A hard earned brace from Cindy Lay secured the 2-0 win for FC Bulleen over a defiant South Yarra, as the latter frustrated the State Cup Champions on the opening round at Broadmeadows Valley Park.
The ‘defiant debutantes’ South Yarra arrived at Broadmeadows Valley Park with game plan in hand and set about executing it to a tee.
Coach Danny Hall learnt from the pre-season practice matches that FC Bulleen were very strong through the middle and set up South Yarra to stifle their opponents, shutting down any forward attacks time after time.
The first thirty seconds of the game highlighted FC Bulleen’s intentions with a frenzy of sharp passes via Friend to Fakos, who found Lay drifting forward for an eventual one-on-one against keeper Sharon Walsh, with the resulting shot easily accounted for by the ‘keeper.
Although the corridor was busier than Bourke Street on a Friday night, all of Cindy Lay, Caitlin Friend and Tessa Sernio were racking up the possessions, but every time they turned, a blue and red shirt was not far away defending in packs.
Murphy, Alberici and Jona were all steadfastly pushing back FC Bulleen’s every pass, much to the cheers of the South Yarra crowd.
FC Bulleen’s power forward Em Coppock had her chances in the first half with both shots sailing over the bar, while Beattie Goad’s threatening runs forward were often halted by several raised flags on the far side of the pitch.
As the game progressed, South Yarra worked into the tempo of state premier league football and created early opportunities of their own through some great work by Katie Foster and Samantha Tighe, while at the other end, the defensive line was tight with Priscilla Ribas and Eliza Mealin repelling many a FC Bulleen forward thrusts.
Experienced FC Bulleen midfielders Caitlin Friend and Cindy Lay were dominant on the park holding up play and waiting for the right opportunity to bring the forwards into the play; FC Bulleen secured corner after corner, but the South Yarra defense cleared every time.
Late into the first half, Sharon Walsh faced a one-on-one with Eleni Fakos streaming towards goal and threw herself into the path of the ball, stopping a certain goal, but injuring her hamstring in the process.
Walsh could not continue and had to be replaced by a reserve keeper, who was then quickly tested in a one-on-one situation with Beattie Goad, but stood up to smother the kick and rise with the ball.
The whistle eventually sounded bringing to a close the first half, a major psychological win for the South Yarra side, with few punters anticipating a nil-all scoreline at half time.
South Yarra continued to set about restricting FC Bulleen’s passage of play through midfield after the break, with coach McGuinness making an early change by bringing Privitelli into the game for her speed, which lifted FC Bulleen’s tempo.
The first goal of the contest came in the 58th minute from a corner kick by Cindy Lay, which cleared the aerial pack to ricochet off the back post into the net.
It was an unorthodox way to score, but gratefully accepted by FC Bulleen.
South Yarra had a glimpse at a reply when a well weighted through ball from Marques found Foster full of run, but Maddie Stockdale cut across and managed to thwart any imminent danger for Dimovski.
The sealing goal came after a wonderful passage of play from Goad and Fakos, which setup Cindy Lay who secured her brace with a delightful toe poke past the keeper.
In the dying minutes of the game, further shots from Mure and Tay missed the mark, summing up the day for FC Bulleen.
South Yarra emerged valiant in defeat having frustrated and nullifying a dominant FC Bulleen team on the day.
FC Bulleen Lions 2 (Lay 58′, 71′) defeated South Yarra 0 at Broadmeadows Valley Park
FC Bulleen Lions: 1. Cass Dimovski (GK), 3. Bella Scott, 21. Maddie Stockdale, 12. Liana Iaconis, 22. Emily Dolzan, 2. Tessa Sernio (14. Jess Tay), 8. Cindy Lay (11. Tayla Mure 56′), 6. Caity Friend, 23. Eleni Fakos (17. Charlee West), 10. Emily Coppock (9. Lia Privitelli), 16. Beattie Goad
Yellow Card(s): Lay 28′
Red Card(s): Nil
South Yarra: 32. Sharon Walsh, 13. Hayley Walkinshaw, 10. Samantha Tighe, 3. Sara Alberici, 6. Aoife Murphy, 14. Katherine Foster (Louise Dipauli), 16. Gretel Templeton, 2. Madeline Jona, 8. Priccilla Ribas, 7. Marcela Marques, 4. Eliza Mealin