Ferns make it six wins on trot

Football Fern Ali Riley controls the ball under pressure from Thailand’s Pluemjai Sontisawat...
Football Fern Ali Riley controls the ball under pressure from Thailand’s Pluemjai Sontisawat during a women's international friendly match at Apollo Projects Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The Football Ferns made it six wins from six matches with a 4-0 win over Thailand in Christchurch on Saturday.

It was the team’s first game in New Zealand since the Fifa Women’s World Cup.

They claimed the comfortable victory with goals from striker Hannah Wilkinson, exciting forward Jacqui Hand and a double from Katie
Kitching at Apollo Projects Stadium.

Head coach Jitka Klimkova named a strong side for the fixture that included nine players who saw World Cup action, including Malia Steinmetz, Ali Riley and CJ Bott, who returned after missing the last tour in Samoa.

The Ferns opened the stronger of the two sides, cheered on by a 6031 home crowd in the Garden City.

Wilkinson opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Indiah-Paige Riley made a clever run from midfield and slipped a through ball to Wilkinson to finish precisely past Tiffany Sornpao in the Thailand goal.

Despite dominating possession, it was not until the second half that the Football Ferns doubled their lead.

Substitute Kitching made a strong run down the right flank and crossed in to Hand, who controlled the ball before slotting it into the net in the 64th minute.

Eight minutes later it was 3-0, with Kitching turning from creator to goal-scorer, firing in a half-volley from the penalty spot.

A late penalty, also converted by Kitching, made it four to secure the Ferns’ biggest home win in 12 years.

The New Zealand women will look to make it seven wins in seven games at the same ground tomorrow night when they play the second game in the series against Thailand.

International friendly

The scores

Football Ferns         4
Hannah Wilkinson 17’, Jacqui Hand 64’, Katie Kitching 72’, 88’

Thailand                   0

Halftime:  Football Ferns 1-0

— Staff reporter