It was a tough lesson for Team Ritesh Football Whanganui in the GR Engineering Federation Cup as Massey University showed them how to make the most of the 50-50 moments while being imposing on defence today.
The visitors scored a goal in each half at Wembley Park to get the better of their opportunities and run out 2-0 winners, with Football Whanganui having enough possession and territory to have flipped the scoreboard, but just coming up short in key instances in the very windy conditions.
Massey had a couple of tall defenders at the back who would crowd the home forwards for room and then had the hustle to contest with one ball carrier, before switching over and making the same chase on the pass receiver.
Most of Whanganui's shots on goal, therefore, had to come from longer range and fell safely into the keeper's arms.
The team also had a blow when winger Rebekah Ngapeka had to be helped off midway through the second half with an ankle injury.
Starting to tire, Whanganui gave away a few crucial penalties and unforced turnovers from simple traps of the ball bouncing back into Massey possession.
However, they never quit trying from whistle to whistle, with Vanya Apiata Hodgkinson getting free on a couple of occasions to out-run her chasers and get off a shot, while she and Alice Hetherington came close to solving the formula several times at the end of the first half with good passing exchanges when their side was dominating territory.
Young midfielder Ashley Cowley had a standout second half, as she chased after everything in trying to open up more opportunities while immediately going to get the ball back when it was lost.
Coach Matt Calvert said Massey's first goal was a "sucker punch" as it came on a breakaway against the run of play, right after Apiata-Hodgkinson had been one-on-one with the Massey keeper but let out a grunt of disgust when her angled strike went straight to the gloves.
The strong wind may have been more of a detriment than a positive to Whanganui at this time, as a couple of promising passes for Apiata-Hodgkinson and Hetherington ended up about half a metre further ahead than intended with the breeze, letting Massey win the race to the ball.
Massey's clincher goal came with 20 minutes left when gaps in the defence were opening up, as the striker worked over to the right and then sent a perfect shot down into the left-hand corner of the net.
Trying to make a comeback, a good Apiata Hodgkinson strike smacking the cross bar just summed up Whanganui's day.
"Not as frustrating as I've been in other games," Calvert said afterwards about the team's first foray into Cup competition.
"There's positives in where we moved with the ball, from the back going forward.
"We just struggled to break them down.
"It's a killer pass away, a shot in the corner, might have been a different game."
Massey coach Ashley Gurney had the same sentiment.
"It could have gone either way. Our girls fought really hard.
"We came here expecting a battle and that's what we got."
Women's Federation League play resumes this coming Sunday with Whanganui heading down to face Feilding United.
Cup football continues tomorrow with the Men's Lotto Federation Cup, as GJ Gardner Homes Wanganui Athletic host Hokowhitu FC at Wembley Park, Versatile Wanganui City FC head north to Turuturu Park to face Hawera FC, while Wanganui Marist Celtic go to Hastings to take on Western Rangers.
All games kickoff 2pm.