s playing. He hasn’t had the immediate impact that he’d have wanted when he signed from Heerenveen, that’s for sure, but football’s weird like that. He only played 60 league minutes for Heerenveen and has already logged 425 with SønderjyskE in eight games (four starts and four subs appearances).

Up Next: SønderjyskE vs Vejle, midnight on Monday (NZT)

Nikko Boxall – Viborg FF (Danish Division 1)

A last minute equaliser from Jeppe Grønning just earned Viborg a massive point at home against Næstved. Lose that one and they’d have sunk to second equal with their opponents. The late draw instead keeps them three clear of Næstved (who have a game in hand) in first place and ahead of Silkeborg at the top on goal difference. Phew, take ya hankie and wipe the sweat off your brow. Nikko played the whole thing as per usual.

Up Next: HB Køge away at 11.30pm on Saturday (NZT)

Abby Erceg – North Carolina Courage (American National Women’s Soccer League)

The season began with a feisty draw against Chicago Red Stars in which the Courage were actually kinda lucky not to lose. Things were back to 2018 form for their second game though. Orlando Pride came to town and it was never really close. The Courage took their sweet time in breaking down the Pride defence and it was Orlando who had the best chance of the opening stages when only a heavy touch stopped Rachel Hill from opening the scoring. But from the moment that Sam Mewis hit the crossbar after half an hour this thing was only going one way.

Lynn Williams scored the first after the Courage had stolen the ball off the Pride midfield, that in the 45th minute of the first half. North Carolina then came out and scored four in the second, Jess McDonald, two for Crystal Dunn, and Julia Spetsmark with the goals and that meant a clean sheet for Abby Erceg and the defence. 5-0 win. Shows this team is gonna be just as formidable as they were last season.

Up Next: Houston Dash vs NCC, 10am on Monday (NZT)

Katie Bowen – Utah Royals (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Picking up where she left off last season, Katie Bowen was selected at right back for the Royals in their season opener (having had the bye last week). Ninety minutes in that backline, getting forwards and swinging in those excellent crosses. The Royals have done a bit of work in improving their team this time too and they clearly came out looking fired up, pressing high and causing issues for the Washington Spirit. Ten minutes in they saw the benefits as Christen Press won the ball high up, skipped past a couple defender, and set up Lo’eau LaBonta for Utah’s first goal of 2019.

It’d be all they needed. Washington had a handful of chances but most were shots from range and although Press and LaBonta both had great chances to score that second and failed to do so, the clean sheet meant that the Royals kicked it off with a 1-0 win. 

RSL Soapbox Player Ratings: “Katie Bowen - 6 | Katie was involved both on defense and on the offensive side. She put in a solid shift.”

Up Next: Orlando Pride vs Utah Royals, Sunday at 11.30am (NZT)

Stefan Marinovic - Bristol City (English Championship)

Strange times for Stef, who was once again left off the bench as the Robins chose to go at it without a reserve keeper on the weekend against Reading. As has happened twice now, manager Lee Johnson took the gamble that starter Max O’Leary wouldn’t get an injury or red card and he stacked his bench with an extra outfield alternative instead. Sure enough, like 99.9% of games, there wasn’t a goalkeeping injury and Bristol City went home with a 1-1 draw.

But Marinovic has been sighted a few times chipping in for the U23s and he started for them again last week in a 2-1 win over Birmingham. Made a couple nice saves and generally kept himself busy. However getting back into the starters ahead of O’Leary is looking a bloody slim chance the way that Max has been going. He was brilliant against Aston Villa last week making nine saves and he’s a big hit with the fans already. He made the EFL team of the week seven days ago. So yeah, that’s where we’re at right now.

Max O’Leary: “I thought I might have been on loan at the beginning of the year but things have happened so I've been involved, and it's good to be finally playing some games. It's always competitive in a goalkeeping environment. You're always working in an isolated area so it is good to have competition and it's healthy for every position.”

Marinovic was back on the bench in the midweek however – wonder what the logic is between which games he wants a sub keeper and which he doesn’t – but a 2-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday away, Barry Bannan and Lucas Joao with first half goals, has put their playoffs hopes in a bit of strife. Three games in a row without a win and while they’re still well in the hunt for sixth with Middlesbrough and Derby, a win over the Rams next game is looking rather essential.

Up Next: Sunday at 2am against Derby County (NZT)

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

The Loons couldn’t have started much better away to Toronto FC as Darwin Quintero skipped in behind the defence in the 17th minute, beat the keeper to the bouncing ball, and tapped into an empty net to give Minnesota the lead. But it only lasted ten minutes before a counter attack found the Minny midfield completely absent without leave and Mike Boxall was left trying to keep his feet against a full speed Alejandro Pozuelo. He stuck with him okay but Pozuelo smashed it in from outside the box anyway.

Two minutes later Minnesota got caught out down their right side of defence and Pozuelo bashed in a second. This game was a crazy one, plenty more where that came from. In the second half the Loons tied it up off the head of Angelo Rodriguez before the same bloke won a penalty for Quintero to score and they were winning again.

Yet with quarter of an hour to go, Toronto struck again. Jordan Hamilton with the goal and maybe Boxall could have marked him tighter to keep from allowing the dude to sneak in through the backline. Debatable… but it that one wasn’t Boxall’s fault then the next sure was. With the ball flipped over the top, Jozy Altidore lobbed the keeper but Boxall looked to have it covered… until he inexplicably let it bounce and 7 dashed in to get his head to it first. Mikey getting a deserved bollicking from his keeper for that one. At least he didn’t react like a couple of his teammates, with the Loons getting a pair of red cards in the dying stages, each for sloppy and dangerous tackles (one a straight red and one a second yellow). Jan Gregus and Francisco Calvo gonna miss the next game now, silly buggers.

So that was a royal mess then. Mike Boxall right in the middle of it too, unfortunately, and it sounds like the dressing room was not a peaceful place to be in the aftermath.

Michael Boxall: “A lot of tempers boiled over. A couple of us left our marks on the training room there. A lot of anger and a lot of disappointment and rightfully so because that’s one or three points that we maybe should be bringing home.”

The gaffer Adrian Heath said that Boxall was the first to hold his hand up in responsibility for his performance. As to what the hell was going on for that fourth goal, the winner?

MB again: “If I touch it, it’s going in the goal, so I have to get around it to try to get it away. I have no idea that the other guy is steaming in. That is one of the most embarrassing moments of my career.”

Up Next: Thursday at midday at home to LA Galaxy (NZT)

Meikayla Moore – MSV Duisburg (German Frauen-Bundesliga)

Ah, not so great here either. But it was never going to be. Duisburg were away to first-placed Wolfsburg and that was always gonna be a tough one. Meikayla Moore actually scored against this lot last time they played and it was the first goal Wolfsburg had conceded all season having begun with seven straight clean sheets. That game was a 2-1 defeat at home, this one was a 5-0 defeat away.

Moore seems to be playing as a defensive midfielder these days, which is funky, granted with Wolfsburg on the attack and Duisburg defending deep that might as well have been centre back. A couple early goals put this one mostly out of range and although the Zebras had a couple half moments, their opponents scored again early in the second half and kinda cruised home from there. 5-0 and the highlights are here. Two wins in their final three games will secure the title for Wolfsburg now. Meanwhile MSV Duisburg were helped by Bayer Leverkusen losing again, keeping them four points clear of relegation with three games left. They play Hoffenheim, Turbine Potsdam (A), and Frankfurt, all tricky games against upper/mid table teams but with that four point buffer they might not even need to win another one. But it’d be nice if they did to make it a guarantee with time to spare.

Up Next: Midnight on Monday at home to Hoffenheim (NZT)

Niko Kirwan – Urbs Reggina 1914 (Italian Serie C)

That’s nice. That’s Niko’s first strike of the season but he’s been a regular face in the Reggina team, starting 32 games out of 34 and playing more minutes than anybody else in the squad. Little bit of a breakthrough season for the 23 year old in his second season in Italy who it sounds like has been playing right back a lot of the time. With that win the team needs only to win their next game to secure a playoff spot in the Italian third tier. Nothing drastic with the goal, just right place at the right time and a simple finish from in close… but the celebration was next level.

Up Next: Vibonese vs Reggina, Monday at 1am (NT)

Clayton Lewis – Scunthorpe United (English League One)

Well now, would you look at that! Fresh from getting on off the bench for the Iron on the weekend for the last three minutes of a goalless draw against Blackpool, Lewis was given a rare start for the quick turnaround away to Charlton on Easter Monday. How rare exactly? It was his first start of the season after 12 appearances off the bench, his first start in any competition since November 2018, and his first start in the league since November 2017.

What’d be nice now is to say that Clayton scored a double and set up another in a 3-1 win or something… but in reality they lost 4-0 and remain a point off safety with a crap goal difference and only two games left to play. Lewis played 75 minutes and Scunthorpe might have had better luck had they taken one of two late chances in the first half to equalise, but they weren’t able to and ended up crumbling against a very good Charlton side when playing at home.

Bloody awful, tbh. That’s now nine games without a win in a row and with Southend beating Burton 3-2 that means Scunthorpe are officially relegation bound if they lose their final two games. Bradford City at home and then Plymouth Argyle away. Bradford are bottom and already relegated while Plymouth are only one point ahead of Scunny so they’re definitely not out of it yet. Just gotta get it done now. That last result doesn’t do much for Clayton’s chances of playing a big role in these last two but the fact that he started shows the reward for hanging in there as he’s been steadily getting more and more opportunities in recent months.  

Up Next: Home vs Bradford City at 2am on Sunday (NZT)

Steven Old – Morecambe (English League Two)

Not often this season that you see a scoreline like this one in Morecambe’s favour but having been scoreless at the break, the Shrimps came out and picked apart Cheltenham for a 4-0 victory. Ninety minutes and a clean sheet for Steven Old at the back there, as Vadaine Oliver, Kevin Ellison, Sam Lavelle, and Aaron Collins all scored to mark a pretty big win there on Easter Monday. Usually a 4-0 result is going the other direction with this team… in fact they lost 4-0 to Mansfield just three days earlier. Cancels each other out then, the most important news is that Morecambe are now officially safe from relegation. Another season of football league action, baby.

Up Next: Cambridge vs Morecambe, Sunday at 2am (NZT)

CJ Bott – Vittsjö GIK (Swedish Damallsvenskan)

After starting their 2019 season with a 1-0 defeat away to KIF Örebro, with CJ Bott getting a late yellow card, Vittsjö bounced back with a resounding 3-0 win over Kungsbacka. Michelle De Jongh scored twice and Clara Markstedt got the other one.

Looks like left back for CJ Bott, who has carried on as a first team regular into the new campaign. Had a fair bit of impact in these highlights too, getting that ball from defence to attack with those crosses and long balls.

Up Next: Sunday at 11pm against Linköping (NZT)

Tommy Smith & Deklan Wynne – Colorado Rapids (American Major League Soccer)

A bunch of goals conceded? Check.

A red card along the way? Check.

Only one of the two kiwis taking the field? Check.

Another ugly defeat for Anthony Hudson’s lads? Check.

Okay then, just a typical week for the Colorado Rapids then. Ninety minutes for Tommy Smith but they lost 4-1 away to Chicago Fire and Jack Price was sent off with five to play. It’s getting to the point where nobody really knows how Uncle Tony still has a job, seriously.

Up Next: Atlanta Utd vs Colorado Rapids, Sunday at 10am (NZT)

Greg Draper – The New Saints (Welsh Premier League)

Nothing much to it. TNS won 3-1 over Caernarfon Town with Greg Draper scoring the second (to put them in front with a dozen left on the clock) and it was time to lift the trophy they’d already booked as of last week. Eight league titles in a row. “The goal that the New Zealand international scored was his 35th of the season in all competitions for The New Saints. What can you say, other than Greg Draper, goal machine.”

Up Next: TNS vs Connah’s Quay Nomads on Saturday at 6.45am (NZT)

Winston Reid – West Ham United (English Premier League)

Manuel Pellegrini: “For this week I think that Manuel Lanzini and Samir Nasri will not be available. Also, Javier Hernandez has a problem with his ear so he couldn’t work during these last days. The other players, Jack Wilshere is okay, he worked without problem, and the other long injuries, Carlos Sanchez also worked with the squad, so we continue with long injuries of Winston Reid, Yarmolenko and Andy Carroll. Marko worked normally the whole week.”

Mark Noble: “Winston has been another long-term casualty but he seems to have taken it into his stride a lot more than other players I have seen. He comes in, accepts the cards he has been dealt and gets on with his work. He has had a few setbacks but hopefully he can have a good pre-season and get back to the Winston we all know.”

Claret and Hugh: “Winston Reid is … back in light training and whilst he won’t be playing again this season he will be looking for a good pre-season when he can impress the manager sufficiently into keeping him on board. Transfer rumours are bound to emerge in circumstances such as these and he has some big selection issues to overcome following the arrival of Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop along with Angelo Ogbonna’s vastly improved form of late. With a contract in his pocket until 2023 the Hammers would be in the driving seat in regard to fees and in footballing terms he’s not old at 30. However, a fit and fully recovered Reid has to be a major asset to the Irons and we are keeping our fingers crossed he can truly return to his best.”

Up Next: More making good impressions on Mark Noble

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