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 (8/8/22).
Above: Hyundai NTC’s star from the Goldfields, Tanika Lala drives a shot in on goal yesterday. Photo: Ben Gilby
MAIN REPORT OF THE WEEK:
Hyundai NTC 3-1 Balcatta Etna
by Ben Gilby at E&D Litis Stadium
The NTC produced a performance of maturity that belied their tender years to come back from an early setback to earn a controlled victory over Balcatta Etna in a vital game in the Top Four Cup race.
It was the visitors who had the momentum from the start in sunny conditions at E&D Litis Stadium. Monique Prinsloo found Aaliyah Jorquera outside her on the right. The move ended with Monique D’Opera crossing the ball in towards Mia Yeo at the back post and referee Stephen Knight pointed to the spot adjudging there was an NTC hand on the ball as the move progressed.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Monique Godding stepped up, but Lilly Bailey saved well with her feet, however Knight ruled a retake for encroachment. It was second time lucky for Godding as she dispatched the spot kick into the left-hand side of the goal.
Jorquera and Elizabeth Doust caught the eye in the opening half with their busy nature; determined to run off the ball into channels and when in possession look to advance into the box.
However, when it comes to the NTC, there is always the threat of intricate passing moves with the magic wand of Grace Johnston and Louise Tana in addition to the outstanding young gun Tanika Lala. It was Lala who offered the first threat just before the 10-minute mark when she forced Gabby Dal Busco into a save in the Balcatta goal.
Within moments, Dal Busco was called into action again as Johnston released Lala and the visitors’ custodian got down well to push the ball out.
Balcatta threatened again as Yeo showed her quality with a fine through ball to release Monique Prinsloo who fired wide.
However, just before the half-hour mark, the NTC began to get on the front foot. Lala forced two saves from Dal Busco in quick succession, the second a superb tip over the ball.
Johnston curled the resulting corner in towards the back post where Violet Longmore headed home unmarked to level the scores.
The NTC continued to press, forcing back-to-back free-kicks on the right-hand side, but whilst there was no reward from these set-pieces, their increased territorial hold was marked just before the break with a second goal.
A game of head tennis centrally about 30 yards from goal ended with Sophie Meaden heading through to Lala who let fly from outside the box and the ball bounced in front of the diving Dal Busco and in.
The NTC continued their momentum in the second half. Their trademark passing movements began to find their mark more. Balcatta tried to play a disciplined defensive line. Lala found her way through but Jorquera covered well to crash the ball out of play.
Eight minutes in, and Lala was felled in the box. As referee Stephen Knight pointed to the spot, Balcatta claimed that the ball had been won, but there was no moving the official. Lala picked herself up and efficiently dispatched the ball into the right-hand corner.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between after that. Balcatta rolled the dice on the subs bench, but despite the injection of energy from Angelique Alberts, the visitors were not able to get a foothold back in the game and that is to the credit of NTC who remained exceptionally well organised at the back.
There was one further opportunity for Lala to complete her hat-trick but Dal Busco got down well at her near post to deny the star from the Goldfields.
This outcome gives the NTC a great chance of making the Top Four Cup – qualification is looking pretty congested, but if they can pick up a win at Subiaco next weekend, the youngsters will be hard to shift.
Conversely, for Balcatta, it is looking a real tough task to make it now. They have a strong squad who you feel are capable of great things – those good times may now have to wait for another year.
Teams: HYUNDAI NTC: Bailey, Thodlana, Johnston, Lala, Tana, Powell, Woolley, Harnwell, Vega Mena, Meaden, Longmore. Substitutes: Brooks, Cassidy, Richards.
Scorers: Longmore 29′. Lala 44′, (pen) 53′.
BALCATTA ETNA: Dal Busco, M.D’Opera, T.D’Opera, Godding, Jorquera, Prinsloo, Doust, Continibali, Cawley, Yeo, Bulgaru. Substitutes: Alberts, Engelbert, Gama, Noussent, Seerden.
Scorers: Godding (pen) 3′.
Referee: Stephen Knight.
Round 18 Wrap
Round 18 action started on Friday night with two matches. First, there was the vital second against third blockbuster at Wauhop Park saw Fremantle City host Perth SC.
Freo knew that a win would make them favourites to keep hold of second spot with only three weeks of the regular season remaining, and they made a fast start. With just a shade over 60 seconds on the clock, Perth SC keeper Rebecca Bennett repelled a shot with her feet, the attempted defensive clearance rebounded off a Fremantle player and rolled across the box for Jessica Darmago to fire home.
The Azzurri kept faith and with 23 minutes played were level. Jaymee Gibbons picked up possession in the middle, beat her marker, and played in Jaime Duncanson outside her. Perth’s deadly attacker took a touch, advanced into the box, and lifted the ball over advancing Freo goalkeeper Dayle Schroeder.
Fremantle hit back and forced three corners and as many shots on target before the interval, but could not make those chances count. How they would pay for that in the second half.
Perth SC were dominant from the start of the second period, scoring three times in the opening 13 minutes to seal the deal. First, Abbey Meakins ended a sweeping movement by hitting a shot from just over 20 yards which took a wicked deflection off a Freo player and pitched high before bouncing in front of a wrong-footed Schroeder and going in.
Within three minutes it was 3-1 to The Azzurri when Duncanson gained advantage from loose Fremantle play to set in motion a sweeping move which eventually saw Ella Lincoln found on the edge of the box on the right-hand side. The youngster took a touch, turned her marker and unleashed a confident shot across Schroeder and into the far corner of the net. It was great skill.
Just after the hour mark, Meakins grabbed her second from a free-kick around 20 yards out to the right of centre. Her shot bounced in front of the diving Schroeder and found the net. In the final minute, Stella Zampogna completed the scoring as she dispatched Jessica Flannery’s cross from the left into the net with some aplomb.
Perth SC are hitting top form at the right time of the season. Their last three games has seen them hit 15 goals, conceding just two. This period has also seen The Azzurri become the first team to avoid defeat to Perth RedStar.
Also on Friday night, Murdoch University Melville (MUM FC) continued their fine recent run with a 3-0 win at winless Curtin University.
The visitors were rampant from the start at Edinburgh Oval, forcing six corners in a 12-minute spell, but despite this, it took them until eight minutes before the break to hit the front. From a throw-in on the right-hand side, the ball was laid back to Perth Glory W-League player Sadie Lawrence who took a touch to roll away from a would-be marker just outside the box and then lash home a sensational finish into the top left-hand corner.
It became 2-0 20 minutes into the second period as Elysse Shore gathered possession on the left flank and fed Andrea Preiato who took a touch and lifted another brilliant finish high into the far corner of the net.
The scoring was completed a quarter of an hour before the end as Rachel Gilles stood over a free-kick, around 25 yards from goal, way out on the left touchline. Her shot was high towards goal, and Curtin keeper Gabriele Maluga could only help the ball into the net.
Murdoch University Melville’s latest success puts them just a single point behind third-placed Fremantle City – it makes the clash between the two sides next Saturday at 5pm all the more mouthwatering.
Perth RedStar may have wrapped up the NPLW WA title last weekend, but they are not going to step off the accelerator any time soon, seeing off previously in-form Subiaco 6-2 at RedStar Arena on Saturday evening.
The hosts were on the front foot from the start, racking up three corners in the opening period, so it was no shock when they went ahead with 11 minutes played as Jay Coleman played through an inch-perfect slide rule pass for Larissa Walsh to round Marissa Pidgeon and slot home from wide out to the right of the box.
RedStar doubled their lead after the 20-minute mark as Andreia Teixeira’s corner from the right was adjudged to have crossed the line with Coleman and Walsh in the mix close to the line. Credit to Subi though, as within two minutes they were back in the game when their first shot on target ended with a goal. Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna took the ball on the left flank and found Megan Shepherd before being fed once more and she curled in a shot from the far side which flew over Maya Diederichson in the RedStar goal. Some may claim this was a cross that got lucky – but this is De Vanna we’re talking about.
Back came RedStar and they re-established their two-goal cushion within four minutes. Kim Carroll in midfield fed Olivia Wood who let fly with a sensational curling shot from over 20 yards that rocketed into the top right-hand corner. The hosts hit their fourth just before the interval as Kim Carroll converted a penalty into the right-hand side of the net.
The first half yielded 10 shots on target and five corners for RedStar as well as a 4-1 lead. Subiaco had chances at the start of the second period and got a goal back 10 minutes in when Shepherd dispatched a penalty.
Perth RedStar had the final say with two further strikes. First, a sweeping move was ended by former Football Fern Renee Leota netting after she took the ball around Pidgeon and slid home. The scoring was completed two minutes from time when Walsh gained possession on the left flank and played in a perfectly weighted low ball for Quyen Doan to nod into an empty net.
|Murdoch University Melville||18||8||3||7||25||19||27||+6|
Round 19 Fixtures: Perth SC v Perth RedStar, Murdoch University Melville v Fremantle City, Balcatta Etna v Curtin University, Subiaco v Hyundai NTC.