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 (13/6/22).
Above: Abbey Meakins, scorer of two of Perth SC’s goals against Fremantle City on Sunday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Rob Lizzi.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Perth SC 3-0 Fremantle City
Perth SC gained a deserved and vital win over Fremantle City to leapfrog their opponents into second place in the NPL WA.
This was the first of two massive NPL home games for the Azzurri in six days as after meeting Freo, they will face off against runaway league leaders Perth RedStar next Saturday.
This second against third clash in the ladder brought two teams against each other at Dorrien Gardens with identical numbers of wins, draws, losses, and goal difference for the season. Just about the only key difference was that only one side had managed to score against Perth SC this season – Hyundai NTC – and the youngsters managed five in their two wins against the Azzurri.
It was the home side who started strongly, forcing six corners in the opening 22 minutes. Their dangerous attacking group of Jaime Duncanson, Abbey Meakins, and Liana Cook were all showing their worth.
With seven minutes on the clock, Meakins released Duncanson who danced through the centre, and only a superbly timed sliding tackle from Laura Waltman denied the Perth SC player. Shortly afterwards, Meakins was involved again, getting in a fierce effort that Dayle Schroeder did well to get down to save at the expense of a corner. The resulting flag-kick came in, Cook was able to get a free header at the back post but the ball went over.
It was from another corner that Perth SC’s next chance came. Zoee Spadano played the set-piece back for Faye Phillips to hit a high ball into the back post. Cook headed across goal for Courtney Butlion to hit a shot that rolled wide.
Whilst Fremantle’s chances were not as frequent, they were a threat with Jess Darmago’s pace and vision a key factor. Twelve minutes into the encounter, Matilda Boyle won possession and threaded a centimetre perfect pass into the stride of Darmago to motor away. Nadia Harvey’s excellent tackle denied the Freo flyer. Siobhan Longmore then fired in a stunner from over 25 yards that nudged the bar.
Darmago went close again 23 minutes into the half when Kayla McCulloch brilliantly won the ball in the centre before releasing her teammate with another perfectly timed pass. The eventual shot was deflected out for a corner.
The Azzurri had the possession and the territory, but just lacked the final touch in front of goal. Duncanson’s vicious inswinging corners were creating chaos in the Fremantle box, but as the half wore on, the visitors were shutting down the home side quicker. It was goalless at the break.
The early stages of the second half resembled a tactical chess-match-type battle with both sides aware of the importance of the outcome.
Spadano went close for the home side twice in quick succession in the early stages of the stanza. First with a shot going wide of the back post from a free-kick and then with a curling effort from the edge of the box that Dayle Schroeder in the Fremantle goal held.
Two goals in a five-minute spell on either side of the hour mark eventually settled matters. Emma McMurdo took advantage of a heavy Freo touch to find Meakins who in turn fed Duncanson outside her. The Azzurri star controlled the ball and fired into the net with the outside of her foot.
Perth SC benefitted from back-to-back corners to double their advantage. Duncanson lifted the second of them in for Cook to get a header on and Meakins was there to slam home from close range.
Despite continuing to work hard, Fremantle were not able to fashion a response, and Perth SC remained the most likely side to score.
With eight minutes remaining, Meakins’ influence continued as she spread the play for Butlion who in turn found McMurdo, but the shot went over the top.
Meakins exchanged passes with McMurdo outside the box before the latter advanced and was brought down by Janice Kiama who was shown her second yellow card of the afternoon by referee Stephen Knight. A penalty was also awarded. Meakins stepped up and rolled an effort into the left-hand side of the net. However, due to encroachment, a re-take was ordered. Meakins was not fazed and hit a more powerful effort into the same part of the net.
Perth SC deserved the win having looked dangerous in attack and well organised at the back. Next Saturday’s clash with Perth RedStar is mouthwatering and one that the Western Australian NPL women’s football community is greatly anticipating.
Check out Impetus’ exclusive interview with Perth SC star Abbey Meakins here: https://impetusfootball.org/2022/06/08/abbey-meakins-loving-the-creativity-and-culture-at-perth-sc/
Teams: PERTH SC: Bennett, Connolly, Harvey, Phillips, van Heurck, Duncanson, McMurdo, Meakins, Spadano, Butlion, Cook. Substitutes: Lincoln, Papalia, Spatafore, Zampogna.
Scorers: Duncanson 57′, Meakins 62′, 85′ (pen).
FREMANTLE CITY: Schroeder, Rigby, Boyle, Kiama, Leek, Longmore, Lyons, McCulloch, Smith, Waltman, Darmago. Substitutes: Buxey, Casili, Gale, Nolan, Siah.
Referee: Stephen Knight.
ROUND 11 WRAP:
This weekend’s NPL WA action kicked off on Friday night as Murdoch University Melville hosted Curtin University at Besteam Stadium.
The hosts went ahead at the half-hour mark when Nikita Strickling was fed on the left wing before cutting inside. She played an angled pass which was touched on into the path of Penelope Clayton to calmly put Murdoch ahead.
It was 2-0 just three minutes later as the home side again profited down the left with Meghan Hulsman advancing to square a pass to the middle of the box which was then moved towards the back post. An awkward bounce hampered Curtin’s attempts to clear and Clayton was on hand to double her tally for the night.
Yet less than sixty seconds later the visitors were back in it as Keilin Fagan profited from a poorly directed pass to confidently sweep the ball past Monique Todd in the Murdoch University Melville goal.
It stayed that way until 20 minutes from time when Rosie Lehane took possession against the by-line and angled a ball into the box for Hulsman to take a touch and then find the net. Hulsman continued her fine performance by scoring two goals in stoppage time at the end of the game to complete her hat-trick.
Hulsman’s second strike came a minute into added time when she pounced on a loose pass out of defence from the visitors to slam a first-time shot home. The hat-trick was completed when a defence-splitting run found Hulsman who smashed a shot high into the net.
Check out Impetus’ exclusive interview with Murdoch University Melville hat-trick hero Megan Hulsman here: https://impetusfootball.org/2022/05/25/meghan-hulsman-embracing-challenge-for-a-positive-future/
On Sunday, Balcatta Etna‘s strong recent form continued with an important 3-0 win over Hyundai NTC at Grindleford Reserve to leapfrog their opponents into the top four.
The hosts hit the front just past the quarter of an hour mark when Tahlia D’Opera turned her player on the left and advanced. The ball eventually was laid off for Lauren Continibali to slam into the net from the right-hand side of the box.
Eight minutes later, it was 2-0 as NTC keeper Lilly Bailey’s clearance fell perfectly for Alanah Veroni to loop a shot straight into the net.
Balcatta Etna completed this vital win with 19 minutes remaining. A corner came high into the box from the right which beat both Bailey and her defence, allowing Monique Prinsloo to sweep home.
The final game of the round saw Subiaco host Perth RedStar at Rosalie Park. Whilst the unbeaten league leaders took the points as expected, it was the home side who deserve plaudits for a fantastic effort full of desire, belief, and determination. Subi worked their socks off all afternoon to close down RedStar.
Despite the visitors racking up 13 shots on target to their three, Subiaco remained competitive and in the game. The only goal came with 63 minutes gone when Larissa Walsh squared a low ball from the left for Sarah Carroll to sidefoot into the net under the dive of Subi goalkeeper Zara Board.
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Round 12 Fixtures: Curtin University v Balcatta Etna, Perth SC v Perth RedStar, Fremantle City v Murdoch University Melville, Hyundai NTC v Subiaco.