Feature Image: Rachel Bach
Two clashes this weekend saw the league’s freshest coach entries pitted against each other this weekend as Dennis Georgakopoulos’ Box Hill got the best of Kat Smith’s Galaxy United. At Kingston Heath, Steve Stroud’s Bayside United battled valiantly, but Alamein – lead in the dugout by goalkeeper Melissa Maizels – were able to snatch a 1-0 victory.
Box Hill returned to the winners circle after a barren run of six games and they did it in style by defeating ladder leaders Galaxy United two goals to nil.
A first half strike to Box Hill’s top goalscorer this season Hayley Geurts helped set the tone before the talismanic Georgia Koutrovelis put the result beyond doubt with her goal on the hour mark.
There were chances at either side in an open-ended first half – with Galaxy keeper Emily Kenshole making a brilliant low save to deny Melanie Camilleri – but the opener fell the way of the hosts through Geurts’ sixth goal of the season.
A powerfully-struck free-kick from Kristina Hall was parried away by Kenshole, only for Geurts to pop up and fire home on the follow up.
The second half saw Adriana Taranto fire just wide from a Laura Spiranovic through ball, while the latter came close soon after, but saw her shot on the angle blocked by some good defence.
K0utrouvelis nearly extended the lead in the second half after her floating cross cannoned off the upright, although she didn’t have to wait long for the eventual breakthrough.
The skipper powered her way into the box with a strong run and capped off the move with a placed finish across the face of goals.
It snapped a three-game losing streak for Box Hill and marked a first win for Georgakopoulos since taking the reigns at the club.
For Galaxy, it was a first loss since mid-April, and only their second of the season as they slipped to third at the conclusion of the week’s fixtures.
With coach Sinisa Cohadzic currently off obtaining his Pro Licence in South Korea, it was player Melissa Maizels calling the shots from the dugout as her Alamein FC outfit claimed a 1-0 win over Bayside United.
Janna Lawson got the Dashers off to a positive start after striking the post after embarking on a solo run with just three minutes on the clock.
Ingrid Phillipe was then on call to deny Kelsey Minton from inside the box, before the Alamein attacker got the better of her soon after, finding the back of the net on 20 minutes.
It was a well-taken strike from Minton for what proved to be the deciding goal as she fired a first-time effort across the face off a ball back from a Bayside defender.
Erin Hudson was solid on her return to Kingston Heath, making a solid save at the death to deny Sienna Fogarty’s long-range free kick from sneaking in against her former side.
A flurry of second half goals – including an Emma Robers special – saw Calder United run away with a 4-2 win over Bulleen Lions on Monday Night Football at the Veneto Club.
In spite of that, it was the hosts that were in front early as Brittany Dudley-Smith converted with what was the first real chance of the game, finishing well one-on-one after Eleni Fakos slipped her through.
Dani Gudelj sniffed an equaliser and nearly pulled a rabbit out of the hat with what was one of the efforts of the season, taking two juggling touches, before unleashing a volley on goal, only for Bulleen keeper Emily Shields to tip over well.
Shields’ next effort was less memorable however as she was unable to get her body behind a deflected MelindaJ Barbieri shot from outside the box, which allowed the visitors to draw level.
Calder had to wait until the second half to hit the lead through Enza Barilla who was fed through by Cindy Lay after a good passage of play through the midfield.
While her finish to cap the play off was neat, it was nothing on the effort that was to follow.
A venomous half-volley from Emma Robers on 64 minutes soared into the back of the net from outside of the area, leaving Emily Shields with little chance to prevent Calder doubling their advantage.
Bulleen were resilient and they managed to pull one back just six minutes later through Alex Natoli, who cleverly picked her spot by going between the legs of Calder keeper Bethany Mason-Jones at the near post.
However, the game was put beyond doubt fortuitously by Rachel Binning, with the Calder skipper well placed to deflect a Barilla volley across the face into the back of the net from point blank range.
The win carries Calder back into top spot, with South Melbourne and Galaxy United both breathing down their necks.
There was an element of fortune for all of South Melbourne’s first half goals, as they completed a 3-0 win over Southern United at Knox Regional Football Centre.
The opening goal saw a Tiffany Eliadis free-kick fall right at the feet of Christina Fonua, with the goalkeeper managing to block the effort on goal, only to see sister Lisa’s clearance cannon back towards goal off Amy Medwin.
Their second saw Medwin again steer a shot towards goal, which held in the air before deflecting off the crossbar straight into the path of Lisa De Vanna who required no second invitation to put the ball into the back of the net.
It was a sucker punch for Southern who had earlier seen Candela Ferreyra Bas hit the crossbar from a wide left area, and they were taken aback once again after a very rare mistake from Southern goalkeeper Fonua allowed Ayres in for the easiest of finishes.
The shot-stopper somehow let a ball at the near post evade her grasp, which gifted a golden opportunity to one of the league’s best finishers to convert into an open net.
The win sees South move into second place on the NPLW ladder, while Southern now fall five points off the pace of of Alamein FC in the race for a finals berth.
A soaring Sky Jensen header was enough for Heidelberg United to claim a second win in the past three weeks, cruising past Senior NTC 1-0.
While missing out on finals football may seem like a foregone conclusion for a Bergers outfit 16 points off the pace of fourth placed Alamein FC, the win instead acts as a springboard to push clear away from the bottom of the ladder and closer towards mid-table.
The Bergers were well in control in the first term, but were unable to break the deadlock despite a number of efforts on goal, coming from all parts of the pitch.
In the end, it was Jensen’s 70th minute header that saw the game get it’s deciding moment, as she met Steph Galea’s in-swinging cross with a great leap and an even better finish to best Teresa Morrissey in goals.