The round kicked off on Friday evening at Murdoch University, where league leaders MUM FC played host to Curtin University.
MUM FC took the lead in the 6th minute when a long ball out by Sadie Lawrence released the league’s leading goal scorer and Perth Glory player Katarina Jukic. She outpaced and outmuscled her opponent and smashed her shot from just inside the box past Curtin keeper and fellow Glory squad member Stacey Cavill to make it 1-0. Moving the ball well on the artificial surface, MUM doubled their lead in the 25th minute when another long ball caught the Curtin defence square. Veteran Stacey Learmont used her strength and speed to break free before crossing for Elli La Monte to score her 4th of the campaign. The rest of the half was pretty much one-way traffic, but MUM failed to add to their score going into the break.
A third goal was added in the 56th minute when Jaymee Gibbons played a ball into the box that was not well handled by the Curtin defence. Learmont pounced on the mistake and put the ball past Cavill to make it 3-0. With the game basically dead and buried, it was only a case of how many MUM would score. They added their fourth in the 70th minute when yet another long clearance by MUM was not dealt with by Curtin. The dangerous Jukic got to the ball first and there was only ever going to be one outcome as she bore down on goal and slotted it away for her second of the game and seventh of the season. There was still time for two more goals for MUM, with Learmont and La Monte scoring in the 80th and 87th minute.
Sunday’s action started at Dorrien Gardens. Perth SC were looking to bounce back after their first defeat last Sunday and Subiaco were buoyed by their first points of the season against Hyundai NTC in a shock draw.
Much of the first half was played in the Subiaco half, and they employed a low defensive block to hold off the Azzurri. Despite the best efforts of ex-Matilda Nicola Bolger, Melissa Shepherd and Abbey Meakins, Subiaco were able to go in at half time with a 0-0 score. There were still some anxious moments though, not the least of which was in the 5th minute when Shepherd hit the bar following a punched clearance from Marissa Pidgeon in the Subiaco goal, which found her unmarked on the edge of the box.
The second half started in much the same vein, with Perth enjoying the lion’s share of possession, but they nearly went behind in the 51st minute when a long defensive clearance by Subiaco found their captain Jennifer Walsh. She muscled her way past her marker but her shot was well saved by Becky Bennett in the Perth goal. Perth’s dominance finally paid dividends in the 65th minute when Meakins was fed into the box by Bolger. She still had some work to do, but a neat turn put her clear and her left-footed shot from the right-hand side of the box beat Pidgeon on her near post to make it 1-0. One minute later they doubled their lead when some slick passing found Emily Henderson wide on the left. Her cross was met by skipper Jaime Duncanson to make it 2-0 and effectively kill the game off. Perth put the icing on the cake with a fine second goal from Meakins in injury time.
WINNERS! 🎉🎉Our senior women's team have continued the great form early in the season and run away 3-0 winners over…
A local derby took place at Grindleford Reserve as Balcatta welcomed close neighbours and old rivals, Northern Redbacks. Before the game, the two sides occupied 3rd and 2nd respectively so it was highly unlikely that this was going to be a free-flowing game. This proved to be the case with neither side really dominating the other in the opening exchanges.
As the half wore on though, Redbacks slowly began to gain the upper hand and they missed a good chance to take the lead in the 24th minute when ex-Matilda and Perth Glory player Kim Carroll played in Sophia Neal down the right-hand flank. Her cross to the middle of the box picked out ex-Kiwi International Renee Leota, but she got under the ball and sent it over the bar. A nasty collision in the 33rd minute between Redbacks keeper Morgan Aquino and Balcatta’s Christiane Astorp then resulted in Aquino requiring nearly 10 minutes of treatment for a leg injury. Given the extent of the injury, it was no surprise that the Young Matildas stopper took no further part in the game, Leota pulling on the gloves for the 2nd half.
The opening goal was nearly claimed by Balcatta in the 55th minute when Bronwyn Studman had her pocket picked by Perth Glory striker Caitlin Doeglas. She drove into the box and hit a fierce shot across the goal which Leota did well to parry out. The ball dropped to the feet of Ashleigh Panaia but she wasn’t quite balanced and her shot went over the bar. Redbacks then took the lead in the 58th minute when a corner found its way to Sarah Carroll at the top of the box who lashed her shot in to make it 1-0. It looked like the points were going to Redbacks, but Balcatta fought back strongly and scored a deserving equaliser when Doeglas picked up a deflected cross at the top of the box and drove the ball home to make it 1-1.
The final game of the round produced the performance of the weekend when the Hyundai NTC travelled to Fremantle. Both sides were smarting from the results of the previous week, with NTC surprisingly dropping points against Subiaco and Fremantle coming away with nothing against Redbacks, despite dominating that game for long periods of time.
What happened next was sensational, as the young NTC team simply tore their older opponents to shreds with a first-class display of team pressing and superb ball retention. From the kick-off, Fremantle struggled to win clean possession and NTC deservedly took an early lead in the 3rd minute. The impressive Hana Lowry won the ball in the Freo half and fed Abbey Green on the left flank. Her switch of play caught the Freo defence out and allowed Kate Armstrong to burst into the box and drill a ball past Dayle Schroeder to make it 1-0. Four minutes later the lead was doubled when Lowry and Green again combined, switching the play from left to right to find Tijan McKenna. She fed Armstrong whose cross was turned in by Judy Connolly. Freo was looking shell shocked by this stage, but gradually worked back into the game and forced two smart saves from Junior Matildas keeper Miranda Templeman in the NTC goal.
Any sniff of a comeback was extinguished in the 35th minute when Armstrong won the ball and fed in Taneesha Baker, who pulled the ball back to Connolly to finish from just outside the box, making it 3-0. The game was then well and truly put to bed by NTC when they were awarded a penalty in the 42nd minute, after Freo keeper Schroeder bundled over Leticia McKenna in the box, earning a yellow card in the process. The younger of the McKenna sisters, Tijan put the spot-kick away to make it 4-0 at the break.
To their credit, Fremantle came out in the second half to try and make a game of it and they scored a goal in the 59th minute when Mikayla Lyons rounded Templeman to score into an empty net. NTC wasn’t finished though and restored their 4 goal lead in the 62nd minute through Green, as she was left totally unmarked about 8 yards out in the middle of the box to stroke the ball home. The final goal arrived in the 73rd minute and Lowry was again involved. She played a neat one-two with Leticia McKenna and then fed in Monique Prinsloo who was unmarked at the edge of the box. She had time to take a couple of touches before setting herself to shoot low and beat Schroeder, making the final score 6-1 and capping off a superb performance.
Goal highlights from Round Four of the NPLWA Women’s competition.Balcatta FC Curtin University Football Club Fremantle…
Round 5 Fixtures (31st July, 1st Aug & 2nd Aug)
Subiaco vs Fremantle City (31st July)
Curtin University vs Perth (1st August)
Football West Hyundai NTC vs Balcatta (2nd August)
Northern Redbacks vs Murdoch University Melville (2nd August)