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Bowen's goal bittersweet for Ferns

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/06/2016

She broke a scoring drought for the Football Ferns and was part of a vastly improved performance in the 1-1 draw against Australia, but Katie Bowen couldn't shake a nagging disappointment.

The United States-based defender says while the performance in Melbourne on Tuesday was one to savour in the wake of a listless 2-0 loss four days earlier, she can't help but feel New Zealand blew a chance to finally beat their trans-Tasman rivals.

"We're happy with our improved performance, we brought our A-game, but then again, we're gutted," Bowen said.

"It's been 23 years since we beat them. We're always so close, yet so far. So mixed feelings."

Bowen's first goal in 37 internationals was a memorable one, sending the ball into the top corner from outside the box with her left foot following a brilliant run from Sarah Gregorius.

It ended a long wait for a player who made her debut in 2011 and before that was New Zealand's youngest-ever international when she represented the under-17 side at the age of 14.

"It was an absolutely amazing feeling. It's my job to be in those positions but to convert was just awesome."

World No.5 Australia responded soon afterwards through captain Lisa de Vanna but Bowen says it shouldn't take away from one of the best performances in recent times from the 16th-ranked Football Ferns.

It was their last game ahead of the Rio Olympics and she believes they can take great heart.

"The Matildas are an absolute class team and I believe we dominated them for 90 minutes," she said.

"That's a huge confidence booster. We've got a few things to work on. We have to be more clinical but I think we're in contention (in Rio) and can shock some people in our group."

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