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NZF: U-19 women continue march to title

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A place at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is within touching distance for New Zealand after a third comprehensive victory in as many matches during Oceania qualifying at Ngahue Reserve in Auckland.

Coming hot on the heels of almost identical high-scoring triumphs over Papua New Guinea and Fiji, today’s encounter followed a similar pattern to those earlier games with New Zealand controlling possession and earning the goals their dominance deserved.

New Caledonia did offer stern resistance in the opening stages and it took until the 15th minute for Sam Tawharu to open the scoring, the striker prodding home a Michaela Foster cross from close range. It was 2-0 just a few seconds later when Deven Jackson teed up Nicole Mettam for a neat finish and Jackson assumed the role of goalscorer herself soon after, volleying in from the six-yard box on 20 minutes.

Dayna Stevens made it eight early in the second period and it became a memorable day for Main a few moments later as she turned her double into a hat-trick with a header. New Zealand had to wait until the 80th minute to hit double figures as an in-swinging Michaela Foster corner found its way into the net before the best individual goal of the game arrived, substitute Grace Jale rifling an unstoppable shot into the top corner from well outside the box.

And there was still time left for Tawharu to join Main in hitting a hat-trick, stroking in a well-placed half volley for 12-0 in the dying stages.

Main concurred that finishing will be on the agenda ahead of the next game against Samoa.

It was not the first time Main had struck a hat-trick for her country but she was delighted to do so on home soil this time.

"It was quite special with it being at home and scoring a hat-trick in front of a home crowd, I’m quite happy about that," she said.

They will look to take the next steps in that aim with another victory over Samoa on Friday.

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