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 (3/8/22).
Above: Alana Jancevski (left) and Lia Privitelli show their joy after Bulleen’s 4-0 win at Bayside United. Photo: Bulleen Lions.
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Bayside United 0-4 Bulleen Lions
Round 18 of Victoria’s NPLW was a goal fest. There were 19 goals over the four games and some surprising results. But through all the incredible attacking power on display, there was no better finishing than in Bulleen’s 4-0 win over Bayside United.
Bulleen’s third place position on the ladder was comfortable but not quite safe. Caitlin Friend’s team were missing Paige Zois who had been called up for Young Matildas duty and star defender Rebekah Stott had announced her return to the WSL with Brighton and Hove Albion.
These are two great testaments to the talent and form at Bulleen but does them no favours on match day. After losing 3-0 to Calder United last week, they needed a win to return some confidence to their position.
Bayside offered a good opportunity. The bottom-placed team are not as poor as some of their worst results suggest and have been competitive when they play to their strengths. Up against Bulleen’s sparkling attack, they were in for a tough afternoon.
The Lions were on the front foot from the kick-off, and in the 23rd minute, Alana Burn had the first of the game. A cross from Lia Privitelli on the left wing was cleared but fell to Burn around 20 yards from goal. The bayside defenders pushed out quickly to prevent another cross, but Burn took aim and fired a long-range, lofted effort into the net.
The second goal came in the 30th minute. Bayside’s attack was cut off by Tyla-Jay Vlajnic, who played it quickly to Privitelli. The captain had her back to the defender when she received the ball, but broke open the play with a good turn and strong run into the box.
She cut the ball back to Alana Jancevski, who was under pressure when she hit the first time shot. Her direction and connection was good enough to loop over the goalkeeper and make it 2-0.
Jancevski had been in strong form this season. She does not seem to hesitate in front of goal, similarly to her debut goal for Perth Glory in last season’s A-League Women’s she was able to catch the defender and goalkeeper by surprise for her seventh of the season.
Vlajnic scored one of her own in the second half, and it might be one of the best strikes you will see in Australia for all of 2022.
It is an easy goal to describe, but nearly impossible to do justice to with words. A Bulleen throw-in was played back to Vlajnic. The fullback is known for her incisive passing and good crossing, but she pulled off something truly special in the 70th minute.
After controlling the bouncing ball on her thigh, she hit a high, dipping shot with the outside of her left foot. It was the lowest percentage option, but Vlajnic executed the highest level of skill. The ball bounced into the goal off the far post and Bulleen were 3-0 up in incredible fashion.
In the 90th minute, The Lions put the icing on the cake. Jancevski was allowed space to turn and pick out a pass in the middle of the park. She played a through ball into the path of Simone Vass, but Bayside keeper Lauren Farrugia was out off her line and able to block the shot.
Aleena Gutszmit was on hand for the composed finish from the rebound. It was her first goal in just her second appearance and a wonderful ending to Bulleen’s afternoon.
Teams: BAYSIDE UNITED: Farrugia (Quinn 81′), Budiongo, Baker, Anvari (Dimas 84′), Cain-Edwards, Fogarty, Galletti, Kiousis (Susser 75′), Mclure, Parker (Gaudry 84′), Shearing, Sousa.
BULLEEN LIONS: Shields, Burn (Griss 83′), Dolzan, Jancevski, Little, Johnson, O’Bryan, Oruc, Privitelli (Vass 83′), Rodger, Sernio, Tevere, Vlajnic, (Vlajnic 88′).
Scorers: Burn 23’, Jancevski 30’, Vlajnic 70’, Gutszmit 90’.
Referee: John White.
Round 18 Wrap
In other matches, Heidelberg United faced Calder United for the third time this season. The top-of-the-table clash was predictably dramatic. Kathryn Vlahopoulos’s penalty kick sent Heidelberg into the halftime break with a one-nil lead, but a strong second half from Calder saw them run out 2-1 winners. Alana Cerne levelled the scores for Calder, before Emma Robers scored a spectacular last-minute winner.
In any other week, Robers goal would have been the best of the round. Her volley from the edge of the box was perfectly hit and practically unsavable. It was always going to take something special to separate these sides.
Alamein and Box Hill United scored two goals each in an entertaining draw. Sofia Sakalis opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but Sidney Allen equalised almost straight away for Alamein.
Anais Josefski’s effort re-took the lead for Box Hill, but they were denied all three points by Nia Stamatopoulos’ in the 82nd minute.
In the surprise result of the round, FV Emerging defeated South Melbourne 6-2 after a stunning second half.
An own goal and a strike from Akeisha Sandhu meant that South Melbourne went into the break 2-1 up. Anika Dovaston’s goal for FV Emerging had them in the game, but few would have predicted the second-half onslaught.
Sarah Cain levelled the scores in the 48th minute, before Candice Kilderry and Caitlin Karic added to FV Emerging’s tally. Cain and Karic both brought up their braces in a terrific performance by the young side.
South Melbourne were missing Claudia Mihocic from the defence and may have had their focus on the upcoming Nike FC Cup, but this was a stunning display by some of Victoria’s most promising rising stars.
Karic was exceptional with Australia’s Under 23’s recently, and Kilderry has five goals to her name this season. She is an attacker with a very composed finish and ability to time attacking runs perfectly.
Not much changes on the ladder. The top four remain fairly locked in, but FV Emerging could sneak into fourth spot if they win next week over Box Hill and Bulleen do them a favour against Alamein.
There are still three games remaining of the season, but Round 19 is shaping up to be a consequential one.