Northern Football confirmed their dominance of the ASB Women's League Northern Conference with a 6-0 thumping of WaiBOP Football at Rotorua International Stadium.
Despite the loss WaiBOP remain second on the Northern Conference points table with six points; seven points adrift of leaders Northern Football and one point in front of third-placed Auckland Football, who had a 2-2 draw with fourth-placed Northern-based NZF U-17 on Sunday.
Prior to the match WaiBOP head coach Peter Smith said they'd spoken about getting the basics right which would then deliver the young WaiBOP team a platform to build from.
"However, you have to play to what the game serves you and we were beaten by a quicker, stronger and technically superior team which put us under a huge amount of pressure; when you're under pressure, the basics become harder," Smith said.
"Northern Football is a quality team of quality players, many of whom have international experience. We don't have that luxury, but [we do have] a group of young, technically proficient players.
"We worked hard but were up against a team which worked smarter and affected the game a lot better."
From the outset Northern stamped their authority on the match with a very physical style of play and good control of the ball that left WaiBOP feeding off scraps of possession.
Katie Rood opened the scoring for the visitors in the 25th minute and Kate Seatter doubled the lead seven minutes before halftime to give Northern a 2-0 lead at the break.
In the second spell, Georgia Brown made the most of the Northern dominance to bag four goals in the 53rd, 62nd, 81st and 92nd minutes.
With the game having slipped out of WaiBOP's grasp early in the second half, Smith took the opportunity to get some of the squad's younger players on to the pitch, with midfielders Shania Heath and Tayla Forward and goalkeeper Megan Anderson making their ASB Women's League debuts.
"With the philosophy of developing players so they're capable of playing at this level, the match did give us the opportunity to give our younger players game time against arguably the best team in the country. They learn from that experience and on the development side of things hopefully that will give us a bigger gain."
Smith praised the venue, saying Rotorua International Stadium was "awesome".
"That's probably the best surfaced I've walked on; it was like a carpet - absolutely top drawer."
WaiBOP will now turn their attention to their final round robin match of the ASB Women's League against Auckland Football at Links Ave in Mount Maunganui on Sunday, December 2. The winner of this game will qualify second in the Northern Conference and play Southern Conference winners Mainland Pride in a semifinal in Christchurch a week later.
ASB Women's League standings:
Northern Football 13pts, WaiBOP Football 6, Auckland Football 5, North-based New Zealand under-17 team 4.