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 (20/6/22).
Above: The outstanding Perth RedStar, who continued their rampant and perfect start to the NPL WA season. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Carlos Vega Mena.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Perth SC 0-1 Perth RedStar
Perth RedStar’s seemingly unstoppable charge towards the NPL WA Women’s title continued as they won their eleventh successive match on an afternoon where the sun did its best to peep through the clouds at a breezy Dorrien Gardens.
Perth SC had emerged as RedStar’s closest challengers, albeit ones who went into the game 10 points behind their visitors – although this was the first time they had crossed swords this season.
The Azzurri had only conceded goals against Hyundai NTC so far, the youngsters also being the only side to defeat Perth SC, having managed it twice.
RedStar have been relentless. As well as the big lead at the top of the table, they held a goal difference of +40. The visitors also were also buoyed by the knowledge that they had never lost a regular-season NPL match to Perth SC (in their original guise as Northern Redbacks) and had only conceded two goals in those six encounters.
The early exchanges saw RedStar legend Carla Bennett stamping her mark on the game. She was alert and quick to close down her opposition. The first chance of the game came from her corner on the right which led to Emily Dunn volleying wide.
The Azzurri responded with strong link-up play between Liana Cook and Zoee Spadano which eventually led to Courtney Butlion winning turnover ball on the right. Her pass found Emma McMurdo 25 yards from goal, and she slammed in a spectacular effort that rebounded off of the underside of the bar. Jaime Duncanson roared in to attempt to score, but was adjudged offside.
One of the keys to Perth RedStar’s successes this season has been their ability to take chances when they arrive, and this was highlighted after 13 minutes with an idiosyncratic counterattack goal.
They pinched the pocket of the hosts inside their own half and produced a one-touch passing move which resulted in Jay Coleman finding Larissa Walsh outside her. The competition’s top scorer, as ever, timed her run to perfection from the right of centre which alluded the home defence. Walsh squared a centimetre perfect pass for Sarah Carroll to smash home her ninth goal of the season, and fifth in five games.
Perth SC responded well and won back-to-back corners. They also had to overcome the loss of Faye Phillips at the back, which necessitated the introduction of young attacker Ella Lincoln. This in turn signalled a further reshuffle in their personnel with Liana Cook having to slot into right back.
It was a move that was largely positive for the Azzurri. Lincoln is a real prospect with great feet and pace which she showed instantly along the right-hand side and continually linked up well with Jaime Duncanson. Cook, forced to move back worked tirelessly to close down RedStar’s rapier-like counterattacks.
Lincoln was a thorn in the RedStar side and got away well along the left and played in a pacey ball for Duncanson, but Perth SC’s leading scorer couldn’t find the target. The pair combined dangerously a minute later with a similar move, but the outcome was equally similar.
Perth RedStar created and built their first sustained period of attacking football with Olivia Wood, Walsh, Sarah Carroll, and Coleman all involved. It was the latter who created her team’s best chance to extend their lead when she released Walsh to the left of centre. Rebecca Bennett showed great positioning sense to deny the RedStar hot-shot.
The Azzurri defence managed well, allowing the hosts to go on and enjoy the best of the remainder of the half. Duncanson had another chance when Cook fired in towards her, but her latest rocket shot just went over the ball. Butlion was released with five minutes of the half remaining, but Shivani Battaglia came out well to deny the Perth SC player.
At the break, it was Perth RedStar who held the lead, but Perth SC fashioned more than enough opportunities in terms of shots on goal (three) and corners earned (eight) to show their worth, but couldn’t find a finish.
The second half was more of an arm-wrestle with chances at a premium, although Perth RedStar had slightly the better of the exchanges. Walsh combined well with Coleman to get a shot in. After the home side earned some consistent territory, the visitors responded with Sarah Carroll joining in with the aforementioned RedStar duo in causing problems.
As the game moved into its final fifteen minutes, RedStar’s grip on proceedings appeared tighter than ever, which was enough to ensure they ran out 1-0 winners.
The league leaders’ consistent ability this season to take clear chances when they came was the difference once more. That is the sign of a champion team, and with Perth RedStar now 13 points clear at the top of the NPL WA, the title is as good as theirs.
Perth SC did enough to suggest that if opponents are able to covert chances then Carlos Vega Mena’s team can still be denied in the one-off Top Four Cup end-of-season shoot-out. Yet so far, none of his side’s NPL WA rivals have been able to covert those chances when they arrive.
Teams: PERTH SC: R.Bennett, Harvey, van Heurck, Phillips, Spadano, Cook, Meakins, McMurdo, Connolly, Duncanson, Butlion. Substitutes: Byrne, Lincoln, Papalia, Spatafore.
PERTH REDSTAR: Battaglia, S.Carroll, Walsh, Doan, C.Bennett, K.Carroll, Bilham, Wood, Dunn, Cohen, Coleman. Substitutes: De Leo, Ridley, Leota, Larsen, Mogridge, Insch, Diederichsen (GK).
Scorers: S.Carroll 13′
Referee: Jatin Lodhia.
Round 12 Wrap:
Round 12 got underway on Friday night with Curtin University hosting in-form Balcatta Etna at Edinburgh Oval. The visitors went into the game with four successive weekend league wins and, with Curtin still looking for their first victory in the NPL this season, there was no doubt who the strong favourites were.
It took 67 minutes for the first goal to arrive, and the ball was laid back to Alanah Veroni, positioned centrally on the edge of the box. Veroni cracked in a shot which cannoned back off of the bar, with Monique Godding rushing in to get there first to slot home.
The points were finally secured in stoppage time at the end of the match. Elizabeth Doust curled in a teasing high ball from the right for Monique Prinsloo to loop a header into the net.
On Sunday, Fremantle City closed the gap right up on second-placed Perth SC with a 3-0 win over Murdoch University Melville at Hilton Park.
Freo went ahead just after the quarter of an hour mark when Kate Nolan’s throw-in on the left eventually found its way to Mikayla Lyons who beat her defender on the right hand side of the box, cut in, and hit a low shot that deflected into the net off of Lucy Hope.
Despite continuing to push forward, it took until the hour mark for the home side to extend their lead, and it came from Nolan’s penalty.
Whilst the visitors remained committed, Freo added a third after 77 minutes when Jessica Darmago showed her skill on the right to advance and then cut back for Jamie-Lee Gayle to hit a first-time sidefooted shot which looped into the net.
Hyundai NTC hosted Subiaco in the final game of the round and there was late drama of the most epic kind at E&D Litis Stadium.
The teenagers of the NTC hit the front with 32 minutes played as a superb run along the right-wing produced a ball into the back post which was laid back perfectly for Tanika Lala to score. They doubled their lead nine minutes into the second period as Lala was found inside the box, turned her defender, and smashed home a shot into the far corner.
Yet, Subiaco are made of stern stuff, and they hit back within five minutes. They won turnover ball, and a series of short passes ended with Samantha Narra being released to hone in on goal. She slotted calmly under onrushing NTC keeper Lilly Bailey to get her team back in the game.
With the game three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the second half, Subi forced back-to-back corners. The second of which was played back into the box high and there was Emma Ylias to direct a header that bounced over the line to secure an excellent draw for the visitors.
|Murdoch University Melville||11||3||3||5||12||14||12||-2|
Round 13 Fixtures: Hyundai NTC v Curtin University, Murdoch University Melville v Perth RedStar, Balcatta Etna v Fremantle City, Subiaco v Perth SC.