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Kiwis Abroad: All Whites return while Ferns sign off

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Many of the All Whites are already back in action after thrilling the nation in the FIFA World Cup Intercontinental Playoff while the Football Ferns were looking to sign off for the time being with their clubs before heading to Bangkok for a two-match tour of Thailand.

All Whites captain Winston Reid did not get much of a break after his heroics against Peru, being thrown straight back into club action shortly after touching down in England. New West Ham United manager David Moyes had spoken of his preference to allow Reid more recovery time but had depleted stocks at centre back for the clash with Watford, his first match in charge, and was therefore forced to field the Kiwi. Despite battling the effects of his long-haul travel, Reid lasted the full 90 minutes but was unable to prevent a 2-0 defeat as Moyes’ reign began on a low note. Watford player Andre Carillo was in the Peru squad for the intercontinental playoff but, in contrast, only entered the fray for the dying seconds as a last-gasp substitute.

Reid’s All Whites team mate Chris Wood will have another week to get back to his best after Burnley manager Sean Dyche allowed him to sit out the meeting with Swansea City. Wood has been struggling with a hamstring injury which limited his game time against Peru but Dyche insisted he wouldn’t have played the striker even if he had a clean bill of health. "He had taken three flights to get back and came straight from the airport to training. Forget about hamstrings. He was never in my thinking once I found out the logistics. The injury is fine. He’ll train as normal next week." Dyche will hope his big money signing returns to peak condition for this weekend as Arsenal are paying a visit to Burnley and, if the Clarets outstanding start to the season continues, a win would take them above the Gunners on the English Premier League table.

One player in no such race against the clock to return is Rory Fallon, who announced his retirement from all forms of the game this week after being brought back into the All Whites fold for the intercontinental playoff. The veteran striker had been playing for Dorchester Town in the non-league reaches of the English game in a bid to make his All Whites comeback but, with another FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign now over, has decided to hang up his boots at the age of 35. Fallon, who famously scored against Bahrain in 2009 to send New Zealand to the World Cup, runs an ice cream business with wife Carly in Plymouth and is looking forward to life after football. "It would have been amazing to have reached another World Cup in Russia but Peru were the better team on the final leg in Lima," he said. "The football journey has been epic and I thank everybody that has shared it with me. I’ve made memories and friends for life."

Joining Wood in seeing no action on their club returns were Ipswich Town pair Monty Patterson and Tommy Smith, the latter of whom picked up an injury in the first leg against Peru and did not feature in the away leg. In Smith’s absence, the Tractor Boys drew 2-2 at Hull City in the Championship while Patterson was denied the chance to take the pitch when Ipswich’s U-23 fixture against Cardiff City was postponed. Clayton Lewis likewise didn’t get any game time but was included in the match day squad and looked on from the bench as Scunthorpe United earned a 2-1 away win over Bradford City in League One. Also lining up as a substitute was goalkeeper Michael Woud, who watched the Sunderland U-23s battle to a scoreless draw against Leicester City to secure a point that lifted them off the foot of the Premier League 2 table. Fellow gloveman Max Crocombe was also an unused substitute on his return from Peru as Salford City defeated North Ferriby United 4-0 in the sixth-tier National League North and will be aiming to reclaim the number one jersey after playing a key role in Salford’s rise to the top of the table.

In the women’s game in England, Anna Green and Olivia Chance both warmed up for the Football Ferns’ Thailand tour by featuring prominently for their clubs in the FA WSL Cup. Green started at fullback as Reading put four unanswered goals past the London Bees in a record-breaking match at the Madejski Stadium. A crowd of 2,248 - the highest for a women’s club game in England this season - watched Green and co tear the Bees apart with an inspired second-half showing. The Football Ferns defender made a bright start to the game, swinging in several dangerous crosses from the left before being replaced just after the hour mark. The Royals have now won all of their three games in the competition to top their group and cruise into the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, Chance started on the bench for Everton but made an earlier-than-expected entrance when Meg Finnigan was forced off with an injury in just the 20th minute against Oxford United. The Kiwi made the most of her opportunity, causing problems when running onto a through ball soon after coming on but a timely interception prevented her from firing off a shot. The result puts the Toffees within touching distance of the knockout stages but they have now played all their group matches and their progression is out of their hands.

Over in mainland Europe, Football Ferns captain Ali Riley had a personal milestone to celebrate before meeting up with her international team mates in Thailand. The fullback has now played 200 matches for Rosengard but some of the shine was taken off that achievement as the Swedish outfit was knocked out of the UEFA Women’s Champions League in the round of 16 by English giants Chelsea. Rosengard had a steep hill to climb in the second leg at home after losing 3-0 in the away leg and could not come close to clawing back the deficit, suffering a 1-0 defeat to lose 4-0 on aggregate. Riley did her best to get her team on the board early on, charging down the left flank to get on the end of a pass and square for Sanne Troelsgaard, whose effort went wide of the near post.

Striker Katie Rood has been enjoying more success in Europe with Juventus beginning their Italian Serie A season in dominant fashion, posting a perfect record of six wins from six games. Rood scored her first goals for Juventus in a huge win over Torino in the Coppa Italia earlier in the season but has had to be content with a place on the bench in league action. She made her debut in a 4-1 away win over Empoli recently and appeared at home for the first time over the weekend, coming on for the final minutes of a 2-0 success against Sassuolo. In Germany’s Frauen Bundesliga, CJ Bott and Amber Hearn could not pocket a win before departing for Thailand, Hearn’s FC Koln being well and truly outclassed 8-0 by Turbine Potsdam while Bott’s USV Jena fared better against SC Sand but still remain without a win after losing 1-0. In contrast, Jana Radosavljevic will have headed to her first Football Ferns camp in high spirits after scoring a double for BV Cloppenburg in a 6-0 win over TV Jahn Delmenhorst in the German second division.

In the Netherlands, Marco Rojas was given a rest after only arriving from Lima shortly before SC Heerenveen’s 4-0 win over FC Twente but Ryan Thomas had an extra day to recover and was thrust straight back into the action by PEC Zwolle. His side needed Thomas to be at his best as they were facing the famous PSV Eindhoven, who had won 10 of their 11 previous games to become runaway leaders of the Eredivisie. Thomas shone in midfield, showing off his wide range of passing as Zwolle gave a good account of themselves but ultimately fell to a 1-0 defeat. The New Zealander earned lavish praise after shaking off his jetlag to perform so strongly with former Zwolle coach Ron Jans saying, "He is one of the top players in the Eredivisie, in everything. He is now at the top and I would not be surprised if he landed at Real Madrid". Rojas and Thomas will line up in opposing teams this weekend as Heerenveen play host to Zwolle.

A pair of Kiwis have already come up against each other in Australia as Rebekah Stott travelled to the Allianz Stadium with her Melbourne City team mates to take on Emma Rolston’s Sydney FC. It turned out not to be a great day for either player as Rolston inadvertently gave Melbourne the lead by turning the ball into her own net while Stott’s heart was broken when Sydney scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time to triumph 3-2. The All Whites contingent in the A-League have meanwhile all returned to their clubs following the intercontinental playoff. Kosta Barbarouses will potentially be in action again this evening as Melbourne Victory take on the Newcastle United Jets and could take on a fellow All White with Glen Moss being in the opposing ranks. There’s unlikely to be a clash between Kiwis when the Central Coast Mariners visit the Wellington Phoenix this weekend though as Storm Roux is still coming back from the injury that prevented him from taking the field against Peru but Michael McGlinchey and Andrew Durante should be fit to line up for the hosts.

In the United States, James Musa became a Major Soccer League (MLS) player in August after signing for Sporting Kansas City but has been involved regularly since then with Swope Park Rangers, a feeder team to Kansas who play in the United Soccer League (USL). His season with Swope extended right through to the USL final, which Musa took full part in and had the honour of being the last Kiwi in action in America for the year. Swope took on Louisville City but came up empty handed again - it was their second consecutive loss in the final - after conceding a late goal to lose 1-0. Fellow All White Jeremy Brockie will be hoping to go one better in South Africa as SuperSport United take on Congolese side TP Mazembe in the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final on Friday morning. They go into the match 2-1 down on aggregate but with a crucial away goal in the bag so still have every chance of lifting the trophy. Brockie, who earned a recall to the national side for the intercontinental playoff and earned his 50th cap, is the top scorer in the competition with 10 goals and played 73 minutes of the first leg, despite the match taking place less than three days after the All Whites took on Peru in Lima.

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