First half goals from Lauren Dabner and Monique Barker set the home side on their way and Gareth Turnbull’s team never relented as they squeezed and pressed the young New Zealand squad into mistakes in possession in their own half.
Daisy Cleverley pulled a goal back for the New Zealand Development team on the hour but an instant response within three minutes from the hosts through a Barker counter attack completed the job.
Speaking soon after the final whistle, Turnbull described the feeling of a group who dominated the 2014 competition with seven victories from eight matches.
“We’re over the moon, we’ve just had a big release of emotion, it’s a lot of work to put in and with a new group it’s very special,” Turnbull said.
“Last year was very special, but to do it in front of the community here who have supported us so much the last three years – they are a great crowd – to be able to do it in front of them is huge.”
Turnbull said the key to the result was the strong first half effort from the team who imposed their style on the game, leaving the New Zealand Development side little by way of attacking opportunities.
“I actually gave them a round of applause at half time, they did exactly what was asked in a really tough environment. Finals are hard to try and get over the nerves and the emotions but they did that superbly, so it was a very pleasing performance. The fact that it’s a final makes it even better.”
After a relatively even opening few minutes, Dabner put the home side ahead just before the 10 minute mark, capitalising on a turnover by the New Zealand Development side 25 metres from their own goal as she skipped through a challenge and rifled the ball home beyond Emily Derlin from just inside the box.
From that point the defending champions asserted their dominance and, continuing their heavy pressure of the Development side, chances came and went as Aimee Phillips fired inches wide after a neat turn in the area before Dabner stabbed an effort into the arms of New Zealand goalkeeper Emily Derlin.
But with 10 minutes to go in the half, the home side were deservedly 2-0 up as Dabner put Monique Barker clear and the Mainland striker slotted home through the legs of Derlin from a tight angle.
After regrouping at the break, the Development side stepped up a gear in the second period and Cleverley briefly gave the game life when her deflected effort flew into the Mainland net out of the reach of Esson but, just moments later, Barker’s second day of the from an angle after racing clear ended the threat of the visitors.
New Zealand Development assistant coach Owain Prosser said after a sluggish opening 45 minutes, the team gave a better account of themselves in the second period to finish what has been an excellent campaign for the youngsters.
“The first half was the first half,” Prosser said, “not necessarily one of our better performances across 45 minutes.
“At halftime we asked the girls to show their abilities and do themselves justice and I felt like they did that in the second half.
“I said to the girls after the game that the coaching staff and everyone involved are so proud of the group. They’ve had so many challenges to overcome and they’ve done superbly to reach this point.”
ASB Women’s League 2014 – Final
Sunday 7 December
ASB Football Park, Christchurch
Mainland Pride 3-1 NZ Development (half: 2-0)
MP: Lauren Dabner 9, Monique Barker 36’, 62’
NZ: Daisy Cleverley 59’
Mainland Pride: 1. Victoria Esson (GK – capt), 2. Ashleigh Ward, 4. Emma Proctor (24. Mikayla Wieblitz 59’), 5. Chloe Jones (20. Megan Shea 85’), 7. Monique Barker (18. Rebecca Gillett 84’), 8. Whitney Hepburn, 12. Lauren Dabner, 13. Aimee Phillips (11. Belinda van Noorden 74’), 14. Johanna Hamblett, 16. Annalie Longo, 21. Meikayla Moore
Substitutes not used: 22. Briar Guyan
Coach: Gareth Turnbull
NZ Development: 1. Emily Derlin (GK – 12. Kelsey Dzaferic 46’), 2. Claudia Bunge, 4. Elizabeth Anton, 6. Isabella Coombes, 8. Daisy Cleverley, 9. Martine Puketapu, 11. Emily Oosterhof, 14. Jasmine Pereira (20. Jacqui Hand 68’), 16. Paige Satchell (10. Jade Parris 74’), 18. Isabella Richards (17. Nicole Mettam 74), 19. Tayla Christensen (21. Sophie Stewart-Hobbs 86’)
Coach: Owain Prosser