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 (23/5/22).
Above: Abbey Meakins is held aloft by Jessica Byrne after scoring the winning goal for Perth SC at Balcatta Etna yesterday. Photo: Rob Lizzi.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Balcatta Etna 0-1 Perth SC
Perth SC took the honours in the ‘Italian derby’ as they closed the gap on Fremantle City in the race for second-place on the ladder.
In very wet conditions at Grindleford Reserve, it took the visiting Azzurri just four minutes to create the first opportunity of the afternoon. From a move that started in the centre with Cameron Barreiro, the ball eventually found its way into the box via a cross from the left. Zoee Spadano met it with a shot which Balcatta keeper Gabby Dal Busco saved well. The follow-up from Ella Lincoln went over the bar.
The early exchanges saw the two number fours prominent. Cass Harvey was busy and creative for Balcatta with Barreiro was continuing to be influential for Perth SC on the right.
The Azzurri were having the lion’s share of possession, looking to spread the ball at every opportunity, but despite excellent build-up play, and putting dangerous crosses into the box, they couldn’t get the shots in on goal. This was down to the hard work and organisation of the Balcatta defence, with the influence of goalkeeper Gabby Dal Busco a key part of their strong rearguard action.
The hosts came close with 19 minutes on the clock. Tayna Campos’ free-kick from 30 yards out bounced off of the wet turf in front of Perth SC keeper Rebecca Bennett and needed to be pushed out for a corner at the foot of the right-hand post.
However as the half wore on, the more the visitors gained in territory and possession. On 25 minutes a sustained period of pressure saw them come close. The ever-dangerous Barreiro curled in a free-kick from the left which the hosts only partially cleared. Jaime Duncanson recycled the ball in from the opposite flank for Spadano. Balcatta averted the danger at the cost of a throw parallel to the 18-yard box on the right which led to a corner for the visitors. Duncanson pulled the flag-kick in for Abbey Meakins to get a shot in as the ball rebounded off the back of Cass Harvey. Dal Busco saved well.
Balcatta had a half-chance shortly afterwards as Tayna Campos headed on a free-kick that Rebecca Bennett dealt with in the visitors’ goal.
The Azzurri finally got the goal that their hold on the game deserved six minutes before the break. Barreiro’s throw-in on the left found Meakins just outside the box. The in-form Perth SC attacker played an intelligent one-two with Jessica Byrne before being brought down on the edge of the ‘D’ in a central position.
Meakins picked herself up, gathered the ball for the free-kick, and sent a curling shot into the bottom left corner of the net to put the Azzurri ahead.
In stark contrast to how the opening period ended, the second half opened in bright sunshine. However, in terms of the first chance, it was more of the same. A ball in from the left found Meakins who got a shot away which was repelled superbly at point-blank range by Dal Busco. Byrne’s follow-up trickled wide.
Yet Balcatta dug in well and showed heightened energy. Their creative force Mia Yeo was more prominent, linking well with Alanah Veroni and Campos. Veroni was on hand with a half-chance for the hosts as she poked a shot just wide of the right-hand post.
As the heavy rain returned on the hour mark, the Azzurri returned to the offensive with substitute Liana Cook probing with purpose along the right flank, and Jaime Duncanson created on the opposite side and got a shot away which went over.
The hosts continued to work hard and introduced the threatening attacker Monique Prinsloo with 17 minutes to go. Shortly after this, Perth SC had the ball in the net again, but it was ruled out for offside.
The sunshine returned for the closing stages, and with two minutes to go, Cook looked to have escaped and was clean through on goal. Monique D’Opera got back and across Cook who went down. Referee Arvin Shanmuganathan adjudged it to be a foul and displayed a red card. It was one of those incidents that if a player on your side is sent-off you feel it is harsh, but if you are on the attacking team, it is the right decision.
Whatever the rights and wrongs, Meakins stood over the resulting free-kick just outside the box, but the set-piece went wide.
A characteristic marauding run down the left from Yeo brought a corner for Balcatta at the death but it brought no reward and the home side’s last chance had gone.
Teams: BALCATTA ETNA: Dal Busco, M.D’Opera, C.Harvey, Campos, Godding, Davis, Doust, Veroni, Yeo, Nossent, Engelbert. Substitutes: T.D’Opera, Jorquera, Prinsloo, Continibali, Cawley, Murray.
PERTH SC: Bennett. N.Harvey, van Heurck, Barreiro, Phillips, Spadano, Meakins, Lincoln, Papalia, Byrne, Duncanson. Substitutes: Cook, McMurdo, Spatafore.
Scorers: Meakins 39′.
Referee: Arvin Shanmuganathan.
ROUND EIGHT ROUND-UP
The action started with a bang on Friday night as Curtin University hosted Fremantle City at Edinburgh Oval.
Freo wracked up five shots on target and led the corner count 5-1 at half-time, but the scoreboard remained 0-0. But it didn’t take long in the second period for that to change.
Just five minutes in fact, as from a throw for the visitors on the right-hand side, in line with the penalty area, a great ball inside found the path of Matilda Boyle to sweep home.
The match was then turned on its head as Curtin, looking for their first win of the season, scored two goals in as many minutes to hit the front. First, from a corner on the left, Taylor Reid got a flick shot in at the near post in front of Freo keeper Dayle Schroeder to score. Then, from Keilin Fagan’s corner, Dakota Van-Vugt’s header was deflected onto the post and Natarsha Smith’s attempted clearance ended up in her own net.
Yet Curtin’s lead only lasted two minutes as the visitors hit back thanks to Mikayla Lyons’ penalty. Freo regained their lead on 74 minutes as they cleared a Curtin free-kick and broke upfield with Jamie-Lee Gale rounding advancing home goalkeeper Stacey Cavill and hitting a shot that deflected into the net.
With 12 minutes to go, the visitors extended their advantage to 4-2 in a move that started from Schroeder’s release of the ball at the back. Two eye of the needle passes in the midfield eventually found Gayle, who once more beat Cavill who came out of her goal to slot home.
Fremantle grabbed a further two goals in the last four minutes, and for the first of them, the move was started by Schroeder once more. Her goal kick bounced high just outside the opposing box. Curtin’s attempted clearance went straight to a Freo shirt. The ball in found Jessica Darmago who brilliantly controlled and lifted a shot into the goal.
The scoring was completed in the final minute when Gale got free along the left and played in a cross to the back post for an effort that went high over Cavill and bounced at the near post for Erin Siah to tap home.
The remaining game on Sunday afternoon saw Perth RedStar continue their outstanding start to the season with a 5-1 win away to Hyundai NTC.
In another dominant display, the league leaders went ahead with only six minutes on the clock. Sarah Carroll’s corner from the right saw Larissa Walsh look to have got a touch at the near post and the ball agonizingly trickled between the legs of NTC keeper Lilly Bailey with Jay Coleman getting the final touch.
It was another corner that brought about RedStar’s second goal half hour later. Again, from the right, it came in high. Coleman got a touch and Walsh pounced to score.
The story of set-pieces from the right causing untold damage for NTC continued into the second half. Ten minutes into the period, a corner came in which was met by the head of Shawn Bilham for 3-0.
Four minutes later, the teenagers of the NTC showed their danger as Sophie Meaden found Georgia Cassidy. She in turn found the ever-sharp Tanika Lala who advanced in on goal and showed great skill to poke home.
However, NTC hopes were shortlived and, again, Perth RedStar profited from a delivery on the right. Sarah Carroll curled a free-kick in and the unfortunate Bailey could only help the ball into the net with 64 minutes played.
The scoring was completed when Sarah Carroll dispatched a penalty high into the right-hand corner of the net with eight minutes left.
The scheduled match between Subiaco and Murdoch University Melville was postponed.
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Round Nine Fixtures: Murdoch University Melville v Balcatta Etna, Perth SC v Hyundai NTC, Perth RedStar v Curtin University, Fremantle City v Subiaco.