Ben Gilby provides his weekly round-up of all the action from the Western Australia NPL Women’s competition. As always there is an in-depth report from one game and a full wrap of all the other matches along with action shots from the games (23/8/22).
Above: Perth RedStar pictured with the NPLW WA championship trophy that they lifted on Sunday as they played their final home game of the regular season. Photo: Fotoenzo via Football West.
Perth SC 1-0 Subiaco
Perth SC controlled the vast majority of their encounter with hard-working Subiaco on Sunday afternoon, but needed a classy goal from Abbey Meakins with just over fifteen minutes to go in order to claim the points
The Azzurri‘s victory in a match that was switched from their Dorrien Gardens home to Balcatta’s Grindleford Reserve, guarantees them second spot in the final NPLW WA table going into the Top Four Cup barring a freakish set of results in next weekend’s final round of the regular season.
Perth SC were dominant from the start, looking comfortable in possession and out to impose their game on Subiaco at their own pace. They patiently probed, looking for the right moment to play through a killer pass. Yet it was a feature of the opening half that the final pass never quite materialised in the way that they would have liked.
Faye Phillips was the pick of the Azzurri crop in the first half, getting lots of possession on the right and looking to play in team-mates both on the inside and with crosses.
For all Perth’s possession, Subiaco, without Lisa De Vanna, were comfortable in defence and goalkeeper Zara Board had little to do. The Azzurri earned several three kicks in potentially dangerous positions but on each occasion, the visitors cleared without any problems.
As the half wore on, Subi began to earn more of the ball. Ingrid Gomez Basallo won possession along the left and got away, but none of her teammates made it into the box in time for the cross.
Perth may have had the possession, but a lack of creating a clear-cut chance almost came back to haunt them with eight minutes before the break. Frankie Murray got away along the right and played a ball in towards Marianna Tabain at the back post who had three bites at the cherry, but was repelled by Rebecca Bennett in the Perth goal and her defenders.
Subiaco were given time to play out from the back at their own pace and were rarely harried when they had the ball. Perth would need to tighten up in the second half and take their chances because the warning signs were there if they did not.
Whilst the opening to the second period was somewhat cagey, it exploded into life 10 minutes in when The Azzurri‘s Ella Lincoln let fly from outside the box and saw her shot cannon back off of the bar. It set the tone for another prolonged period of Perth control.
The introduction of Jessica Flannery from the bench added some pep to the Perth SC attack, and just after the hour mark, they momentarily thought they had gone ahead. Board’s goal-kick went straight to the home side’s Stella Zampogna who ran onto the ball and rolled it home before the assistant referee’s flag intervened.
With Jaime Duncanson also brought on by The Azzurri, the chances continued to come. Flannery, in from the left found Sophia Papalia inside, who in turn played in Duncanson who hit a shot that Board held.
Within three minutes, Perth finally hit the front. Board’s goal kick fell in the zone between her own penalty area and the halfway line. Abbey Meakins pounced on possession, advanced towards the box, and let fly with a superb lifted shot which landed in. It was a classy finish from one of the NPLW WA’s most classy players.
Subiaco were game opponents all afternoon long, further showing the advancements they have made this season, but the visitors were not able to fashion a response to Meakins’ goal.
Perth SC could have added to their tally with six minutes remaining when Duncanson pulled the ball across from the right for Flannery at the back post who hit a shot agonisingly wide.
It was an important three points for The Azzurri who have the squad to do real damage in the Top Four Cup, but they need to ensure that more of the chances they create are converted.
Teams: PERTH SC: Bennett, Harvey, Van Heurck, Zampogna, Phillips, Cook, Meakins, Lincoln, Papalia, Gibbons, Byrne. Substitutes: Spatafore, Duncanson, Flannery.
Scorers: Meakins 73′.
SUBIACO: Board, Winchcombe, Burgis, Ylias, Tabain, Murray, Mastrantonio, Bassett, Gomez Basallo, Gronewald Shield, Shepherd. Substitutes: Paul, Fyneman, Harding, Pidgeon.
Referee: Stephen Knight.
Round 20 Wrap:
The penultimate round of regular season action began on Friday night at Edinburgh Oval as Curtin University hosted a Hyundai NTC side who needed to return to winning ways to ensure their Top Four Cup qualification hopes remained realistic.
With Curtin struggling all season, and still looking for their first win of the campaign, the NTC got the all-important early lead. There were just 11 minutes on the clock when, as they like to do, the teenagers played out from the back and a superb weighted pass dissected the Curtin midfield to allow Louise Tana to get away and then play a low cross in from the right. The hosts had two chances to clear, failed, and Grace Johnston dispatched the ball into the net.
Curtin showed character, forcing corners and shots on target. They levelled the scores from the penalty spot eight minutes before the break with Taylor Reid rolling home coolly. The home side came agonisingly close to taking the lead not long after as Dakota Van-Vugt showed great fight in midfield to gain possession. Play eventually found its way out to Keilin Fagan on the right and she crashed in a shot from the edge of the box which hit the bar and bounced down on the wrong side of the line from Curtin’s perspective.
The NTC stepped it up after the break, but it took until the 72nd minute to turn their momentum into a lead on the scoreboard when Tanika Lala rose highest in the centre of the box to head home a lofted corner from the right.
The points were sealed four minutes later as Violet Longmore’s high ball in from the left was volleyed home at the far post superbly by Louise Tana.
With the NTC facing Fremantle City in their final game of the regular season next Sunday, the youngsters will go into the game knowing what they need to do in order to take that final Top Four Cup spot with their rivals for that place, Murdoch University Melville having played their last match two days previously against Perth SC.
Fremantle City completed a week of big victories against rivals for a place in the Top Four Cup as they saw off Balcatta Etna 4-0 in the Sunday afternoon sunshine at Hilton Park – a result that ends Balcatta’s dreams of qualification for the season-ending competition.
Freo won the rescheduled encounter against Murdoch University Melville 3-0 in midweek after the original match was abandoned last weekend after wild weather hit Besteam Stadium. This victory now confirms that the port city side will play in the Top Four Cup.
It took until five minutes before the interval for the first goal to arrive. Janice Kiama was on the left and found Kate Nolan who cut inside Elizabeth Doust and crossed for Jess Darmago to shoot. Balcatta keeper Gabby Dal Busco palmed the shot away across the box for Mikayla Lyons to follow up and score.
Within three minutes, Freo doubled their advantage with Kiama involved again on the left. This time, she spread play for Perth Glory captain Tash Rigby on the opposite flank. Rigby advanced and continued a move which led to a ball into the box which was squared for Darmago to sweep home.
The home side went 3-0 up 20 minutes from the end. A corner on the right came into the centre of the box for Kiama to head goalwards. Dal Busco repelled the danger initially, but the ball came back to Kiama to head home.
Fremantle City completed the scoring 10 minutes later as Rigby advanced down the right and played in Darmago at the far post to make it 4-0. After a tough run of results, Freo are finding form at the right time of the campaign.
In the final game of the weekend, Perth RedStar hosted Murdoch University Melville (MUM FC).
After going down 3-0 at home to Fremantle City in midweek, MUM FC knew that if they could become the first side to defeat RedStar this season, they would be in the driving seat for the remaining Top Four Cup place. However, with RedStar lifting the NPLW WA title on the day, it would take a supreme effort.
The hosts went ahead just over 10 minutes before the break as Jayna Ridley found Carla Bennett along the right. The RedStar legend played in Olivia Wood who curled a sensational cross-shot into the far corner of the net to continue her excellent recent scoring record.
RedStar opened the second half with four further shots on target, but it took until the 76th minute for them to double their lead. Bennett’s free kick out on the left, just in from the by-line came deep into the mix. Murdoch keeper Monique Todd couldn’t make contact and Renee Leota was on hand to score.
The points were wrapped up four minutes from time with an excellent move that saw Emily Dunn play in Shawn Billam who exchanged passes with Larissa Walsh before calmly slotting home.
|Murdoch University Melville||20||8||3||9||25||25||27||=|
ROUND 21 FIXTURES: Murdoch University Melville v Perth SC, Hyundai NTC v Fremantle City, Balcatta Etna v Perth RedStar, Subiaco v Curtin University.