By Kieran Yap (14/4/23)
Above: FV Emerging in possession at Box Hill United. Photo: Passion Creations.
Round Five of Victoria’s NPLW saw FV Emerging record an impressive win, while two of the form sides this season clashed at Olympic Village. Preston Lions continued their strong start to the season, while Bayside United stumbled against South Melbourne.
Box Hill United 2-5 FV Emerging
The first game of the round was a goal fest between two of the league’s most exciting teams. Box Hill United may be in 10th place after this round, but have scored 11 times in the first five games. FV Emerging are not far behind with 10.
The resurgence of the Football Victoria development team continued in this match. Since losing 6-1 to South Melbourne in round two, they have rapidly improved.
Box Hill United started the stronger of the sides on Friday night, but it was FV Emerging who struck first. A throw-in looked to be no threat to the home side, but a slick passing move found Candice Kilderry who worked her way into space and remained more composed than the goalkeeper to tap into an empty net in the 12th minute.
Box Hill responded almost straight from the kick-off. The pace of Anais Josefski is an ever-present threat and she earned the home side a corner that was finished from point-blank range by Sienna Techera.
Parity only lasted another 10 minutes. A half chance fell to Emily Keppens who struck without hesitation from the edge of the box to make it 2-1 for FV Emerging
Alana Cortellino was a constant menace for FV Emerging. Her trickery on the right flank earned a corner for the visitors. Mila Bulic met the delivery with a bullet header into the ground and over the line.
Box Hill returned fire before halftime. Techera was again involved as she has been for most of Box Hill United’s best moves this season. After receiving the ball wide, the prodigious playmaker held up the ball and delivered a perfect cross for Asuka Doi to score with an unstoppable header.
FV Emerging started the second half as they did the first. It was Cortellino’s time to get on the scoresheet herself and her composed finish made it 4-2 in the 47th minute.
Anika Doveston’s skilful run and cut back across goal created Emerging’s fifth of the night. Carina Rossi was well-positioned and only had to tap the ball home to seal the points for the visitors.
South Melbourne 2-1 Bayside United
A Tayla Christensen brace was enough for South Melbourne to overcome Bayside United. The visitors are a vastly improved side since last season and proved a difficult opponent for the traditional giants of the league.
Christensen’s first goal came in the seventh minute. A long ball forward was crossed in from the left by Danielle Wise. The ball evaded both defenders and fell to the edge of the box. Christensen was unmarked but still had to finish beyond two Bayside players and the goalkeeper. She did so with a low hard shot across goal to open the scoring.
Bayside levelled the scores soon after. Kayla Deaver read a speculative cross best at the back post and tucked away the equaliser for the visitors.
Christensen’s eventual winner arrived before halftime. Akeisha Sandhu’s throw-in found Christensen with her back to goal and closely marked. A quick turn beat the first defender, a change of pace took care of the second. Then a wonderful finish into the roof of the net put South back in the lead. they would maintain that through the second half to climb to fifth on the ladder.
Calder United 2-1 Southern United
Calder United have had a slower start to the season than 2022’s treble winners are used to. But they got back to winning ways against Southern United through Fiorina Iaria and Lucy Richards.
They would suffer a scare first. Jade Tam’s long-range free-kick found the back of the net from almost 40 yards. It was a spectacular effort, but Lara El-Hayek in goal was well positioned and would have expected to save it. The power and trajectory were a shock to all who saw it.
It took Calder until the second half to equalise. They grew into the game and Iaria’s finish was bullet-like from the edge of the box. She showed no hesitation and struck as soon as she found space behind the Southern United defence.
The winning goal arrived late. A corner kick to Calder caused panic in the six-yard box before Richards eventually thrashed the ball home. Elle Talevski looked to be a casualty of the win. She stayed down amid the celebrations and required treatment in the closing minutes.
Boroondara-Carey Eagles 1-4 Preston Lions
Two of the league’s newcomers met as the high-flying clubs vied for top spot on the ladder. The Lions ran out winners with two goals either side of halftime in a consistent attacking display.
Miri Nishimura set up the opening goal. Her corner kick was whipped in at the near post and Delaney Lindahl rose highest to flick it into the net.
Rachel Stirton extended the lead. She outpaced the Boroondara defenders and raced into space to flick the ball beyond the goalkeeper with a well-placed first-time shot.
The Eagles found a lifeline when Kurea Okino earned herself a penalty. The ever-dangerous Japanese striker has been a handful for defenders this season and her headed control took the ball beyond her marker who blocked her path. The referee pointed to the spot and Okino converted the penalty herself.
The comeback would not eventuate for Boroondara-Carey. Nishimura and Melanie Camilleri scored twice in the second half to complete a convincing win and launch The Eagles into first spot on the ladder.
Heidelberg United 0-0 Alamein FC
That this game ended up scoreless would be a surprise to most neutral observers. Both sides are in strong form, while Heidelberg are still building and remain in the top three, Alamein got their season off to a stronger start but have now failed to score in the last two games.
A red card to Karina Tolios in the 51st minute meant that Heidelberg had to hold on with 10 players. With usual goalkeeper Melissa Maizels on duty with Melbourne Victory’s semi final coaching team, this was a good draw for the Bergers, but they will have expected more, such are the standards set by Johnno Clemente last season.
Alamein will need to rebound and rediscover their goal-scoring form. They host FV Emerging next week, who are high on confidence and will provide a strong test.