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 matches along with photos (2/5/22).
Above: Balcatta Etna take a throw-in at Grindleford Reserve, venue for their game with Curtin University. Photo: JASP Photography.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Balcatta Etna 4-1 Curtin University
Balcatta produced a strong performance to record their first win of the season at home to Curtin in a match that produced four of its five goals in a dramatic 10 minute spell at Grindleford Reserve.
The teams went into the match without a win and occupied the bottom two positions in the NPL table. However, as a slight caveat, they had also had tough fixtures to open the campaign. Balcatta were also still looking for their first goal of the season.
A warm day welcomed the teams to the pitch. It took both sides a while to settle with the opening quarter marked by promising build-ups which petered out around the box. Cass Harvey was busy for the home side and it was Balcatta who fashioned the first real chance. Monique Godding pulled an effort back across from the right which was brilliantly cleared off the line.
Shortly afterwards, the hosts came close once more as Godding found Monique Prinsloo outside the box. The ball was played into Alanah Veroni but Bolton Yangi cleared the danger at the last gasp for the visitors.
Balcatta Etna were beginning to take charge with Carys Davis’ dancing feet a continual danger. Harvey combined with Prinsloo and the move progressed to allow Tayna Campos to try and force the ball home, but another sensational clearance at the last possible moment from Curtin, this time from Suria Varatharaja, denied Etna.
Campos was looking to get shots in all afternoon, and she let fly with a rocket from long-range a minute later, but Stacey Cavill in the Curtin goal managed to palm down and hold.
Whilst Varatharaja was continuing to impress defensively for the visitors, they still had chances coming forward. Dakota Van Vugt offered a threat and powerful outlet.
The final opportunity of the first half fell the way of Balcatta. Prinsloo broke through, with Cavill coming out to meet her but the striker managed to get the ball free from the keeper’s challenge which allowed Campos to get a shot away but again, Varatharaja dealt with the danger creditably.
Balcatta Etna continued on the front foot after the break with Prinsloo combining with Aaliyah Jorquera who stretched everything to get a header in which just went over the bar.
However, not taking chances when they come means there is always the threat of going behind, and that is exactly what happened just before the hour mark.
Taylor Reid put in a deep cross which found Preston at the far post. She had time to turn and play in Danielle Suckling who drove a superb effort into the top left-hand corner with 59 minutes played.
This was the start of an incredible ten-minute flurry of four goals. Less than a minute later, Balcatta were level. Georgia Cawley played in Harvey who in turn found Godding. The final ball to Prinsloo allowed the Etna striker to round the keeper and score her team’s first goal of the season.
Balcatta hit the front just two minutes later. Cawley’s free-kick bounced high in the box which allowed Monique D’Opera to slot the ball under Cavill and into the net.
It got even better for the hosts with 69 minutes on the clock as substitute Mia Yeo beat Yangi down the left before advancing towards the by-line where she got past Varatharaja to play in a low cross for Prinsloo to sweep home at the near post.
Curtin hit back with Van Vugt pushing forward with purpose once more along the left. She cut inside and forced Balcatta keeper Gabby Dal Busco to come out and deflect her shot away.
Yeo continued to create danger at every opportunity for the home side. Another rampage down the left supplied a great opportunity for Prinsloo, but Cavill pounced on the ball.
Into stoppage time at the end of the match, Hannah Seerden conceded a throw for Balcatta on the right, in line with the edge of the box. Substitute Tahlia D’Opera took and the ball floated in high. Emily Englebert got a touch and the ball ended up in the net off Yeo for the hosts’ fourth.
Curtin had a chance for a consolation at the death as Van Vugt got forward once more, but Dal Busco made a great save with her legs to the delight of the home fans.
Balcatta’s season is up and running. They face a stern test at Fremantle City next weekend in what looks to be a fascinating clash. Curtin have shown real improvements in their opening games from their performances of last season. They next face a home game with Hyundai NTC, and will feel it is a game they can get their first points out of.
Teams: BALCATTA ETNA: Dal Busco, M.D’Opera, Harvey, Campos, Godding, Davis, Jorquera, Prinsloo, Doust, Veroni, Cawley. Substitutes: T.D’Opera, Continibali, Yeo, Englebert, Murray, Hayes.
Scorers: Prinsloo 60′, 69′. M.D’Opera 62′, Yeo 90′.
CURTIN UNIVERSITY (From): Cavill, Seerden, Connop, Preston, Boorman, Waycott, McLernon, Varatharaja, Reid, Hazledon, Riches, Downing, Van Vugt, Suckling, Yangi.
Scorer: Suckling 59′.
Referee: Stephen Knight.
ROUND FIVE ROUND-UP:
Fremantle City earned another three points on Friday night with a 3-1 win at defending champions Murdoch University Melville (MUM).
Freo imposed themselves on the game from the start to build an impressive early lead. They went ahead with four minutes on the clock as Laura Waltman took advantage of MUM losing possession. The move ended with a clinical finish by Jessica Darmago.
Fremantle doubled their lead from the penalty spot four minutes later. Darmago confidently dispatched the kick into the right-hand corner. The Fremantle City player has been in magnificent form in the early stages of the season – highlighting herself as one of the starts of the competition.
With less than 15 minutes on the clock, Murdoch hit back. Charli Wainwright gained possession and found Elysse Shore on the left. Shore got free and crossed in for Samantha Mathers to slot home.
Yet, Freo restored their two-goal cushion just after the half-hour mark as Jamie-Lee Gale was played in and let fly with a powerful effort that MUM goalkeeper Monique Todd had no chance of stopping.
Whilst MUM’s new-look team went down to another loss, there remain positive signs that once they gel, their results will move in the right direction.
Subiaco continued their impressive recovery from last year’s tough campaign after defeating Hyundai NTC 2-0 at Rosalie Park. But there was controversy over Subi’s second goal which was allowed to stand despite being aided by a bizarre set of circumstances.
The home side went ahead with 26 minutes played. Awarded a free-kick out on the left around 25 yards from goal, Frankie Murray stepped up to lift the shot high into the net.
The NTC hit back forcing a series of corners, but the moment that decided this match came in the 52nd minute and it was one of the most unfortunate goal concessions that you will see all season.
NTC lost possession and a ball through by Subiaco released Phoenix Brownlie who raced in on goal. However, visiting goalkeeper Lily Bailey was clearly distracted during the move by the presence of a stray dog on her goal line. Bailey frantically tried to attract the officials’ attention, but Brownlie continued to advance and then lift a shot into the net despite the dog still being in the goalmouth and impeding Bailey’s concentration. The goal was allowed to stand.
The game between Perth RedStar and Perth SC was postponed.
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Round Six Fixtures: Curtin University v Hyundai NTC Women, Perth RedStar v Murdoch University Melville, Perth SC v Subiaco, Fremantle City v Balcatta Etna.