Kieran Yap provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Victoria 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 (18/5/22).
Above: Action from Heidelberg United (yellow) against Bulleen Lions. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Heidelberg United 3-0 Bulleen Lions
Round Seven of Victoria’s NPLW provided a top-of-the-table clash. The league leaders Heidelberg and Bulleen faced off with the winner set to secure first place.
Bulleen welcomed back Alana Jancevski to the starting eleven. The promising centre forward has appeared off the bench previously and has the potential to score from anywhere. However, as she returns to fitness, Bulleen have clearly taken a cautious approach.
It was not all good news for the Lions however, star playmaker Paige Zois was absent. In a game where space in midfield was paramount, the player who can create it out of nothing was badly missed.
Heidelberg had the early momentum. They controlled the midfield and moved the ball easily in transition from defence to attack.
Bulleen found most of their early space deep, but were forced into playing long quick passes. If they bypassed the Heidelberg defenders, the ball was easily mopped up by Melissa Maizels in goal.
Heidelberg United had three shots on target in the opening 30 minutes, and one of those ended up in the back of the net.
Keely Lockhart made the early breakthrough in the 27th minute. Heidelberg swiftly moved the ball along the left flank and Danielle Wise cut it inside to Lockhart who took one touch to skip around a defender and another to fire the home side into the lead from long range.
Bulleen tried to respond quickly and earned a free-kick from the edge of the box. Jancevski’s shot was on target and potentially troublesome but Maizels got down low and saved comfortably.
Early in the second half, Heidelberg doubled their lead. Uncharacteristic hesitation in the Bulleen defence saw Grace Jale close in on goal. A slip by the Bulleen defender meant that the New Zealand striker could burst free and round the keeper to slot home in the 48th minute.
Lia Privitelli looked like Bulleen’s best chance of getting back into the game. She skipped into space and launched a shot that Maizels did well to save. It was looking like an individual moment would be the visitors’ best chance.
Privitelli had another chance soon after. Tiffany Eliadis threaded a wide pass into her path, but her shot at full pace went over the bar.
Grace Jale provided a moment of magic for Heidelberg, her brilliant backheel flick put Lockhart in space. The pass to Wise left her with only Shields to beat in goal. The carefully placed curling effort crashed off the crossbar.
Privitelli created the best opening for her side when she cut between two Heidelberg defenders on the wing. Her cross found Eliadis unopposed, and directly in front of goal. Maizel’s somehow dove and got a strong hand to it, making one of the best saves of the year.
The match was sealed in the 88th minute. It was Wise and Jale again causing problems. Jale’s cross was cleared by Bulleen but not far enough. The ball was met at the edge of the penalty area by Wise who volleyed home with perfect technique.
It was a 3-0 win to Heidelberg and the reward was top place. Bulleen were below their best but can look forward to strengthening this season as Jancevski returns to full form. Remarkably, they still sit second and have yet to field a full strength team.
This week was all about Heidelberg though. They scored three and could have had more. Every time their defence was breached, Maizels was able to answer either comfortably or spectacularly. Up the other end, Jale was dominant. Bulleen’s defence had no answer to her mobility, strength, and pace.
Bulleen will get a chance to respond when they host South Melbourne. Heidelberg United are expected to continue their winning ways against Bayside United FC.
Teams: HEIDELBERG UNITED: Maizels, Georgio, Wallhead, Georgopoulos, Tiktikakis, Galea, Burrows (Diblasi), Wise, Roach (McDonald), Jale, Lockhart (Papalia).
Scorers: Lockhart 27′, Jale 48′, Wise 88′.
BULLEEN LIONS: Shields, O’Bryan (Dolzan), Natoli, Stott, Muldeary, Johnson (Rodger), Eliadis, Burn, Vlajnic, Privitelli, Jancevski (Little).
ROUND SEVEN ROUND-UP:
In other results, South Melbourne won for the first time this season against Box Hill United on the weekend. Goals from Akeisha Sandhu and Jenna Lawson ensured a 2-0 win to lift the club off the bottom of the table. They followed that up with a 3-3 draw against the in-form FV Emerging side on Tuesday night.
Calder United continued their impressive form with a 2-0 win over Alamein after Stacey Papadopoulos and Harriet Withers found the net.
FV Emerging put four past Bayside United. Sarah Cain and Meave Brown each scored once. Anikda Dovaston registered a brace in an impressive performance.