UC Stars had to come from 2-0 down to keep their title chase on course as they recovered from a two-goal deficit to inflict a third defeat of the season on ANU Apex, the Stars claiming the 4-2 success.
Apex, who hadn’t been in action since Round 2 due to a combination of factors, introduced Emily Jensen into their squad and her energetic, physical prowess and silky ball-skills added an extra dimension to the ANU performance.
With Maya Dodt back in goal, Sheridan McElligott was freed to cause havoc farther forward and it was McElligott who got the game’s first goal, in the fourteenth minute, finding a way past the reliable Vanessa Burdett, the Stars goalkeeper once more in belligerent mood making several fine saves.
But Burdett could do little as Apex went two ahead, McElligott finding Roxie Swart who fired the ball home for her second goal of the season. Just as it appeared as if Apex had the upper hand, the Stars hit back and, by the half-time break and levelled the match at 2-2 thanks to a debut goal from Cassia McGlashan and a thumping right-foot drive from Reilly Yuen.
With the scores level, the Stars emerged from the changing rooms with the bit between their teeth and took the lead when Eliza-Jane Norris struck for the fourth time in the CFL. And Norris secured the win with her second, a superb solo run and finish, that left the Apex too much to do.
West Canberra Lightning returned to the top of the league following the Stars short spell at the summit as they edged a cracking match with the South Canberra Swift 4-2 on Saturday evening.
The Swift got off to a flier and took the lead after only 31 seconds, their Captain Samantha Price bursting through the middle and finishing expertly in off the base of the post past Lightning stopper Natalie Lacey.
Playing with only one substitute, the Lightning didn’t appear at all fazed and equalised moments later as Amy McLachlan was on hand to sweep home from close range and, when McLachlan netted her seventh goal of the season just eight minutes later, the unbeaten league leaders were back on course.
Rebecca Kiting made it three before the break and Jennifer Bisset ensured an element of breathing space with her eighth strike of the campaign with nine minutes remaining in the contest.
Swift wouldn’t lie down though and with debutant goalkeeper Cristian Esposito in stunning form between the posts, repelled a lot of what the Lightning had to offer. Sofia Palywoda reduced the arrears at the end of a stunningly slick Swift counterattack, but time defeated them as Lightning ran out winners.
The Swift backed up on Sunday afternoon in their catch-up match with ANU Apex and claimed a second win of the season taking a 6-2 victory.
Two goals in a minute from Sabrina Toufexis and Isabella Hindmarsh gave the Swift the perfect start to the match, but Apex struck back well thanks to a maiden CFL goal from Alexandra Serras.
A brace from Talia Backhouse extended the Swift lead, but the Apex refused to be shrugged off and Sheridan McElligott reduced the deficit. It too late goals from Toufexis and Samantha Price to seal the victory and move Swift into third ahead of the North Canberra Fire whose match with Queanbeyan-Palerang Power was postponed.
Friday 2 December
ANU Apex 2 (McElligott 14’, Swart 15’) UC Stars 4 (McGlashan 17’, Yuen 18’, Norris 22’, 33’)
Saturday 3 December
West Canberra Lightning 4 (McLachlan 3’, 11’, Kiting 18’, Bisset 31’) South Canberra Swift 2 (Price 1’, Palywoda 33’)
Sunday 4 December
South Canberra Swift 6 (Toufexis 8’, 30’, Hindmarsh 9’, Backhouse 17’, 18’, Price 36’) ANU Apex 2 (Serras 11’, McElligott 27’)
Queanbeyan-Palerang Power v North Canberra Fire – Match Postponed
11 Brittany PALOMBI (Lightning)
8 Jennifer BISSET (Lightning)
7 Stella DE MARCO (Fire), Amy MCLACHLAN (Lightning), Becky RIZZO (Stars), Reilly YUEN (Stars)
6 Rebecca KITING (Lightning), Cara CERUTI (Swift)
5 Eliza-Jane NORRIS (Stars), Mikayla VAN DEYK (Stars), Own GOALS
4 Jamie BERKELEY (Lightning), Natalie DE MARCO (Fire), Krista HAGEN (Lightning), Tayla HAMPSON (Stars), Nicole JALOCHA (Fire), Samantha PRICE (Swift), Bessie REITHMULLER (Fire), Sabrina TOUFEXIS (Swift), Dianne WILSON (Lightning)
3 Isabella HINDMARSH (Swift), Ginger OLIVER (Swift), Sofia PALYWODA (Swift)
2 Justine ARMSTRONG (Power), Talia BACKHOUSE (Swift), Maia CAMERON (Power), Sheridan MCELLIGOTT (Apex), Cassia MCGLASHAN (Stars), Nikita PERRY (Fire), Roxie SWART (Apex)
1 Elke AITOLU (Fire), Leah CARNEGIE (Swift), Kaitlyn COLWILL (Swift), Emily DANIEL (Stars), Grace DAVEY (Apex), Sally KISS (Power), Renee KITE (Power), Stefi LEJINS (Fire), Holly MCPHERSON (Power), Alexandra SERRAS (Apex), Shayma TAWEEL (Apex), Kate WALKER (Stars)