Two games, nine goals, a new goal scoring leader and two new names at the top of the table, the Wednesday evening catch-up matches delivered the usual entertainment in the Women’s National Premier League.
Tuggeranong United hosted an even younger than usual Belconnen United at Kambah 2, yet the result did not differ from their early encounter in the Federation Cup. Scott Conlon’s troops got the three points comfortably, winning 6-1, and now sit at the top of the table thanks to a better goal difference.
Arriving late to the game would have been a shame on Wednesday, given the 2-1 scoreline at the 7th minute. The Blue Devils started the festival of goals seconds after kick-off, with Alina Roberts launching Marija Rathouski into a powerful run and a cool finish from close range.
The answer came instants later, with likely the gem of night. Tuggeranong’s summer signing Rainey Niles volleyed in an in-swerving corner superbly in the top right corner of young Tara Howarth’s goals, the debutant custodian left motionless.
Unfortunately for the home team, a slippery ball escaped from the hands of Ruby Ashton four minutes later, allowing teenage striker Roberts a gilt-edged chance to net her first senior team goal, an offer she was not to pass up.
The scoreline remained unchanged until the break, but once again within six minutes of the second act, the nets had trembled twice. Rathouski recorded her brace at the 50th minute like a real poacher before a slight handball a minute later offered Hattie Cram the opportunity to convert from the spot kick.
The night would not be complete though without the participation of two usual suspects of the Belconnen attack. Bessie Riethmuller scored a goal from the edge of the box with five minutes left to play, grabbing at the same place the seat of leading goal scorer in the competition with seven strikes.
Talia Backhouse closed the show in injury time with a left footed effort from distance, therefore keeping her streak alive against Tuggeranong: the number nine having scored in each of the last eight times she has played against the team from the South.
The other game of the night at Woden Park was a much closer encounter between Canberra Olympic and the ANU WFC. The reigning champions joined Belconnen United at the top of the table with a 2-0 win acquired in the first half against a solid University team.
The scene was set early on: Nicole Begg’s team was on the front foot, and Rob Illingworth’s troops defended with bravado, while struggling to develop their usual football against the organised defence that is Olympic.
The deadlock was broken at the half hour mark. Often the most dangerous outlet for Olympic this season, Olivia Gurney showcased her ability at both end, intercepting a pass, that Victoria Jamieson converted into an assist for her forward.
Gurney still had to run a whole 30 meters to end in the box and needed to take two shots, and see a lucky deflection despite Claire Joseph’s save, to celebrate the first goal of the night.
The second did not take long to follow suit. Three minutes later in fact, Madelyn Whittall went for a run in a box but was stopped in her tracks by Edith Fordyce-Croker, a push that forced the referee to point for the spot kick. Michaela Thornton happily took responsibility and gave her team a lead they would keep until the final whistle.
Wednesday 17 May
Tuggeranong United 1 (Niles 4’) Belconnen United 6 (Rathouski 1’, 49’, Roberts 7’, Cram 51’ (p), Riethmuller 84’, Backhouse 90+2’)
Canberra Olympic 2 (Gurney 30’, Thornton 35’ (p)) ANU WFC 0
|5||Canberra United Academy||5||2||0||3||5||11||-6||6|
|8||West Canberra Wanderers||5||0||0||5||2||15||-13||0|
7 Bessie RIETHMULLER (Belconnen United)
6 Brittany PALOMBI (Canberra Croatia)
5 Kiera BOBBIN (Belconnen United), Charli MITCHELL (Canberra Croatia), Michaela THORNTON (Canberra Olympic)
3 Tia BURRIDGE (Canberra Olympic), Olivia GURNEY (Canberra Olympic), Darby WHITELY (Gungahlin United)
2 Isabella BARAC (Canberra Croatia), Hattie CRAM (Belconnen United), Nicole JALOCHA (Canberra Olympic), Tatum MAZIS (Canberra Croatia), Rainey NILES (Tuggeranong United), Nikita Ginger OLIVER (Gungahlin United), Erika PENNYFIELD (Gungahlin United), Marija RATHOUSKI (Belconnen United), Roxie SWART (ANU WFC)
1 Tehya ASPLAND (Canberra Olympic), Latisha BABIC (Canberra United Academy), Talia BACKHOUSE (Belconnen United), Ella-Rose BROWN (Gungahlin United), Sharon CHAO (Gungahlin United), Tamara COCHRANE (Canberra United Academy), Alexandra COOK (Canberra Olympic), Rachael CORBETT (Gungahlin United), Natalie DE MARCO (Gungahlin United), Alyssa DI-CAMPLI (Canberra United Academy), Rhiannon FENSOM (Canberra Croatia), Charli GREGSON (Tuggeranong United), Sarah MATTHEWS (Tuggeranong United), Sheridan MCELLIGOTT (ANU WFC), Alexandra NEALAND (Canberra United Academy), PERRY (West Canberra Wanderers), Alina ROBERTS (Belconnen United), Madeleine STEINACKER (Belconnen United), Sarah WHITFIELD (West Canberra Wanderers), Madelyn WHITTALL (Canberra Olympic), Elisha WILD (Canberra United Academy), Juliet WILLIAMS (ANU WFC), Zoe WILLIAMS (Tuggeranong United), Reilly YUEN (Belconnen United), Jasmine ZABEL (Canberra Olympic)