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 (15/6/22).
Above: Alana Jancevski who put Bulleen Lions in front ahead of Bayside United. Photo: Gold Leaf Creative.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Bulleen Lions 3-2 Bayside United
Bulleen Lions FC would have been confident going into this game with Bayside United. Caitlin Friend’s team had gone three games without a win. Although the only defeat in that run was 1-0 to fellow title contenders Calder United, they needed to reverse that form.
The last time these two teams met, Bayside was subjected to a 7-0 loss. After starting the season relatively competitively, they began losing by huge margins culminating in a 9-0 defeat away to South Melbourne. A 5-2 loss against Heidelberg United showed that they could still cause problems, but they sat at the bottom of the table with the league’s worst defensive record.
Things looked to be going as planned for Bulleen early on. Coco Parker may have given them an early scare when she almost scored in the opening minutes, but Bulleen were 1-0 up after 11 minutes.
Alana Jancevski created some space for herself on the edge of the penalty box. Once she gets on to her left foot, it usually spells trouble and her strike was too powerful for Kelsey Quinn. The Bayside goalkeeper was well positioned but after a deflection, the ball squirmed beyond her and into the net.
That chance had come from a Bayside turnover. A short goal kick quickly succumbed to the Bulleen press and the mistake was punished. It was not one that Bayside would make again. For much of this season, they have struggled to control the midfield. After that goal, they started to bypass it with longer, more direct balls towards Parker and Maryam Anvari up front.
Jancevski almost scored a spectacular second. Receiving the ball on the wing, she tried to catch Quinn by surprise with a curling effort from almost 40 yards. The keeper had to get down low to block it, but it was another example of what the Bulleen attacker can do without hesitation or warning.
Somewhat surprisingly, Bayside turned their effort into an equaliser. An intercepted pass on the flank led to a cross from Molly-May Ramsay. Anvari lifted the ball onward where Parker rose highest and levelled the scores with a close-range header.
Parker continued to cause problems for the Bulleen defence in her best performance of the season, but the next clear chance fell to the Lions and Melbourne Victory skipper Lia Privitelli.
Emily Dolzan passed the ball inboard from the right and Privitelli raced clear of the defenders. She composed herself before placing the ball past Quinn but unfortunately not the post.
Quinn had done very well to come off her line and close as much space as possible, Privitelli’s search for a first goal this season continued.
She made no mistake with her next chance. After running onto a bouncing ball, she shimmied around Quinn to finish and give Bulleen a 2-1 lead.
Bayside almost restored parity after another chance was created by Parker’s persistence. Her ball across the face of goal was dangerous but Kirstie Shearing’s shot was saved by Emily Shields.
Jancevski continued to search for second. Her movement from a set play created an opening but her shot curled away from the goal.
Bayside kept attacking. They had a newfound confidence and purpose in their play. Substitute Julia Budiongo charged down the right-wing and slipped an excellent pass through to Anvari. The striker shot first time and Shields was able to get a touch to it, but it was not enough to stop it from bobbling over the line and making it 2-2.
Budiongo’s impact continued. Late in the game, she had a claim for a penalty after trying to wriggle through Bulleen’s defence. The referee was well placed to make a quick decision and called for play to continue.
The winner eventually came late, heartbreakingly so for Bayside United. Fittingly it was Bulleen’s captain who did the job. Rosie Rodger turned cleverly in midfield and played a good pass into the path of Privitelli. She surged into the penalty box from a wide area and finished off on her right foot for an 88th-minute goal.
Bayside did enough to deserve a draw against a highly fancied opponent, but they should be buoyed by their ability to relieve pressure on themselves and put it directly on the opposition. Bulleen will be relieved to win, but they had the polish and composure when it mattered.
Their dip in form is not all that surprising. They have plenty of Melbourne Victory and City players in the squad. The problem is that they have plenty of Melbourne Victory and City players in their squad. Both of these teams had exhausting, intense A-League seasons that ended late into the finals. Fatigue may be an issue. The other is losing high-quality players to international camps like Zois.
Caitlin Friend still has them playing winning football and they still sit comfortable third with only two losses so far.
Teams: BULLEEN LIONS: Shields, Griss, (Vass) Natoli, Burn, Vlajnic, Little, Johnson, Dolzan, Jancevski, Govic (Rodger) Privitelli.
Scorers: Jancevski 11’, Privitelli 30’, 88’.
BAYSIDE UNITED: Quinn, Ramsay, Mclure, Fogarty, Souda (Budiongo) Baker, Cain-Edwards (Porter), Shearing, Stevenson, Anvari, Parker (Jowett).
Scorers: Parker 24’ Anvari 54’.
ROUND 11 WRAP:
In other games, South Melbourne’s momentum was halted by FV Emerging’s 2-0 win. Two wonder strikes by Ellie Vlarminck and Isabella Sewards were enough to lift the NTC side to fifth on the table. It was Sewards’ 100th NPLW game and she celebrated in style.
Calder United continued their winning ways with a 1-0 win in the top-of-the-table clash with Heidelberg United. Adriana Taranto’s first-half goal was all that separated the two teams. Calder now have a five-point lead in first place.
Box Hill United and Alamein met on the Friday night, with Alamein coming away 2-1 winners over the home side. Nia Stamatoploulos opened the scoring for Alamein in the 27th minute, with Elaina Vatcky doubling the lead before halftime. Melinda Barbieri pulled one back for the home side in the 83rd minute but Alamein held on for a win to keep them in fourth place on the table.