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 (17/8/22).
Above: Box Hill United (blue) look to get away against FV Emerging. Photo: Passion Creations.
Football Victoria’s Youngsters Emerge as Finals Contenders
Box Hill United 1-3 FV Emerging
A thrilling first half between Box Hill United and FV Emerging was the highlight of the week in the NPLW Victoria.
A fourth-place finish was within grasp for both sides before the match, and Box Hill started the brightest.
Sofia Sakalis opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Melinda Barbieri played her into space and Box Hill’s leading scorer added her eighth goal of the season with a stunning effort.
The FV Emerging defence gave Sakalis only the smallest opportunity but the Perth Glory attacker turned and struck a dipping shot from 18 yards into the net.
The lead lasted only seven minutes. Although the pitch was almost dangerously bumpy, both teams were playing fast-paced football. Sakalis, Barbieri, and Anais Josefski menaced the FV Emerging defence at one end, while Caitlin Karic created chances for the visitors.
Karic tried her luck from long range with an effort that brought a good save out of Gidari in the Box Hill goals. Then Silver Bell Morris leveled the scores.
The FV Emerging defender rose highest to meet the corner kick at the back post. She was unopposed but still directed it with power. The game was not yet 15 minutes old, but we had been treated by two expertly taken goals.
Box Hill almost hit back after Sakalis played Guila Mazzeo behind the defence. Emma Olsen saved Emerging by coming off her line immediately to smother the danger.
The ever-dangerous Sakalis almost earned her side a penalty when her footwork resulted in a free-kick in a promising position. The referee judged that it had taken place on the edge of the box and Barbieri’s free kick bounced off the wall.
The momentum of the game started to shift towards FV Emerging. Emma Langley made a perfectly timed intervention for Box Hill to stop Candice Kilderry adding to her impressive haul this season.
Kilderry was involved in Emerging’s second goal. After almost making contact with a cross from the right, she chased the ball down, kept it in play, and got it back to her teammate.
Sarah Cain played a quick decisive pass into the penalty box, where Karic made room for herself before prodding it beyond Sienna Gidari to make it 2-1.
As half time approached with the game still tightly contested, Emerging scored the fourth and final goal of the game.
Another corner kick was Box Hill’s undoing. The ball in was only partially cleared, and Isabella Accardo smashed in a half volley with make it 3-1 with almost the last kick of the half.
Despite the admirable and entertaining efforts of both sides in rough conditions, neither could add to the score line in the second half.
The win means that FV Emerging jumped over Alamein into fourth space. With two games left to play, Alamein could yet make the finals. They only lag by one point, and play bottom-placed Bayside next week.
FV Emerging have a tougher test against Bulleen, but the third-placed side has already locked away their ladder position and it is not an unwinnable game.
Teams: BOX HILL UNITED: Gidari, (Hudson 61’), Hall, Kos, Pickett (Zikas 83’), Langley, Josefski, Schaddee Van Dooren, Mazzeo (Petkaris 61’), Mackie, Barbieri (Hilton 90’), Sakalis.
Scorer: Sakalis 7.
FV EMERGING: Olsen, Morris, Richards, Sewards, Curtis, Kilderry, Brown (Dovaston 70), Cain, Accardo (Cortellino 81’), Bulic, Karic (Vlaeminck 70’)
Scorers: Morris 14’, Karic 37’, Accardo 45’.
Referee: James Langoya.
Round 19 Wrap:
In the other games of the round, Heidelberg United travelled to beat South Melbourne 4-0. Danielle Wise continued her dominant season with another brace. Keeley Lockhart added another and Holly Murray conceded an own goal for South.
Nike FC Cup winners Calder United also won 4-0 over Bayside United. Raquel Deralas, Melissa Taranto, and Emma Robers got the goals. Sienna Fogarty conceded an own goal for the home side.
On Monday night, Bulleen Lions secured a top-four finish with a 1-1 draw with Alamein. Elaina Vatcky scored the equalizer for Alamein but Bulleen opened the scoring with a goal of the season contender.
Aroha Little received the ball 20 yards from goal and hit a shot that defied physics. It seemed to go high into the air before taking a sharp dip into the net. It was a sensational way to score and another in a long list of highlights for Bulleen this season.
Two games remain. The title chase is still not over and the race for fourth spot is more exciting than ever.