Ben Gilby provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Western Australia NPL Women’s competition. As usual, there is a detailed report on one game and a wrap of all the other games along with photos (11/4/22).
Above: Balcatta Etna (blue) tussle for possession at home to Murdoch University Melville. Photo: JASP Photography.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Balcatta Etna 0-1 Murdoch University Melville
Last year’s top side Murdoch University Melville came out winners in a fiercely fought encounter of few real chances at a wet Grindleford Park.
It was a real test of the new look Murdoch side who came into the game on the back of an opening day draw with last year’s bottom team Subiaco. Balcatta had a tough baptism to the new campaign away at Perth SC which saw them go down 2-0.
MUM started the strongest and forces the opening corner with just over 60 seconds played. They also called home goalkeeper Gaby Dal Busco into action early on when Rachel Gillies’ free-kick from the left was met by the head of Poppie Hooks, who played A-League Women football for Perth Glory this season at the age of 16. Dal Busco gathered comfortably.
The early torrential rain subdued after 10 minutes and Balcatta settled, beginning to assert some assertive play. Cass Harvey put in a long cross for Tayna Campos whose effort deflected out for a corner. Monique D’Opera, who looked composed and tidy on the ball throughout also came close with a free-kick that went into the side-netting.
However, despite the home side’s growth, it was Murdoch University Melville who took the lead just before the break. Gillies took a throw on the half way line which led to Molly Bolton playing a crossfield ball out to the right. The ball came in and was met by a flick header by Hooks to put the visitors ahead.
The second half saw the return of the intense bursts of rain. Balcatta needed to grab the momentum, but real chances remained at a premium.
With an hour gone, Monique Prinsloo was rewarded for her efforts in the build-up to receive a return pass which put the Balcatta player in with Murdoch keeper Monique Todd, but the latter gathered.
As the half developed, the influence of MUM’s Meghan Hulsman grew along the right. Hulsman was dangerous with her runs, but also with deft footwork, passes and crosses. The wide player also created an opportunity for herself when cutting in from the right, but was denied by a superb diving save from Dal Busco.
For the home side, Tahlia D’Opera was an absolute workhorse, busy, battling hard and putting herself about both defensively but also on occasion coming forward along the left.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, Balcatta won a corner. Campos rose and the ball was recycled by substitute Mia Yeo for Tahlia D’Opera on the edge of the box whose shot was well handled by Todd in the face of the onrushing hoards.
Each side had one remaining opportunity, both in the dying stages. Samantha Mathers broke clean through for Murdoch but Dal Busco came out to meet her and slid the ball away expertly.
Balcatta’s was a golden opportunity three minutes into stoppage time when a ball in from the right by Prinsloo went over Todd and found Yeo at the back post who chested the ball down, but it was somehow swept away on the goal-line by Murdoch University Melville to clinch the win.
Balcatta has had a tough two fixtures to open the campaign and although yet to win or score, will certainly come good very soon. They will also hope that what at the time looked like a painful hit on Lauren Continibali won’t prove to be too serious ahead of next week’s trip to Subiaco.
Teams: BALCATTA ETNA: Dal Busco, M. D’Opera, T. D’Opera, Harvey, Campos, Godding, Jorquera, Prinsloo, Doust, Continibali, Veroni. Substitutes: Davis, Hayes, Yeo, Murray, Alberts.
MURDOCH UNIVERSITY MELVILLE: Todd, Lehane, Gillies, Hooks, Hoarau, Wainwright, Shore, Mathers, Hulsman, Bolton, Strickling. Substitutes: Townsend, Hope, Blankendaal, Mayoe.
Referee: David Avison.
Round Two Round-Up:
Hyundai NTC came from behind with less than 15 minutes to go to defeat Perth SC 3-2 at E&D Litis Stadium on Friday night. Perth went ahead with just two minutes on the clock when Jaime Duncanson volleyed in. The scores were level before the half-hour when Olivia Trueman charged down Perth goalkeeper Rebecca Bennett’s attempted clearance to equalize.
Perth SC re-established their lead just after the hour mark as a missed attempted clearance from the NTC keeper allowed Duncanson in to pounce again.
But the NTC, who had most of the offensive play, mounted a dramatic late comeback. With 13 minutes left, Louise Tana hit a 20-yard sensation into the net. On 83 minutes, Grace Johnstone curled in the winner directly from a corner on the left.
Perth RedStar ran out comfortable 6-1 winners at Curtin University also on Friday night. Hannah Insch gave them the lead with 12 minutes played when she rolled an effort into the net with ease. Yet, just before the break, Curtin levelled after winning a challenge with RedStar keeper Shivani Battaglia to slide the ball in.
That was as good as it got for the home side as RedStar ran riot in the second half along the right and Larissa Walsh benefitted by putting her team back in front. It was 3-1 shortly afterwards as Jacinta Coleman’s effort came back off the bar and eventually was worked for Renee Leota to volley home.
In the closing stages, Perth RedStar added another two as Akira Mogridga fired high into the net and Coleman rolled in the fifth easily at the far post.
Fremantle City came back from Subiaco with the points after a 4-1 victory at Rosalie Park to maintain their 100% start to the campaign.
Freo took the lead with 13 minutes gone when Matilda Boyle headed home. But Subi showed their mettle and levelled just after the half-hours when Frankie Murray’s free-kick on the right was touched in by Chelsie Whinchcombe.
Two goals in three minutes in the second half put the game firmly in Fremantle’s favour with Mikayla Lyons hitting both low into the net. Kayla McCulloch sealed the deal four minutes from time.
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Round Three Fixtures: Hyundai NTC v Murdoch University Melville, Perth RedStar v Fremantle City, Perth SC v Curtin University, Subiaco v Balcatta Etna.