Flying Kiwis – September 17

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Erin Nayler – Girondins Bordeaux (French Division 1 Féminine)

Starting this week with Erin Nayler and her Bordeaux crew because taking any possible risk of them sliding under the radar would be a crime. This team has started the season so strongly and up against Montpellier, the club that beat them to third last season, they laid down another statement of intent with their third straight win to begin the new campaign. The only three teams with perfect records in France still are: Lyon, PSG, and Bordeaux. Those first two are the powerhouses of France and are perpetual Champions League challengers (Lyon are perpetual UCL winners). And Bordeaux are keeping pace right now… if you ignore goal difference, that is.

This was the first game where Nayler was really a factor, the Footy Ferns keeper required to make a fair few saves along the way. Mostly ones she’d have expected to make but that’s all down to proper positioning and all that. Meanwhile up the other end, to the surprise of exactly nobody, new signing Khadija Shaw was involved in pretty much everything positive that Bordeaux mustered. Going into the break and these two rivals still couldn’t be split. And as the clock ticked on it was starting to look like a healthy stalemate.

Last season Bordeaux might have settled for that result… but this season they just pump the ball long towards Shaw, watch her chip one to the far post where French forward Vivi Asseyi is hovering, see the Montpellier keeper try and hook the ball away after Asseyi’s header, and then start the celebrations from there. Even if Asseyi’s header hadn’t crossed the line, which it did, they made sure to bury the ball on the follow up for insurance. The winning goal came in the 80th minute. That’s a second straight clean sheet for Nayler too… ahead of a very big test away to old mates PSG.

Up Next: PSG vs Bordeaux, Monday 30 September at 1.45am (NZT)

Chris Wood - Burnley FC (English Premier League)

This was not one of Burnley’s better ones. Coming back out after the international break which should’ve been a nice rest for most of the squad, they were away to Brighton – the club and the stadium where the Ash Barnes/Chris Wood combination first blossomed. Happy memories there but this was not a happy game. Certainly not for Chris Wood.

He toiled away for little reward as Burnley struggled to get a foothold in the game. Brighton took the lead through Neal Maupay’s volley early in the second half and it was only their wasted opportunities that even kept Burnley in the contest... keeper Nick Pope played well too, to be fair. Wood’s best/only chance came mid second half when he stuck a foot out at Ashley Westwood’s bicycle kick but couldn’t get it on the right side of the post and he was subbed off pretty soon after that. Jay Rodriguez on to offer something different as the Clarets chased the game, and fair enough.

So nothing much to brag about there other than another offside to the tally. But Burnley are a scrappy sort and they did eventually make Brighton pay for not extending that lead. Jeff Hendrick, the substitute, smacking one in from distance in the 91st minute for the Clarets’ only shot on target of the game and somehow they came away with a 1-1 draw.

LancsLive Player Ratings: “Chris Wood - Just not happening for the New Zealander at the moment, ball wouldn't drop for him in the box on the couple of occasions Burnley threatened early on. He made way after the break (5)”

LancsLive: “Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes barely threatened for Burnley at Brighton. The latter had one shot that he slashed high and wide while the ball just won’t drop for Wood, who still waiting to open his account this term. In fairness the service to the front two was poor at the Amex. They were up against as tall a back line as you will see and the long balls forward from the Clarets midfield were meat and drink to the likes of Dunk and Duffy. Dwight McNeil tried his best to impact the game, with reasonable success in the first half, but other than that there was a distinct lack of creativity in claret and blue.”

Prior to this game Chris Wood, as an ex-Brighton player, got the nod to sit next to his gaffer in the press conference where he talked in confident tones about how it’s only a matter of time until he starts scoring. Which is probably true but after the preseason that he had it’s still a bummer to see him go 397 minutes without hitting the back of the net to start this Premier League season.

Chris Wood: “I know it will come. It’s the old cliché, that once one comes, they all come. It’s like buses. They will drop to me. At the moment they’re dropping to Barnsey and he’s putting them away fantastically. That’s brilliant for us as a team and as long as we continue to work hard, as we have done in these last four games, we will continue to create chances and the goals will come for everybody.”

All what you want to hear from a striker struggling not so much for form or finishing but just for opportunities. He’s only had 6 shots in 5 games. As such there has to be a little chat about possible changes to a team which Sean Dyche has only altered in the case of injury thus far – using 12 starting players in these five games. He’s a coach who seems to like loyalty and consistency even more than most so we’ll see what happens next.

Up Next: Burnley vs Norwich, Sunday at 2am (NZT)

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

One hundred games for the one club (and that’s only counting regular season games), quite the achievement. What’s more is that the 100th came against NCC’s biggest competitive rivals in the Portland Thorns and, gotta tell ya, they could not have celebrated it better.

This was basically the week that the Courage regained their 2018 form after so many disruptions throughout this season. It was a three goal burst in the space of ten minutes between the 15th and 24th that did the damage, Debinha scored one before Lynn Williams added two more and Portland were shellshocked at home. Crystal Dunn made it 4-0 in the 61st before Lynn Williams completed her hatty in the 68th and a late goal for Kristen Hamilton capped off the festivities. North Carolina 6-0 Portland Thorns. Portland’s biggest ever NWSL defeat and a massive change in momentum for each as we round into the last month before the semis.

And then they did it all over again. The Orlando Pride were without Marta or Alex Morgan, without a win in their previous three games (and also playing for the third time in eight days), and without a chance of making the semis. As such they got absolutely pasted when they visited North Carolina. The only consolation was that they scored a late goal through Rachel Hill in the 82nd minute to ensure they did slightly better than the Thorns did… only losing 6-1.

Kristen Hamilton was again in magical form as she set up an early Lynn Williams goal then went close herself. The Courage should’ve been 2-0 up after 14 minutes but Ashlyn Harris saved an Abby Dahlkemper penalty… yet an own goal in the 33rd min followed by a Jess McDonald strike meant it was still 3-0 at HT regardless. That lead expanded as the Courage scored a flurry of late ones, McKenzie Meehan, Heather O’Reilly, and Debinha all getting in on the act. This was just a good old fashioned hiding with the Courage dominating in every aspect of the stat sheet and the eye test was no less generous.

12 goals in two games for NCC who are in imperious form all of a sudden and at the exact right time of the year too. They sit first with 40 points, two ahead of Chicago but with two games in hand and four ahead of Portland with one game in hand. They have four more games to play and none are against those other two in the top three so another round robin title is there for the taking for Abby Erceg and company.

Up Next: NCC vs Houston Dash on Wednesday at 11.30am (NZT)

Matthew Conroy – Vejle BK (Danish Division 1)

This fella’s already had a mention or two in these pages as he’s spent his recent time featuring for the U19 team at Vejle. Well, he did what he was there to do because he’s just signed a four year contract with the club to stay on a permanent basis. Four years, mate. That’s a big contract and a fantastic opportunity for the 18 year old, who was a member of the 2019 U20 World Cup class.

Steen Thychosen, VBK ‘talent manager’: “Matthew Conroy is a very exciting player who we have been working with for almost two months. His offensive running is very aggressive, and he has also shown a good knowledge of how to use his speed and good technique, he has a good package overall. In his debut he scored two goals and made two assists (against Randers Freja FC in VB's 4-2 victory, ed.) And that has impressed us and the coaches.”

“In purely positional terms, Matt must be used on one of the edges. He is skilled 1 vs 1 and he works hard both offensively and defensively. Matthew Conroy has an extreme momentum that I haven't seen in the Academy for years. We are dealing with a very athletic player. Matthew has impressed us in the beginning, but he's in Europe for the first time. Hopefully he will find a good level over the coming months and continue his development. Matthew has already received quite a bit of training with the A squad and that should help him. Over time he is a player we expect will be able to make use of in the A-squad context.”

A four year contract. Already trained a little with the first team. Boss of the academy reckons he has first team potential. Scoring goals from day one with the youth team. Sounds like things are going incredibly well for the dude already. Conroy played the last Premiership season for Waitakere and scored a couple goals for them, as well as also scoring for the U20s in their 5-0 win over Honduras at the World Cup – in which he featured off the bench in all four games. And, yes, he is lightning fast. Interestingly Vejle is also the club where Matthew Palmer (another of the same U20 class though he didn’t make the World Cup squad) spent last season, though he’s already left there to play his footy in Singapore instead.

Up Next: Same old same old

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

Still on the quest for that top four, Utah were away to Houston this weekend but unfortunately you can’t win ‘em all. After a great chance for Amy Rodriguez was denied early on, Houston took the lead through Sofie Huerta with a clever backheel assist from Kristie Mewie. Chances were split pretty even for most of this game so it was always going to be a matter of who could make theirs count. Well, it was Houston who doubled their lead in the 62nd minute. Huerta again as she made a dashing run, so to speak, from deep and smashed it in off the crossbar.

There was some confusion after the goal as the ref peeked over at the lino, the commentator suggesting it was about whether the ball crossed the line or not (even though it clearly ended up in the back of the net, lol) though you’d assume it was more about the fact that she was clearly offside. Unless Katie Bowen was playing her on from the opposite flank but doubt it.

Anyway, the goal stood and Utah left their comeback too late. Gunny Jonsdottir gave them a chance with a perfectly placed side foot finish into the top corner with quarter of an hour left but their one big chance that followed fell to Christen Press who wasn’t able to beat the keeper one on one from a tricky angle. Katie Bowen was subbed off in the 77th minute, just after they scored the goal, in order to bring on an extra attacking option and chase that draw.

2-1 to Houston, their first home win since July, and Utah remain in fourth spot but they fail to take advantage of Portland losing. Which means that their next game is a bit of a crucial one: fourth vs fifth with them both tied on 31 points and it’s only against Rosie White’s Seattle Reign.

Up Next: A massive kiwi duel as Utah Royals travel to Seattle Reign on Thursday at 2pm (NZT)

Rosie White – Seattle Reign (American National Women’s Soccer League)

Speaking of Reign FC, how’d they go this week? They played away to Washington Spirit in a game that had all the drama. Just minutes into this one Rosie White wrapped her left boot around one on the edge of the area after Seattle had pressed high and won it back… but the pesky thing came pinging back off the crossbar.

Seattle were made to regret that as Washington took a 30th minute lead thanks to a brilliant header from Ashley Hatch, however it wasn’t long until a swerving Rosie White corner bounced around a little and fell to Bethany Balcer who created enough room for herself to whip in the equaliser. Mallory Pugh had already set up the Spirit’s first goal and she continued to threaten all night with only a bit of luck and some quality goalkeeping keeping Seattle level. But Seattle had already pre-empted that with a half-time sub and a little shift in tactics that saw Rosie White replaced by Megan Rapinoe. Nobody likes getting subbed off at half-time but if you’re gonna be replaced by anyone, she’s not a bad one.

Pinoe had one useful shout for a penalty declined and it looked like a draw was on the cards until the final minute of the ninety when Aussie international Chloe Logarzo popped up at the far post to score for Washington. The Spirit coaching staff were all on the field celebrating (poor old fourth official left to deal with that) but they peaked too early because there was still enough time for Seattle to bag a stoppage time equaliser from Ifeoma Onumonu breaking the defensive line. Absolute madness at the end there and a point for Seattle that could prove vital over the next few weeks.

Up Next: Reign FC vs Utah Royals, Thursday at 2pm (NZT)

Ryan Thomas – PSV Eindhoven (Dutch Eredivisie)

Yung Thom on the telly, how about it?

We’ve written a fair bit about his recovery from that knee injury over the last twelve months and will probably have more to say as he rounds the bend towards playing proper games again too. But there’s absolutely nothing like hearing it from the man himself and this interview with him on PSV TV – conducted in English, thankfully – is a fascinating blend of the reality of life for an injured footballer, life for a foreign footballer at an overseas club, and life for a young kiwi doing great things. Thommo brings a fair bit of emotional vulnerability when talking about himself, not afraid to admit to the difficult aspects of the recovery process and how he dealt with them. Plus, as discussed in here, he proposed to his missus recently so congrats to the happy couple!

Among other things he also talks about the possibility of playing at number ten for PSV (which is apparently where he fitted in for the half hour of friendly action he played recently) and also he relives the injury that robbed him of his first season at PSV. It happened in just his fourth training session with the club, bloody hell.

Here’s the full interview…

Up Next: Keep on keeping on

CJ Bott – Vittsjö GIK (Swedish Damallsvenskan)

This incredible run from Vittsjö just keeps on going. They beat KIF Örebro 1-0 this week thanks to a superb goal from Michelle De Jongh ten minutes into the second half and then held on despite losing Nellie Persson to her second yellow card with twenty minutes still to play. There were some real nervous moments in this one too, not the least of which being when Örebro thought they’d scored in the first half only to have it disallowed for a foul. CJ Bott played the full ninety minutes at left back as she usually does and did her bit along the way for Vittsjö’s third straight clean sheet.

Which meant they momentarily rose to just a point off first place, however Rosengård went on to win 2-0 away at Göteborg the following day so that margin is back to four points with the same number of games remaining for each. Four points to overcome in five games though… that’s still possible. And what’s almost as important is the three point buffer they have over Kristianstad for second which would mean Champions League qualification next year. Only drama is they will have to do it the hard way because their next four games are all against the other four members of the current top five. Including a mid-October fortnight where they’re consecutively home vs Kristianstad and then away to Rosengård. That’s how trophies are won, they don’t come easy.

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Up Next: Away to Vitex in the third round of the Svenska Cupen, that’s on Thursday at 4.45am (NZT)

Ria Percival – Tottenham Hotspur (English Super League)

Nothing like that first win of the season and even more so when it’s your club’s first ever Super League win. After an impressive performance in defeat against Chelsea last week, Spurs were thoroughly impressive once more in beating Liverpool 1-0 at home. The goal came late in the first half from a Rachel Furness penalty which itself was a little controversial since it looked like there might have been a foul against Spurs earlier in the build-up before Furness was blatantly body-checked but so it goes. Liverpool ended the game with ten women after Niamh Fahey was sent off for taking out Rosella Ayane who would have been through in behind the defence with only the keeper to beat.

Percival was busy in that midfield again and this time she more room to string a few passes together and make some attacking runs. She also got herself ahold of the captain’s armband for the arvo as last week’s skipper Jenna Schillaci was left on the bench. A historic day in multiple ways then, how about it? As always the highlights are free to watch on the FA Player app.

Elsewhere in the WSL, Olivia Chance was a 55th minute substitute against her old team, the first sub called upon by the gaffer. But she wasn’t able to spark a comeback as Bristol City lost 2-0 to Everton thanks to two astoundingly good goals from Chloe Kelly… who also hit the crossbar trying to complete her hatty. Chance played as an attacking midfielder. She might get more of a run next weekend as the first round of WSL Cup games swings along.

Up Next: Tottenham vs Reading, WSL Cup, Monday at 1am (NZT)

Ali Riley – Bayern Munich (German Bundesliga)

More of that good wholesome Flying Kiwis content, please.

Meanwhile back in Bayern colours it was a busy old week for the Bayern Frauen. They travelled to Sweden for the first leg of their Champions League round of 32 game against Göteborg and playing in some heavy rain it took them a little while to get going. Ali Riley wasn’t in the starting lineup and would have to watch this one from the bench as Bayern only used one sub on the night. But that one sub was Mandy Islacker who replaced an injured Carolin Simon in the first half and went on to score a crucial double. She opened the scoring with quarter of an hour left from the penalty spot but a penalty of their own had the hosts level going into stoppage time. Which was when Melanie Leupolz whipped in a lovely delivery into the box and Islacker did the rest. A 2-1 lead after the away leg has Bayern in a pretty good place.

Only problem was there must have been some jetlag on the weekend as they returned to Bundesliga action and promptly lost 2-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen. All three goals came in the last fifteen minutes of the first half. Jens Scheuer only made three changes to the team that beat Göteborg and again Ali Riley was uninvolved as all their subs were made with attacking intent… not that it worked out for them. Bummer of a result – their first loss of the season in all comps. Which means that after three games each Bayern are one of six teams on six points sitting three behind defending champs Wolfsburg… who they just drew in the next round of the DFB Pokal.

Up Next: SC Sand vs Bayern, midnight on Sunday/Monday (NZT)

Michael Boxall – Minnesota United (American Major League Soccer)

Away to Houston Dynamo, a team with an interim manager, and two goals in a sloppy ten minute stretch before half time doomed the Loons to a 2-0 defeat. Mauro Manotas was able to evade Boxall’s sliding block to tap in the opener before ex-Minnesota striker Christian Ramirez took advantage of a failed interception from Ike Opara to score against his old mates (although only three of the starters – Boxall included – for Minnesota were playing for the club while he was there in those early days). Minnesota stepped up their game in the second half but a combination of good goalkeeping, incredible defending, and a bit of VAR drama meant they were never quite able to get the comeback up and going.

But then they made strong amends on Monday morning with a solid 3-1 win at home against Real Salt Lake. They fell behind to Albert Rusnak’s 17th minute goal but not even five minutes later they were level thanks to Darwin Quintero, who went on to score a double with Ethan Findlay also getting on the scoresheet and you can tally up another three points for the Loons after that as they look likely to crack their first ever playoffs in 2019.

Not a lot to say about Mike Boxall here, he didn’t have any drastic moments or wild dramas. But just getting through 180 minutes this week was pretty massive as not only was he backing up from the midweek game but in between he also managed to wrap his paws around an illness that has been filtering through the squad the last couple weeks. Midfielder Kevin Molino also got the same bug and he started and played 67 minutes against RSL. Here’s fellow central defender Ike Opara with the yarns on that ordeal…

Ike Opara: “For those guys to gut through it, that was big for us. That bug has been going around the whole team the past week or two. Unfortunately, they got it. But to fight through it and be productive and not just be out there, it is impressive.”

Fun times next week too as Minnesota take on Bill Tuiloma’s Portland Timbers who seriously need the win as they also vie for those playoffs. Minny have four games remaining and are sitting one point off second place in third and five points clear of eighth which is the first spot outside the playoffs. Portland are currently seventh with a game in hand on the competition.

Up Next: Minny vs Portland, Monday at 12.30pm (NZT)

Bill Tuiloma – Portland Timbers (American Major League Soccer)

Whoops.

Bill Tuiloma: “It was just communication — that was it. Everything just happened quick and it was my choice, I decided to go near post and unfortunately it went into the back of our net. It is what it is.”

At least Billy T’s in good company, since Deklan Wynne and Tommy Smith have also scored oggies this MLS season. In fact Michael Boxall’s now the only kiwi of the current quartet who hasn’t put one in his own net in 2019, so there you go.

The own goal was a bad one but not as bad as the video ref failing to see the evidence and not awarding this one as a goal… which would have been another own goal as it came last of the Portland keeper. Tuiloma managed to get out of the way of that ball but kinda failed to get out of the way of his own goalie in the process and while it looks close at real speed, there’s a freeze frame that appears to looks pretty obvious that the ball crossed the line.

The Tuiloma own goal was the only one that mattered in the end. DC United held on to win 1-0 and Portland were quite bad, particularly in attack where they were missing top scorer Brian Fernandez with illness. Plus they only had five men on the bench instead of seven because of injuries and unavailabilities and even despite that the coach still dropped Dairon Asprilla after he left him hanging on a high-five last week after being subbed off. Like, that actually happened (assuming that was just the tip of the iceberg though). Even still they hit the frame of the goal twice and Tuiloma nodded a header wide trying to make amends for his earlier OG.

The Oregonian: Bill Tuiloma has been a steady option on defense for the Timbers this season, but the 24-year-old center back made a costly mistake Sunday. D.C. United midfielder Ulises Segura sent a routine cross into the box that Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark should have been able to easily collect in the 25th minute. But Clark and Tuiloma didn't communicate on the play. Tuiloma slid in at the last moment to try to clear the ball and, instead, knocked it into the net for an own goal… No D.C. United player was going to get to Segura's cross in the 25th minute and Tuiloma didn't need to slide in to try to clear the ball. Tuiloma and Clark failed to communicate on the play and that cost the team.”

Tui did get one over Wayne Rooney though, recovering to earn a foul and frustrating old mate in the process. Tui actually held his own really well against the England legend, staying close and ensuring Rooney never had the room to pull strings like he wanted to. Quite impressive to be fair… just a shame about the own goal. One big mistake can be the difference in a game and one game can be the difference between making the playoffs and not at this late stage.

Up Next: Portland vs NY Red Bulls on Thursday at 2.30pm (NZT)

Tommy Smith – Colorado Rapids (American Major League Soccer)

Deklan Wynne is still injured. Tommy Smith played ninety minutes as the Rapids lost. Same as most weeks. Moving on now…

Oh no wait! They played a midweek game too and they won it! 2-1 over LA Galaxy with a late penalty giving them the three points! All three goals in the match came in the final twelve minutes, Smith hovering at the far post from a free kick as Cole Bassett headed in the first before again watching from the far post as his CB Partner Danny Wilson was out-jumped by Giancarlo Gonzalez for his first MLS goal before Andre Shinyashiki earned/milked a spottie with no Smithy in sight and Nic Mezquida buried it for the win. Hey that’s swell, good for them.

Up Next: Sporting KC vs Colorado at 12.30pm on Sunday (NZT)

Jeremy Brockie & Dan Morgan – Maritzburg United (South African Premier Soccer League)

It’s a loooong wait for that Maritzburg debut for Jerry. The international break followed by a bye week must have made for an impatient time for a bloke who has only played 43 minutes of PSL action since the start of February this year and that wait’s going to be even agonisingly longer because it’s since emerged that as much as he’d like to score against his parent club in his debut he won’t get the chance because they’ve chucked in a clause that means he’s ineligible to play against Mamelodi Sundowns whilst on loan from the club. Which is fairly common procedure and understandable from Sundowns too – it just means they still believe in his quality.

The chairman of Maritzburg, Farook Kadodia, has also been chatting about the signing, explaining why the Team of Choice chose to take on his hefty salary

Farook Kadodia: “Football and window periods go side to side, the reality is sometimes in the window period you can strike a deal that you were never expected to sign. We didn't foresee this happening the way it happened, we really recognise the support given to us by the president of Sundowns Mr Patrice Motsepe, to see that we can come to an agreement. Obviously at one stage we said we are closing the books on signing players, but this was one we couldn't refuse because in four games we couldn't convert our chances. We know having him will create good competition.”

Also here’s a clip from the telly news…

Up Next: Mamelodi Sundowns vs Maritzburg United, Sunday at 4am (NZT)

Sarpreet Singh - Bayern Munich II (German Liga 3)

Another game and another assist for Sarpreet Singh. Dropping deep to pick up the ball in his own half, turning the corner and carrying it forward, and then chipping it through for Marcel Zylla to score his second of the afternoon.

Unfortunately from 2-0 up the Bayern ressies then proceeded to bottle it and draw 2-2 with Sonnenhof Großaspach. The second goal had Sarpreet not quite intercepting a pass that then fell directly to the goal scorer… the kind of mistake that would get him a bollicking if he’d done it at Bundesliga level but that’s what the reserves are for and Singh getting extended minutes in a prominent role each week for BM2 is going pretty smoothly at the moment.

And now the fella in his own words…

“The first two months couldn’t have gone better. My teammates and Sebastian Hoeneß’s team of coaches with the reserves all welcomed me warmly and quickly integrated me into the team. The fact I was able to travel to the USA with the first team and was trusted to get plenty of playing time there and in the Audi Cup is amazing. All in all, I feel that I belong to both teams and have been able to get to know several sides of the club, at the Campus and Säbener Straße. I’m super happy.”

“Of course it’s something very special to be on the pitch with world champions and global stars. As a young player, you learn a lot in games like that and in every training session. It gives me courage because it shows me I can also reach that level if I work hard.”

“With the reserves, I want to help ensure that we have nothing to do with a relegation battle in the third division. And of course if I could make my Bundesliga debut that would be a dream. However, it’s all step by step.”

More where that came from therein.

Up Next: Home vs Ingolstadt, Monday at midnight (NZT)

Marco Rojas – SønderjyskE (Danish Superliga)

Not much going on here. Sonders drew 0-0 at home against Horsens and Rojas played the first 70 minutes before he was subbed off. Not a fantastic game, to be honest. It’s been interesting seeing Marco playing deeper in a midfield three most times this season, just gotta start yelling louder so his mates cut the ball back deeper for those late runs into the penalty area.

Up Next: Away vs Hobro on Sunday at 10pm (NZT)

Steven Old – Morecambe (English League Two)

It was Scunthorpe against Morecambe this weekend, a game that was circled on the Flying Kiwis calendar going back weeks but it turned out to be a bit of a dud. Clayton Lewis hasn’t played for the Iron all season as he recovers from injury and no sooner was he back fit then he was jetting away with the NZ U23 squad. Lewis was a standout in the two games against Aussie and will remain with the squad through Oceania Olympic qualifying (despite it falling out of the FIFA window).

Which mean no conflict of interest in this game but that didn’t help. Scunthorpe picked apart Stevie Old’s defence with ease, scoring three times in a barrage of a first half with all three goals coming from follow up attempts after initial shots were denied in one way or another. The first from a penalty. Morecambe were a lot better in the second half and Steven Old nearly had an assist nodding down a header from a set piece… but the finishing just wasn’t there. They even missed a penalty along the way. 3-0 the final score. This was Scunny’s first win of the season and it lifts them up from 24th to 23rd. In 22nd place are Morecambe with 6 points from 8 games. It’s not been pretty.

Up Next: Morecambe vs Walsall, Wednesday at 6.45am (NZT)

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