Coach beaming after Football Ferns sink China

02:59, Jun 21 2012
Amber Hearn
CELEBRATION: New Zealand celebrate Amber Hearn's 30th international goal.

Tony Readings has acknowledged the Football Ferns' consecutive wins over China as the best combined displays he's ever seen from his side.

And with the Olympic Games only 36 days away, Readings' team have timed their run to perfection - going from never beating China, a former powerhouse of the world women's game, to back-to-back wins inside four days.

Last night's 1-0 win, following a 3-1 drubbing of the Chinese on Sunday, proved the Ferns' weekend win was no flash in the pan.

Readings now faces a difficult task of trimming two players from his 20-strong squad for London 2012 after an upcoming two-game tour against Australia.

And the national women's coach admits his players are making those decisions very tough.

"They're making my job very difficult for me," Readings said.

"More so Sunday, but as a combination, yes, these are the best two games. We are definitely playing with more belief.

"It's really pleasing to back up the win on Sunday, I don't think we were as dominant in the second game, China came here to step it up. But when you go to the Olympics you never get it easy.

"These games are good preparation, sometimes you've got to dig out wins.

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"We looked comfortable in possession at times and defensively we looked solid, we didn't really give them too much.

"They had more possession, particularly first half, but they found it hard to break us down.

"This team's got something different than in the past, we can keep the ball better and have nerve. We didn't look flustered.

"We probably played our best football in the last 15 minutes.

"That's how we've got to play if we want to win games at the Olympics."

A stunning strike from Amber Hearn was enough to claim a 1-0 victory in Auckland last night and sweep the two-game series following Sunday's 3-1 rampage.

Hearn's ninth-minute strike, which looped over goalkeeper Wang Fei from 23 metres, was the product of exquisite vision and flawless execution - a fitting way for the 27-year-old to become the leading goalscorer in Ferns history.

Hearns was not aware that last night's strike fired her into the record books.

"I don't really take too much notice of things like that," she said.

"I was actually going to pass it, but then the girls just took a couple of players away so I thought 'just go for it', I saw the keeper of her line.

"It looked like it was going over, but just dipped in.

"It was a cracker."
Readings reserved special mention for Hearn's performances over the last few days, and what was a spectacular goal.

"I think across the two games she was the best player. Her performances deserved that goal today, and what a goal," he said.

Fairfax Media