NPLW Victoria Round 10
By Kieran Yap (22/5/23)
Above: Danielle Wise scores for South Melbourne against Southern United. Photo: Passion Creations.
Box Hill United recorded their second win of the season, Danielle Wise continued to find the net, and another Matilda joined the league in Round 10 of the Victorian NPLW.
Bulleen Lions 1-1 Calder United
Saturday night’s game headlined the week’s matches. This was the first meeting of the two clubs since last season’s Grand Final, and both teams looked slightly different.
Calder United dominated on the final day of last season but were missing many of the stars who lifted the trophy in 2022. Alana Cerne will return and is currently away with the Australian Under 23s. The Taranto twins are expected to enjoy a rest during the A-League off-season, but Raquel Derales started up front for Calder United.
Bulleen started with numerous A-League stars in the line-up. Paige Zois returned to the first 11, and in a surprise to many, was joined by fellow Melbourne Victory star and capped Matilda Beattie Goad.
It was a special occasion for The Lions. Pre-match they celebrated the 100th appearances of Alex Natoli and Emily Shields. The pair were presented to applause before taking their places on the pitch. It was a wonderful moment for two servants and stars of the club.
Bulleen started stronger. With Maja Markovski and Alana Jancevski in attack, they looked dangerous, while Goad’s dribbling was menacing, direct, and unpredictable.
Despite this, Calder scored the opening goal. They pressed well in attack, forcing Shields into a hasty clearance. The ball was worked back into the box and eventually fell to Ava Groba on the edge of the area. Her first-time effort squirmed past Shields to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
It took until the 70th minute to find a deserved equaliser. Zois and Tiffany Eliadis combined to provide Jancevski with half an opportunity in front of goal. That is all the Perth Glory star needs, and her well-placed effort bounced in off the left-hand post. Bulleen had control of most of the game and almost got the win through Eliadis on two occasions. Both times, Natalie Picak denied her with strong close-range saves.
The balance for both these sides now is to reintegrate their top tier talent while maintaining the chemistry built over the first 10 weeks.
For Calder, Groba and Bella Sewards were both excellent and looked beyond comfortable against their highly decorated opposition. Bulleen played some sparkling football and were unlucky not to finish with three points. The draw leaves Calder in eighth place, but only goal difference is keeping Bulleen out of the top four.
Preston Lions 0-1 Bayside United
Bayside United’s strong form continued with a win away to Preston Lions. It only took one goal to settle the result, but what a goal it was!
After regaining possession at the halfway line, a series of quick passes resulted in Julia Budiongo slipping the ball wide to Kayla Deaver.
The angle and distance was more suited for a cross, but Deaver caught everybody by surprise with an incredible strike that flew into the top corner. Preston had chances, but Bayside United are finding ways to get draws from losing position and wins from tough contests.
The win, keeps them in the top four, with a stronger goal difference than Bulleen. The fixtures do not get easier next week for either side. Bayside will head west to face Calder United, while Preston will travel to meet a Box Hill United side that has just found form.
Alamein 0-3 Box Hill United
Box Hill United have been fun to watch this season, they have some exciting attackers and are a hard side to keep a clean sheet against. Highlights do not automatically equal points though, and they have found wins hard to come by in the first nine weeks of this season.
Alamein have started the season strong and came into this round in second place on the ladder. They would have been confident of a win against the second-bottom side in the league, but Box Hill had a couple of aces back in their deck.
Sofia Sakalis and Melinda J Barbieri formed a brilliant playmaking duo last season and returned to the club for Round 10. In the 24th minute, Barbieri showed her class to give her side the lead.
From a Box Hill throw-in, the ball bounced off Anais Joesfi and Sakalis outside of the area. The onrushing Barbieri met it on the full and volleyed home an incredible opening goal for the match and her 2023 campaign.
Sakalis doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 38th minute. She had earned the spot kick herself after turning cleverly on a loose ball and being clipped from behind. It was clever movement from the playmaker, she would have either spun into space or drawn the foul. Alamein found the penalty to be dubious, but it was the sort of attacking craft that Box Hill have been needing this season.
The third goal came from a familiar source. Anais Josefski broke through after a pass from Asuka Doi and raced close to goal before firing home the sealer in the 82nd minute.
The result saw Alamein slip to third place, but It was an impressive display from Box Hill United who showed that they have the talent the change the narrative of their season.
Boroondara-Carey Eagles 3-2 FV Emerging
Margot Robbine’s hattrick kept Boroondara ontop of the table despite an exciting challenge by FV Emerging.
The youngsters from the state NTC were impressive in the first half and looked threatening whenever they went into attack. Borooondara have been the league’s in-form team, but they can be scored against and Emerging were looking to test them at every opportunity.
It was the speed of winger Alana Cortellino that create the opening goal in the shadows of halftime. A long ball forward broke for Cortellino who took an extra touch into space before laying it on a platter for Emily Keppens to tap home with composure.
The goal boosted Emerging’s confidence, but sparked Boroondara into action. Minutes after conceding, The Eagles had a stunning equaliser.
After rolling her marker Robbine cut inside and from long range fired a shot that looked almost unsavable. The French attacker had looked to be injured earlier in the half but showed no signs of a complaint, her pace opened up the space and her technique did the rest.
Kurea Okino came close to taking the lead for Boroondara in the opening minutes of the second half. She found space in the box and controlled a bouncing cross before lifting the ball just over the crossbar.
It was Emerging who struck next. Carina Rossi’s through ball put Keppens into space and her calmness in front of goal was on display again. She slid the ball home to regain the lead for the visitors in the 51st minute.
An unfortunate attempt to play the ball out from defence gifted Robbine with her second. She intercepted the ball 20 yards from goal and burst through to finish from close range. Emerging were playing positive football, but as Heidelberg United discovered, Boroondara show no mercy from even the slightest chance.
Okini did not add to her 14 goals so far this season but did set up a 71st-minute winner and Robbine’s third of the night.
Okino’s persistence won the ball in attack, and she raced along the by-line before whipping it across goal for Robbine to score into an empty net.
Boroondara’s reign at the top of the league continues. They are winning close contests and creating their own luck. Weeks ago, they had looked slightly one-dimensional with Okino in dominant form, now they have Robbine alongside her and few teams have the pace and tenacity to match both.
South Melbourne 2-0 Southern United
South Melbourne climbed to second on the ladder after a convincing win over Southern United.
Francesca Iermao made her first start for the season after a campaign with Western United. New signing Meisha Westland started for the second time in midfield.
The winger had been deployed mostly as a fullback during the A-League season but sent a reminder of what she can do in attack with the opening goal of the game.
Sophie Papatsanis and Dragana Kljajic combined to feed Iermano and she rifled home her effort from 18 yards to give South Melbourne 17th minute lead.
Danielle Wise gave the home side a two-goal cushion in the second half. A sweeping move from defence found Tayla Christensen on the wing. She played in a low, aggressive cross into the box and Wise accelerated with perfect timing to meet the ball and tap it beyond the keeper.
The two goals were enough and South Melbourne looked in control for much of this game. Westland has adapted instantly, Iermano has lost none of the magic, and Wise is in the same electric form that she was for Heidelberg last season.
There is plenty of football left to play, but South Melbourne continue to grow into the season from an increasingly strong position.