9 Oct 2011

Young Football Ferns clinch trans-Tasman series win

8:32 am on 9 October 2011

The New Zealand under-17 women's football team sealed a 2-0 series win over their Australian counterparts with a come from behind 3-1 victory at North Harbour Stadium on Friday night.

The Young Football Ferns, who won Monday's opener 2-1 with Wednesday's second match drawn 0-0, fell behind to a fired up Australian outfit midway through the first half when a shot from Amy Harrison thundered off the cross bar and into the path of Meg McLaughlin who finished from close range.

It took until the 64th minute for New Zealand to restore parity with substitute Emma Fletcher setting up Emma Rolston to equalise with a low shot across the face of Australian keeper Shamira Khamis after turning a covering defender.

Briar Palmer was a touch fortuitous with New Zealand's second goal nine minutes later as her cross sailed over Khamis and snuck in at the back post although the winger earned the luck with a hustling run into the box.

With 10 minutes remaining and the New Zealanders well and truly hitting their straps, substitute Jolene Muir added the final gloss on the victory by scoring with her first touch - a lob into a vacant net after Khamis and Rolston clashed on the edge of the area.

Both teams are aiming to qualify for next year's FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan.

New Zealand's Oceania qualifiers are not until April while Australia's Asian qualifiers begin next month.