Photo: Rachel Bach
A weekend of monsoonal weather conditions and rainbow laces dished up a series of highly-entertaining NPLW ties that struck with the same ferocity as the rain did in Victoria.
There were only two clean sheets kept for Round Seven, with three games dishing up a total of 27 goals, including a nine-goal thriller between South Melbourne and Bulleen Lions, with a full wrap of the game available here. Elsewhere across the grounds:
An equally enthralling contest saw Alamein peg back a three-goal deficit to win an 11 goal thriller versus the Senior NTC.
The NTC raced to a 3-0 lead within 12 minutes thanks mainly to the brilliance of Kyra Cooney-Cross.
Cooney-Cross struck first with a deflected effort that floated over the head of Erin Hudson.
Her second saw Hudson get a hand to the effort, but it wasn’t enough to de-rail the momentum of the shot which trickled into the back of the net.
Felicity Georgopoulos made it 3-0 with her first goal at NPLW level coming directly from a 35-yard free-kick which snuck narrowly under the crossbar with Hudson unable to get a hand on the effort.
In the same way that Cooney-Cross architected NTC’s lead, Dashers winger Janna Lawson was central to their response, scoring twice and grabbing an assist as Alamein hit the front before half-time.
An Amy Kane tap-in started proceedings following a Lawson cut-back, before the latter went herself with an effort that went in off the crossbar.
The equaliser was a simple finish from close range for Lawson who was the quickest to react from a bouncing free-kick.
Perth Glory midfielder Caitlin Doeglas put the hosts into the lead at HA Smith Reserve with a lofted shot across the face, which snuck into the post on the right side.
The start of the second half saw Cooney-Cross complete her hat-trick with a brilliant solo goal, which saw her collect the ball from half way before applying a low finish from 20-yards past the desperate lunge of Hudson.
With the game in the balance, it was an unfortunate own goal from Leia Varley which broke the game open once again, with goalkeeper Sienna Gidari unable to control the pass back as it found its way in.
Alamein went to the spot on 79 minutes with the chance to effectively seal the game, with Mari Pastor getting on the scoresheet with a confident finish.
Although it didn’t eventuate, the NTC did give themselves every chance of a final comeback push as Alana Jancevski struck in the 84th minute with a sublimely taken goal, with the youngster taking a juggling touch before pivoting and volleying home on her left boot.
The win sees Alamein close to within two points of top spot.
With the aforementioned South and Alamein both winning their respective goalfests, they were able to gain ground on Galaxy United, with the ladder leaders falling to a shock 5-2 loss to Southern United.
Courtney Hueston starred with a brace, with the Southern United midfielder needing just 15 minutes to break the deadlock with a brilliant strike from all of 35-yards.
Leigh Gray managed to glance a header in off an Adriana Taranto corner to restore parity just four minutes later, only for Jasmine Arezzolo to header into her own net from a Candela Ferreyra Bas cross to restore Southern’s narrow lead on the half-hour mark.
Fullback Tayla Evans doubled their advantage just three minutes later with a powerful finish from an Elisabeth Robers corner, with the score reading 3-1 at half-time.
Galaxy went to the spot on 58 minutes after an attempted clearance from Mikhaila Bowden saw the American bring down her opposition attacker.
Skipper Laura Spiranovic saw her penalty brilliantly stopped by Christina Fonua, but the striker had the presence of mind to follow the effort in and finish off the rebound.
Bowden made up for her mistake by finding the back of the net herself on 75 minutes, with her shot dispatched into the bottom corner after breaking to the edge of the area.
Hueston put the icing on the cake for Southern by completing her brace as the game wound out to a close.
The American started the play by winning the ball in midfield before then breaking through two defenders, rounding the keeper and finishing into an empty net.
It was Galaxy’s first loss of the season and a first win in four starts for Southern who returned to form in the best possible way.
While it was a brace to the in-form Hayley Geurts that helped secure Box Hill United a 2-0 win over a spirited Bayside United, it was the heroics of teenager Alyssa Dall’oste in goals that proved most crucial.
The keeper was required right from the get go, sweeping a clearance off the feet of Emily Harbis, who found herself through on goal thanks to an errant Box Hill back-pass.
At the other end, German Maren Heller was proving a thorn in the side for the Bayside defence, forcing a number of crucial blocks to prevent goal scoring oppornities, while she also fired narrowly wide with another effort.
Ingrid Phillipe produced a classy double stop to first slap clear a Geurts effort from long-range, then Kristina Hall with a reflex effort.
Geurts continued to look threatening and produced another great stop from the Bayside keeper, before finally getting her own with a well taken goal from just outside the box.
Melanie Camilleri almost doubled Box Hill’s advantage before the half-time break, but her half-volley from just inside the 18-yard-box rattled the crossbar.
Dall’oste was called into action early into the second period to deny Kirstie Shearing’s effort from a tight angle, before producing a double save to repel a Steph Parton volley from a corner, then substitute Sarah Wieck’s at the near post.
She then managed to palm away an Amy Malander header, with Sienna Fogarty hitting the upright from the follow up effort.
Bayside thought they’d finally found a way to breach Dall’oste’s net, only to see Emma Runnalls’ goal chalked off for an offside.
There was an equally tight call at the other end as Camilleri was denied a goal of her own.
It was down to Dall’oste again to retain her side’s lead in a nervy game, with Malander again looking threatening off the bench.
The forward struck a vicious strike across the face, only to be matched by the stretching arm of the Box Hill keeper, who retained a well-earned clean sheet.
Geurts sealed the game with her second which came following a goal-kick for Bayside.
Hall intercepted the restart from Fogarty – who was the one that ultimately kept Geurts onside -before delicately angling a ball through the defence to spot her teammate who finished with aplomb to seal the game in the 87th minute.
Calder United were also able to capitalise on the points dropped by Galaxy, as they claimed a 2-0 win over Heidelberg United.
There were sighters for the Warriors, who saw early chances to Cortnee Vine and Ally Ladas both denied by Calder shot-stopper Bethany Mason-Jones.
Laura Phillips was forced to clear off her line from a Claudia Fruscalzo effort, while there was further frustration as Enza Barilla fired narrowly wide in the first half.
Barilla was able to make amends in the second half by applying an assist for Emma Robers’ go-ahead goal just two minutes from the restart.
The sealer came courtesy of Rachel Binning, who was awarded a goal despite some confusion as to whether her poke in from a Rachel Alonso free-kick actually crossed the line, with Cindy Lay following in regardless.
The result draws Calder to within just one point of Galaxy United, with both sides now on a +11 goal difference, while Heidelberg United remain at the wrong end of the ladder, equal on points with the ninth-placed Bayside United and bottom-placed Senior NTC.