Canberra Croatia’s lethal hot-shot Brittany Palombi hit her 150th career WNPL goal as the league leaders consolidated their position at the top of the table with a come-from-behind 6-1 win over West Canberra Wanderers at Deakin Stadium.
Palombi struck seven minutes before half-time, scrambling home a loose ball inside the penalty area to reach the 150-goal milestone in just 148 appearances, a phenomenal goals-to-game ratio.
West Canberra Wanderers extended their poor series of winless games to five despite getting off to the best possible start. Hattie Cram finding the bottom corner of Bonnie McKean’s net less than five minutes in, her shot taking a deflection of defender Rhiannon Fensom.
Caught cold, the home team took a bit of time to start the engine. They intensified their game slowly and just before the half-hour mark, a deflected shot by Isabella Barac left Ally Hinson no chance. But the Wanderers responded and should have re-taken the lead.
Ginger Oliver wasted a great chance to restore the advantage before the usually reliable Tara Cannon blazed a penalty way over the bar after the visitors had been awarded a pot-kick for handball.
Hinson, the former Deakin keeper would have more of a complicated afternoon. Brittany Palombi struck twice, either side of the half time break to give Croatia the lead before Barac got her second goal as well after some great work by Jennifer Bisset.
Minutes later it was almost copy and paste when Barac offered Sienna Birnie her first goal of the afternoon. Birnie’s second came with five minutes left, when she won her duel against Hinson. The Wanderers, as usual, could feel hard done by, a seemingly harsh result, given the amount of work they put on every time they face the lethal reigning champions.
In the Riverina, Belconnen United travelled to face the Wagga City Wanderers and came away with a comfortable 7-0 success. The Blue Devils did not waste any time at Gissing Oval and relied on their most prolific goal scorer to open the scoring after seven minutes.
Served by Reilly Yuen, Keira Bobbin aimed a shot from the corner of the box that surprised Ebony Warner in the Wanderers goal. The home side resisted well for the rest of the first half, conceding only once more, before the half hour mark.
A long ball seemed to target Yuen who may have been offside, but Talia Backhouse used her speed to come from behind and pick apart the Wanderers’ defence. Warner, protesting for the offside, made the first save, but the Blue Devils’ captain got the rebound and tapped the ball in the empty net.
The second half was more free flowing. The visitors struck three times, between the 54th and 60th minute. Bobbin and Tia Burridge striking from close range either side of arguably the goal of the afternoon, a powerful and precise effort from Backhouse that landed in the top corner.
Burridge was the third Blue Devil to record a brace 10 minutes later, and the job was finished by Karen Clarke in injury time, the experienced defender heading in a corner kick past Warner.
Gungahlin United and Canberra Olympic were braving the weather conditions at Gungahlin Enclosed Oval on a wet and wild weekend. Andrew Woodman was facing his former team and unfortunately for the Gunners, Nicole Begg and her troops started all guns blazing and were 4-0 up by the half-hour.
The first goal was an unfortunate own goal by Madeleine Perceval who deflected a cross from Renee Junna past Kailey Tonini. Olympic unfortunately lost Jane Vanzino to injury at the 16th minute, but five minutes later they were back on the score sheet. Another mistake in the Gunners’ defence offered Olivia Fogarty a chance in front of the empty net that she did not pass up.
Ashleigh Sykes arrived on stage then. The former Julie Dolan winner ruined Tonini’s moment, scoring from close range after the keeper had parried Ali Cook’s penalty kick away, and added a second one 10 minutes later.
Stunned and punished for their mistakes, the Gunners had a bit to do to get a result, and could only score one, albeit very special goal by substitute Kayla Wright who found the net with 20 minutes to go.
Sunday 17 July
Wagga City Wanderers 0 Belconnen United 7 (Bobbin 7’, 54’, Backhouse 26’, 57’, Burridge 59’, 70’, Clarke 90’)
Canberra Croatia 6 (Barac 27’, 66’, Palombi 38’, 61’, Birnie 71’, 84’) West Canberra Wanderers 1 (Cram 5’)
Canberra United Academy v Tuggeranong United – Match Postponed
Gungahlin United 1 (Wright 63’) Canberra Olympic 4 (Perceval 12’ (og), Fogarty 21’, Sykes 22’, 32’)
|4||West Canberra Wanderers||13||6||3||4||-8||21|
|6||Canberra United Academy||12||3||2||7||-9||11|
|8||Wagga City Wanderers||13||1||1||11||-72||4|