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City went one step closer to the perfct season as a late flurry sealed victory against the challenging Taieri side in this week’s challenge shield match, via an Ellie Duncan hat-trick.
It would be some time since a side has gone undefeated through a whole season and City Highlanders look to be on course for that, with only a single round to go before the final.
Taieri started strongly and matched the Highlanders for the first portion of the game, using their flanks to move the ball forward up the field and hit their high strikers.
Katie Hunt eventually put them on the board for an early lead after finding some space behind the City defence. All top sides react strongly to conceding first and City increased the pace of play, putting the Taieri defence under immense pressure and striking back through Duncan, midway through the half. The intensity of the match held steady throughout the remainder of the first half and eventually the pressure told in the crucial minutes before the break, when the City side added a second via Olivia Allan to claim the lead at the break.
Taieri regained some momentum in the match after the break, but the superior fitness and experience of the City side was wearing down the blue and golds as the minutes ticked by. As has been the case in a few games this season this winning experience came to the fore in the latter part of the match.
City lifted the intensity once again, right when it counted, and scored three quick goals in the last 10 minutes to put the match to bed. Allan bagged a brace and Duncan completely her hat-trick. The last two goals came little more than a minute apart, right at the death.
In the other matches Momona comfortably put away Kings United 5-0, and in the University derby the A side, the Huskies, won with equal ease, beating their clubmates the Stingrays also 5-0.
- Matthew West