West Canberra Wanderers brilliantly resisted a late surge from Belconnen United to post the standout result of Round 7 as the Women’s NPL reached the one-third stage of the season.
It took the hosts fifteen minutes to slip into gear and striker Hattie Cram was involved in both goals. She first took advantage of a slip in the Blue Devils’ defence and used her speed to get to the ball faster than Jayla Murphy and lob the keeper.
Ten minutes later, Cram again was found behind the defence, and again out-paced Murphy but this time crossed her ball to find Ginger Oliver alone at the far post.
Belconnen pushed to answer as quick as possible and relied on their experienced full back and set piece taker, Leah Carnegie to do so. The defender sneaking in a free kick from the right between Sam Briggs’ post and crossbar.
Unfortunately, from there on, it would be a frustrating afternoon for the Blue Devils. Unable to put the Wanderers defence off-balance, unable to really trouble Briggs in dangerous situation, Belconnen looked for an equaliser but never found it.
In the Riverina, the Wagga City Wanderers were outdone by Tuggeranong United, in the duel between 2 teams looking for their win of the season with the away team running out winners 5-0 thanks, in main to a nine-minute four-goal burst either side of the break.
The visitors were off to a strong start and less than three minutes in, Zoe Terry’s cross was perfectly met by Karen Milewska ahead of Ebony Warner for the first goal. The confirmation of the good things we have seen a couple of weeks back from the Tuggies did not take long to come.
In the last five minutes of the 1st half, Tuggeranong scored three times to take an advantage Wagga could not overturn. Lauren Hall first stole the ball in the feet of Warner to score in the empty goal, before Samantha Wood scored the goal of the game, a long-range effort that took a dive just under Warner’s crossbar.
The 4th goal for Tuggeranong was unfortunately the work of Wanderer Zoe Jenkins. In attempting to clear a free kick, the defender volleyed the ball into her own net.
The little bit of faith the Wanderers had of coming back on the pitch was blown away when Hall, again, was able to arm a shot and wrong foot Warner from within the box. The home side weren’t without chances and could have scored three or four of their own but for the brilliance of Sammie Emms in the United goal.
Gungahlin United hosted Canberra Croatia at Gungahlin Enclosed and the strong start of the visitors proved too much for the home team to overcome. Four minutes into the game, two of the best midfielders of the competition combined to punish the Gunners.
Krista Hagen’s perfect ball found Jenny Bisset in the box, and Croatia’s number 10 showcased all her composure to beat Kailey Tonini from close range. The goal of the weekend came next, again from Bisset 15 minutes later, after a corner kick not cleared by the Gungahlin’s defence. Bisset, at the edge of the box, volleyed a missile in the top corner, leaving Tonini no chance.
The visitors kept pushing to try and get a comfortable advantage but were unable to score a third goal. Instead, the Gunners found an opening, when Ella Brown’s free kick found her captain Maddie Perceval at the far post. The centre back’s header was saved by Angelica Pahina first, but Perceval was the fastest to the ball and tapped it in the net.
The final game of the round was at Hawker between Canberra United Academy and Canberra Olympic, and despite a very entertaining game of football, the visitor took the three points, and recorded a clean sheet on the synthetic with a three-goal win.
It took Nicole Begg’s players less than 10 minutes to score, when Ashleigh Sykes, in stellar form, ran the left wing before finding Vanessa Ryan at far post. The former Croatia winger just had to tap in the ball in the empty net and did not miss the opportunity.
After 15 minutes dominated by Olympic, the Academy slowly woke up and intensified their pressing and the speed of their build-up play. The rest of the first saw them showing more intent and ability to create danger than their visitors, without unfortunately troubling Janet King.
Back from the locker room, Sykes and her teammates knew what to do to avoid a complicated 2nd half: come out all guns blazing and strike quick. Dour minutes was all it took for Victoria Jamieson to make a run on the left wing. Her cross was tapped in her own goals by Eliza-Jane Norris, under Olympic pressure, for the 2nd goal of the game.
The third did not take long to arrive, with Ryan completing her brace after a scramble in the box. The Academy was not able to reiterate their performance of the first half, allowing the visitors to manage their advantage and let the clock run down.
Sunday 22 May
West Canberra Wanderers 2 (Cram 4’, Oliver 16’) Belconnen United 1 (Carnegie 24’)
Wagga City Wanderers 0 Tuggeranong United 5 (Milewska 3’, Hall 40’, 49’, Wood 44’, Jenkins 45’ (og))
Gungahlin United 1 (Perceval 68’) Canberra Croatia 2 (Bisset 5’, 21’)
Canberra United Academy 0 Canberra Olympic 3 (Ryan 8’, 51’, Norris 48’ (og))
|3||West Canberra Wanderers||7||5||0||2||-2||15|
|5||Canberra United Academy||6||2||0||4||-3||6|
|8||Wagga City Wanderers||7||0||0||7||-53||0|
Words: Jeremy Magan