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Ferns make winning start in Cyprus

Hearn struck in the 53rd and 60th minutes as the Ferns took control of the match after battling into strong winds in the first half.
Fullback Ali Riley supplied the first goal, cutting inside her marker high up the field and picking out Hearn’s back-post run with a perfectly angled ball through the defence, while the second was a powerful header from the striker off a Kirsty Yallop corner.
“We played some pretty good football in the first half,” New Zealand coach Tony Readings said.
“But it was hard to get up the pitch because the wind was that strong. We were still the better team in the first half and we hit the bar through Wilkinson after just a few minutes before going close a few other times.
“The wind disappeared in the second half which helped the game. We were able to switch play a lot more and play through them down the middle as well. Having Annalie Longo on the pitch and bringing Betsy Hassett on meant we were able to play an expansive brand of football and keep the ball for long periods of time.
“We gathered some momentum from this game. We kept and moved the ball very well and that’s something we will be focused on for the rest of the tournament.”
Next up for the Football Ferns is South Africa, who lost 2-1 to Korea this morning but will provide New Zealand with a valuable sighter as one of Africa’s two qualified teams for the Olympics.
“Their game today had the worst of the conditions, the rain was coming in sideways, so it was hard to get an accurate gauge on both teams but our reports tell us South Africa have some really good technicians combined with a physical presence,” Readings said.
“For us though, we’ve got one eye on these games and one eye on London. For London, we need to become a better team than we are now if we plan to compete for that gold medal – and after all that’s what you’re aiming for going to an Olympics. Everything we do now is about striving for that end goal.”
Cyprus Women’s Cup
New Zealand 2(Amber HEARN 53’, 60’)
Northern Ireland 0
Halftime: 0-0
New Zealand: Jenny BINDON (GK), Ali RILEY (Holly PATTERSON 80’), Abbey ERCEG, Rebecca SMITH (captain / Kristy HILL 85’), Anna GREEN (Ria PERCIVAL 46’), Katie HOYLE, Kirsty YALLOP (Hayley MOORWOOD 60’), Annalie LONGO, Amber HEARN, Hannah WILKINSON (Betsy HASSETT 55’), Sarah GREGORIUS (Emma KETE 75’)
Substitutes not used: Rebecca ROLLS (RGK), Katie BOWEN, Rosie WHITE
Coach: Tony READINGS

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