Whilst the 1st round of the NPLW in WA threw up some surprises, this round provided fewer shocks and results tended to go the way of the form book.
At the end of the round, there are just two unbeaten teams and only one with a 100% record. Perth SC have so far proven to be the surprise package of the season, and whilst their win against fierce local rivals Balcatta SC was not entirely unexpected, there would have been very few pundits who would have had the Azzurri top of the table and unbeaten after two rounds.
The other unbeaten side, Football West Hyundai NTC, was tipped by a number of people to be contenders for the title and they were very impressive in their 4-3 victory over last seasons double champions Northern Redbacks.
The round kicked off at a sun-drenched Celebration Park, where NTC hosted Northern Redbacks. NTC was keen to avoid dropping more points after their opening round draw, whilst the visitors were looking to build on their impressive opening round win.
The game was tight for the first 20 minutes, before Young Matilda Leticia McKenna hit a delightful shot from the edge of the box into the top corner, beating fellow Young Matilda Morgan Aquino in the Redbacks goal. Redbacks goal machine Sarah Carroll then added her fifth of the campaign to equalise, before Junior Matilda Isabella Wallhead restored the lead for the NTC just before half time.
Almost immediately after the restart, Carroll had the chance to equalise from the spot, but she lifted her penalty over the bar. NTC then took a stranglehold on the game and scored two quick goals from yet another Young Matilda in Abbey Green. Redbacks pulled one back from skipper Shawn Billam and made the last two minutes very nervous for the youngsters when Jayna Ridley crashed one in from the edge of the box. The final result stood at 4-3 to NTC to put them second on the table.
At Subiaco, Murdoch University Melville was looking to put their opening round defeat behind them to kickstart their campaign. A hat-trick from Sadie Lawrence, a brace from Perth Glory striker Kat Jukic and a goal from Ellie La Monte ensured them the three points. Subiaco were sent to their second successive defeat, leaving them at the bottom of the table. The win puts MUM FC third on the ladder ahead of Fremantle and Redbacks on goal difference. Jukic now has four goals from two games in the race for the Golden Boot, putting her just behind Sarah Carroll who has five goals.
Fremantle City was another team looking to put their opening round defeat behind them, and they played host to Curtin University who arrived full of confidence after their draw in the first round against NTC. Fremantle was made to work hard by Curtin and they were held to just one goal at half time, scored by Georgie Ireland, who followed in after a free-kick from Mikayla Lyons hit the bar. The home team upped the tempo in the second half though, and Curtin couldn’t cope as Fremantle rattled in four more unanswered goals through Gemma Craine (2), Mikayla Lyons, and Perth Glory skipper Tash Rigby to claim the three points and move them into fourth on the ladder.
The game of the round was the local derby between Balcatta and Perth SC. With both teams recording wins in the opening round, there was more than just local pride at stake, as a win from either team would put them top of the league following the earlier defeat of Northern Redbacks.
Perth started the brightest of the two teams, and Balcatta keeper Gabby Dal Busco had to be alert to deny ex-Glory player Katie Holtham, but was unable to prevent Holtham from scoring in the 16th minute to give Perth the lead. Balcatta responded to going behind, with Glory striker Caitlin Doeglas often at the centre of things for them, and Perth keeper Beck Bennett had to work hard to prevent an equaliser before the break.
The second half started in much the same vein with Balcatta pressing for an equaliser, but substitute Abbey Meakins (on for Holtham) produced a contender for goal of the round when she hit a terrific right foot shot from outside the box, beating the despairing dive of Dal Busco to put the Azzurri 2-0 up. Balcatta then threw everything at Perth, and pulled one back through last week’s match-winner Christiane Astorp in the 77th minute, when she was played through by Doeglas to finish past Bennett. Despite more pressure, the hosts couldn’t find the equaliser and Perth ended up victorious and top of the table.
Football West Hyundai NTC 4 – 3 Northern Redbacks
Balcatta Football Club 1 -2 Perth Soccer Club
Subiaco AFC 0 – 6 Murdoch University Melville Football Club
Fremantle City 5 – 0 Curtin University Football Club
Round 3 Fixtures (18th and 19th July)
Curtin University Football Club vs Balcatta (18th July)
Perth Soccer Club vs Murdoch University Melville Football Club (18th July)
Northern Redbacks vs Fremantle City (19th July)
Subiaco vs Football West Hyundai NTC (19th July)