Football Ferns draw with Australia

By Niall Anderson

Caitlin Foord of Australia and goal-scorer Katie Bowen of New Zealand compete for the ball. Photo / Getty
Caitlin Foord of Australia and goal-scorer Katie Bowen of New Zealand compete for the ball. Photo / Getty

The Football Ferns' final hitout before the Rio Olympics has provided plenty of positives.

While their 23-year winless stretch against Australia continued with a 1-1 draw in Melbourne tonight, the performance showed plenty of encouraging signs against the world's fifth best side.

Tony Readings' side were much improved on their 2-0 loss in Ballarat on Saturday, but could rue an opportunity missed to break their barren spell against their transtasman rivals.

The Ferns had missed several gilt-edged chances and had a clear penalty for handball turned down as they looked dangerous throughout the contest.

A historical victory looked possible after they took the lead through a superb strike from Katie Bowen. Bowen - who wasn't born when the Ferns last defeated Australia - curved one in from the edge of the area to mark a memorable first international goal.

However, a classy left-footed curler from Lisa De Vanna levelled the scores, and the Matildas looked most likely to find a winner in the final stages before settling for the draw.

The 16th ranked New Zealanders will need to play at a similar level in Rio, with world number one USA and third-ranked France in their pool, as well as the 24th ranked Colombians.

- NZ Herald

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