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 (27/7/22).
Above: Calder United come away with the ball in their game against Bulleen Lions. Photo: Jack Dilks/171819.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
South Melbourne 2-2 Alamein
Alamein had a tenuous hold on fourth spot when they travelled to Lakeside stadium to play South Melbourne in Round 17.
The visiting side lost to Heidelberg the previous week and needed a response against the inconsistent yet ever dangerous South Melbourne.
The hosts enjoyed a big win in Round 16. They defeated Bayside United 4-2, but the headlines were written by rising star Bella Stringfellow who scored a hattrick for South Melbourne.
The conditions were wet, cold, and miserable at kick-off and the first half was cagey with no real clear chances created by either side. With Katerina Nikpour up front for Alamein and Jenna Lawson roaming the flanks for South Melbourne, any errors at the back could be punished.
The closest either side came to a first-half goal came after Amy Jackson created some space in midfield and shifted the ball wide. The long pass from fullback created an opportunity for Nikpour but Janna Farrow in the South Melbourne goal was off her line to snuff out the chance.
Jackson’s passing range caused problems again in the second half. Ashleigh LeFevre raced down the left wing and played it back to the Melbourne Victory star. Jackson’s cross from deep caused panic in the South Melbourne defence. Farrow eventually held onto the ball after it bounced about chaotically in the box.
Despite being outplayed for much of the second half, South Melbourne took a 56th minute lead.
Georgina Kandilas and Caitlin Pickett chased down a long ball, and harried their way into the penalty box through a series of tackles, flicks, and tackles. The eventual shot came from Pickett, and it slid across the face of goal where Stringfellow was arriving to score her fourth goal in two games.
It was a goal made of effort from Kandilas and Pickett, but Stringfellow showed impressive anticipation and instincts to arrive at the far post and finish well.
The game burst into life for the final half hour as Alamein chased a goal. The equaliser arrived in the 71st minute. Vatcky’s pressure forced an under-hit back pass and Sidney Allen danced past Farrow before finishing into an empty net. After an hour without much goal-mouth action, there had been two in about 10 minutes.
Alamein were gifted a chance to go ahead five minutes later. From a corner kick, Allen headed toward goal at the back post. Lawson was on the goal line but used her hands to block the ball. It was an immediate red card and a penalty kick to Alamein.
Allen scored her second of the night with the spot kick. Alamein had turned the game around in the space of a few minutes. It was 2-1 with time running out.
A player and a goal down, all looked lost for South Melbourne, yet with nothing to lose they persisted. In the final moments of the game, their endeavour was rewarded.
Georgia Kandilas embarked on a run down the right wing, and although she was crowded out by three defenders, she kept the pressure up and forced a hasty clearance.
The ball fell to Karina Tolios on the edge of the box and a perfectly hit left foot strike saw the ball sail over the crowded penalty area and into the top corner. It was a stunning end to a dramatic game of football.
As exciting as it was, the result did not do much for South Melbourne’s ladder position. They leapfrogged Box Hill into sixth but do not look like making fourth position.
The draw might have been disappointing for Alamein, but it was a valuable point. They are only two behind Bulleen Lions and their consistency over the campaign gives them every chance of grabbing third place.
Teams: SOUTH MELBOURNE: Farrow, Houndalas, (Tolios 87′) Keppens, Lawson,, Pickett, Papatsanis, Stringfellow, (Hronopoulos) Taranto, Murray, Iermano, Kandilas.
Scorers: Stringfellow 57’, Tolios 89’.
ALAMEIN: Bean, Lefevre, Allen, Vatcky (Michael 87′), Jackson, Storay, Nikpour, (Hull 59′), Ayton, Heysen, Renehan, Lantieri-Bartley.
Scorers: Allen 70’ 79’ (pen).
Referee: Lewis Giuseffi.
Round 17 Wrap:
In the other games, Box Hill United were comfortable 3-0 winners over Bayside United. Sofia Sakalis scored twice in three minutes to give Box Hill a second-half lead. Anais Josefski put some gloss on the performance with a 94th-minute goal.
Heidelberg United kept their grasp on first place with a 3-0 win over FV Emerging. Emily Roach scored a brace and the in-form Danielle Wise added a third late.
The third game of the weekend was Bulleen Lions against Calder United and a comfortable win for the visitors. Aleksandra Sinclair opened the scoring in the 47th minute before Melissa Taranto converted her penalty kick in the 74th minute to halt Bulleen’s momentum.
Ava Groba scored the third to maintain Calder’s impressive winning record this season. They are in second position but have a game in hand over Heidelberg.
It is exciting at the top of the table in the NPLW Victoria: