Massey University went back to the top of the women's Central League with a strong 4-0 win over Lower Hutt in their catch-up game under lights at Maidstone Park last night.
Until last Sunday Massey had been cruising to a third consecutive title, but a shock 3-1 loss to second-placed Seatoun left Massey needing to win their last three games to take the title.
Massey coach Kyle Jensen admitted the loss to Seatoun had been a wake-up call as the side hadn't been playing as well as they might in recent weeks, although he did not believe thoughts had been jumping ahead to this coming Sunday's national knockout semifinal with Glenfield Rovers in Auckland.
"The loss was a bit of a jolt for us, but it wasn't that we didn't have our minds on the job," Jensen said. "I've worked hard getting the girls to be aware that each game is the one we need to work at winning.
"Now we can think about Sunday."
It took Massey quite a while to break down the solid Lower Hutt defence with midfielder Leah Gallie, who was back to her dominant self, scoring the only goal of the first half. Rhonda Bridges, free from any niggles, scored twice in the second half with Rosie Missen scoring the other.
Lower Hutt rarely attacked but, when they did, they only looked to international Renee Bacon who was well-marked by Kate Bennett and Tamsyn Brown.
"I wanted us to make decisions on the pitch about where our opponents were likely to attack from and I think we did that well."
Massey were without a few of their players including former international Emily McColl, nursing an injury, while Jess Oulaghan, Mikaela Boxall and Karin Ingram were unable to get time off work. All four will be on the plane to Auckland on Sunday morning.
Massey University 4 (Leah Gallie, Rhonda Bridges 2, Rosie Missen) bt Lower Hutt 0. HT1-0
- Manawatu Standard
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