The round-robin competition from 21-25 January acts as Oceania’s qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup kicking off in Germany in July.
Junior Football Ferns coach Tony Readings says he was pleased with his side’s strong attacking performance which included a hat trick to Hannah Wilkinson, two goals each for Rosie White and Briony Fisher plus a goal to senior international Annalie Longo.
But he also gave credit to his defenders for staying focussed for the full 90 minutes.
“The tactics from American Samoa were to sit deep and try to catch us on the counter but I thought our back four and goalkeeper kept their concentration throughout the game,” said Readings. “So I was pleased with all 14 players that took the pitch today.”
Wilkinson opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a left foot shot from the edge of the area and doubled the lead five minutes later after goalkeeper Fiapa’ipa’i Siatu’u failed to punch a ball clear.
Previous OFC Women’s Player of the Year winner Rosie White made it three after 25 minutes latching onto a Lauren Mathis shot while Longo added a fourth from close range after a weaving run into the box.
Briony Fisher scored her first age-group international goal just before the break then nodded home her second in the 64th minute after Rosie White had rounded the goalkeeper for New Zealand’s sixth moments earlier. Wilkinson rounded out the scoring when she volleyed home Anna Green’s deep cross in the 81st minute.
American Samoa coach Rupert Luvu says his side have a lot to work on, particularly defending against set pieces and adjusting to the pace of international matches.
“We kept our shape quite well, but the speed of the New Zealand players was too much for us,” said Luvu”
“Now against Cook Islands and Tonga we are looking forward to changing or game plan. We’ll organise the team so we can go on attack and get some goals in the next two matches.”
In the second match of the day, Cook Islands applied plenty of early pressure against Tonga and looked to be the stronger team. Pressure turned into a goal when Regina Mustonen turned quickly inside the box and blasted home in the 16th minute.
Tonga came back into the match after the break and went close with two free kicks from the powerful boot of Penateti Feke.
Midway through the second half, Cook Islands goalkeeper Jennifer Akavi misjudged a swirling high ball leaving Tongan striker Heilala Loto’aniu an open net to score into.
Cook Islands had late chances to win the match through Danielle Trego and Raivaru Nganu but in the end had to settle for the draw.
Coach Jimmy Katoa was disappointed not to pick up maximum points but believes his young Cook Islands side will learn a lot from the experience.
“Overall it was a great game but it’s just one of those times when you have to play 90 minutes. It takes experience to hold onto a 1-0 win. Our girls are young and will learn that over time but overall I’m really pleased with the effort they put in.”
Match day One
North Harbour Stadium (Domain 3)
New Zealand: 8 (Hannah WILKINSON 16, 21, 82; Rosie WHITE 25, 52; Annalie LONGO 43, Briony FISHER 45+2, 64)
American Samoa: 0
Halftime: 5-0
New Zealand: 1. Victoria ESSON (GK), 3. Anna GREEN (Captain), 5. Briony FISHER, 6. Bridgette ARMSTRONG, 7. Elise MAMANU-GRAY, 9. Hannah WALL, 10. Annalie LONGO (13. Nadia PEARL 78), 11. Rosie WHITE, 16. Hannah WILKINSON, 17. Teri Amber CARLSON (8. Sarah MCLAUGHLIN 64), 18. Lauren MATHIS (12. Claudia CRASBORN 64).
Substitutes not used: 2. Caitlin CAMPBELL, 4. Chelsey WOOD, 14. Elizabeth MILNE, 15. Emily COOPER, 19. Lauren MURRAY, 20. Erin NAYLER (GK).
Coach: Tony READINGS
American Samoa: 20. Fiapa’ipa’i SIATU’U (GK), 2. Beulah ONEY, 3. Marissa VAGAIA, 4. Fuataina SIATU’U, 5. Horonaima TULAFONO, 6. Fiso LETOI, 7. Angela SA’O (12. Tuiemanu RIPLEY 35), 8. Faith EMBOY (11. Trixie MAVAEGA 59), 9. Meleane IOAPO, 10. Makerita LUANI, 16. Filiga IOAPO,
Substitutes not used: 13. Fara MATAITULI, 14. Malia SEFO, 15. Moaga SIAULAIGA, 17. Sancia SOPOAGA.
Coach: Ruben LUVU
Cook Islands: 1 (Regina MUSTONEN 16’)
Tonga: 1 (Heilala LOTO’ANIU 72’)
Half-time: 1-0
Cook Islands: 1. Marjorie TORU (GK), 2. Jennifer AKAVI (Captain), 3. Aketuke UNUKA, 5. Marii KAUKURA, 6. Marissa IROA (14. Tepaeru TOKA 89), 7. Teariivahine-Iteuaterai HENRY, 9. Elizabeth HARMON, 10. Regina MUSTONEN, 12. Natasha DEAN, 15. Louisa MANICO (11. Danielle TREGO 32), 17. Apii NICHOLLS (18. Raivaru Nganu 62)
Coach: Timothy KATOA (NZL)
Tonga: 1.Mele Vaisioa Mahe NIUKAPU (GK); 2. Buccilea ONGOLEA; 3.Anne Marie TAUKAPO; 4.Kiana TMU’AMOHOLEVA; 7.Mele Moala SOAKAI; 8.Kalina Mali MAMA’O (Pauline H. TONGA 62); 10.Heilala LOTO’ANIU; 11.Penateti Lapiuingi FEKE; 12.Lynette SIFA; 13.Victoria MINIONETI (5. Loata Lupe Folau LOTO’ANIU 69); 15.Suliana Latu UTAATU
Coach: Kilifi Solia UELE (TON)