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 (1/8/22).
Above: Perth RedStar – NPLW WA champions 2022. Photo supplied by: Carlos Vega Mena.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Murdoch University Melville 2-0 Hyundai NTC
Defending champions Murdoch University Melville (MUM FC) earned a crucial victory in the race for Top Four Cup qualification over rivals Hyundai NTC at Besteam Stadium on Friday night.
MUM FC have been in their best form of the season over the past month or so which has seen them lift from the lower reaches of the table to the brink of Top Four Cup qualification.
The challenges faced by a team who were virtually rebuilt for the 2022 season were obvious in the first months of the campaign – the squad needed to gel and find their feet – but there were glimpses that once they were firing on all cylinders, Murdoch could be a top four challenger. That is now starting to happen.
NTC came into the game in fourth, MUM FC sixth, just two points behind their teenage visitors.
The first half opened in difficult blustery and very wet conditions on the synthetic Besteam Stadium pitch. It was the hosts who fashioned the best early opportunities with Samantha Mathers getting free along the right before cutting in along the by-line to fire in successive shots that were repelled by NTC keeper Lilly Bailey at her near post.
Meghan Hulsman probed forward shortly afterwards, and advanced into the box before Violet Longmore put in a tackle that provoked some penalty shouts from Murdoch, but referee Andre Ferreira was not interested.
MUM FC continued to enjoy more possession, but clear-cut chances were few and far between – not a surprise given the combination of the conditions and what was on the line in this match.
As the half wore on, NTC’s attacking dynamos Tanika Lala and Louise Tana, plus the constant creativity and vision of Grace Johnston began to show their worth. Yet despite getting more possession and territory, clear-cut chances remained at a premium.
With nine minutes remaining ahead of the break, there were suddenly a flurry of opportunities for the home side. Clara Hoarau found Nikita Strickling who hit a powerful drive from the right of centre in the box which was repelled for a corner by the strong hand of Bailey in the NTC goal.
Within minutes, Murdoch advanced once more and Mathers’ throw on the right found Strickling. Hulsman was then involved who laid the ball off to Hoarau inside the box who was able to sort her feet out before firing the home side ahead.
MUM FC continued to be on the front foot after the break and they doubled their lead six minutes into the second period. Perth Glory A-League Women player Sadie Lawrence gathered possession, drove forward, and found Andrea Preiato who then fed Strickling to fire home an absolute rocket from the edge of the box to double her side’s lead as the rain continued to sheet down.
Rachel Gillies’ free-kick from 40 yards dipped suddenly and landed on the top of the net in a superb effort that suddenly went a lot closer than anyone could have predicted.
Hulsman was putting in a superb shift in the difficult conditions – both in her intelligent runs, link-up play, and shots. She was a thorn in the side of the NTC who could never quite limit her influence.
The NTC threw on both of their two substitutes – Catherine Adams and Wilma Thodhlana in an attempt to get back into the game. They had a chance from Louise Tana’s effort and then, in the closing minutes, a viciously curling free-kick by Adams from the edge of the box that Todd, who saw it late, got down brilliantly to push away for a corner.
This was a huge win for Murdoch University Melville in the Top Four Cup qualification race. They are now in fourth place, a point clear of NTC who remain their closest challengers, with Balcatta Etna just a further point behind.
Teams: MURDOCH UNIVERSITY MELVILLE: Todd, Gillies, Lehane, Wainwright, Lawrence, Shore, Mathers, Hulsman, Preiato, Strickling, Hoarau. Substitutes: Cant, C.Meaden, Townsend.
Scorers: Hoarau 39′, Strickling 51′.
HYUNDAI NTC: Bailey, Harnwell, Longmore, Richards, Woolley, Johnston, Lala, S.Meaden, Vega Mena, Powell, Tana. Substitutes: Adams, Thodhlana.
Referee: Andre Ferreira.
Round 17 Wrap:
Perth RedStar‘s incredible season continued as they confirmed they would be NPLW WA champions with five games remaining after defeating second-placed Fremantle City 4-0 at RedStar Arena on Sunday afternoon.
After a period of pressure that saw four shots on target and two corners in the space of 13 minutes, RedStar went ahead just after the half-hour mark with a sensational move that was started and finished by Larissa Walsh and underlined this team’s class.
Taking the ball in midfield, Walsh turned and set in motion a stunning attack that saw pace, and outrageous turns away from would-be markers, before Walsh received possession again on the right-hand edge of the area where the league’s deadliest attacker fired home with aplomb.
The home side continued to press and doubled their lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Walsh got down the left and played the ball for Renee Leota to turn away from a defender and hit a low shot into the net.
Carlos Vega Mena’s side kept it up in the second period and any lingering doubts as to the outcome of the game were swept away with 22 minutes remaining. Once more it came from a move of quality. An inch-perfect through ball was played into the stride of Olivia Wood who ran into the box and hit a great shot around her covering defender and in for 3-0.
The icing on the title-winning cake came with 10 minutes left as RedStar took advantage of an over-hit Fremantle pass to attack, with Wood beating the advancing Indianna Casili in the visitors’ goal to roll home the fourth.
RedStar have now won the three pieces of silverware available to them so far this season, with this achievement added to their Night Series Final (under their previous guise of Northern Redbacks), and State Cup Final successes. The season-ending Top Four Cup is the only remaining honour to claim.
Perth SC ended a superb week with a 10-2 thrashing of winless bottom side Curtin University at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday.
The Azzurri had become the first team to avoid defeat against Perth RedStar in midweek, earning a 0-0 draw on the road, and buoyed by that, they were ruthless in their demolition of Curtin in a bid to claim second place in the ladder before the end of the season.
Perth SC announced a return for former Perth Glory W-League player Caitlin Doeglas who set the ball rolling with the home side’s opening goal with five minutes on the clock.
Young Azzurri prospect Ella Lincoln then grabbed a superb hat-trick, with Doeglas adding her second just before the half-hour as Perth SC went in 5-0 up at the break.
A spell of four goals in nine minutes opened the second half as Liana Cook and Abbey Meakins got in on the act for the home side before Dakota Van-Vugt hit two in the spell to bring minor relief to Curtin University.
However, another rapid-fire burst of goals saw Perth SC hit the double figures mark as Jamie Duncanson grabbed a brace either side of Cook’s second of the afternoon.
This stunning result sets up a huge second against third clash on Friday night when The Azzurri travel to Fremantle City.
Subiaco continued their excellent form by defeating Balcatta Etna for the second week in a row at Rosalie Park.
Whilst Ella Mastrantonio was not in the squad this week, Subi still had Lisa De Vanna and Marianna Tabain to steer the team’s talented youngsters around the park. The hosts forced three corners in the opening four minutes in a statement of intent.
Subiaco went ahead with 11 minutes on the clock in sensational style. Emma Ylias’ throw on the right parallel with the 18-yard box led to a shot from Frankie Murray which was deflected into the path of Melissa Shepherd who hit an absolute worldie into the net first time from over 30 yards that Gabby Dal Busco was never going to stop in the Balcatta goal.
After having a goal disallowed, Balcatta levelled matters on 19 minutes with another superb strike which felt into the top of the net.
In stoppage time at the end of the first half, Subi regained the lead. Ylias’ throw on the left allowed De Vanna to get free along the wing and fire in a dangerous cross which Dal Busco palmed away, but the ball was returned to the mix for Ingrid Gomez Basallo to steer home.
Subiaco sealed the win nine minutes into the second period. A long ball released De Vanna who showed that she still has a good turn of pace to spin away from a Balcatta player, run towards the box, and slot under Dal Busco to make it 3-1.
This victory extends Subiaco’s record-breaking number of wins for a season to four, and points tally to 15. They are now looking up the table for a best-ever placing in the top six this season.
|Fremantle City||17||8||4||5||39||27||28||+ 12|
|Murdoch University Melville||17||7||3||7||22||19||24||+3|
Round 18 Fixtures: Fremantle City v Perth SC, Curtin University v Murdoch University Melville, Perth RedStar v Subiaco, Hyundai NTC v Balcatta Etna.