Feature Image: The Girls Game
Round 11 saw the NPLW top three register comfortable victories, as Rachel Alonso lit up Wembley Park for a second year running, while Laura Spiranovic ensured Vincenzo Ierardo bowed out of the NPLW in style.
Also’ while Southern United managed to do the business against Alamein FC last weekend in their finals race six-pointer, the ledger was square after the permeations of this weekend’s fixtures. Teenager Kyra Cooney-Cross stood up to lead Senior NTC to a comprehensive victory over the former, while the latter gained ground with a narrow victory over Bulleen.
For FFV’s Facebook Live broadcasted fixture, NTC reigned supreme in a nine-goal thriller to deliver Southern a first loss in five fixtures.
Kyra Cooney-Cross was the hat-trick hero for the visiting side, while 17-year old Savanna Anstasopoulos struck her first goals at senior level for Southern in her breakout season.
An even first half saw the two sides exchange blows, with Elisabeth Robers’ go-ahead goal cancelled out by a stunning effort from Francesca Iermano after 10 minutes.
Anastasopoulos struck her first of the afternoon for Southern United with a beautiful effort on the turn from outside the box, before Cooney-Cross put the NTC in front for the first time with a quick-fire double.
Her first was a showcase of her elite composure and blistering pace, while her second was even more impressive, finishing from distance after leading the Southern defence a merry dance.
Southern responded soon after to make it 3-3 on the stroke of half-time,with Anastasopoulos completing her double by stroking into the near post.
That was as close as they came to mounting a comeback as the NTC once again kicked clear with three unanswered goals in the second half.
Sofia Sakalis won a penalty early into the second half, and managed to convert herself on the second attempt after Christina Fonua saved her initial spot kick.
There was also a first senior goal for 14-year-old Holly Furphy, who finished well from a Kelly Lam through ball.
It was Cooney-Cross – from a Sakalis cross – who iced out the contest with her third of the afternoon, blasting home with aplomb on the half-volley to cap off a marvellous individual performance.
At HA Smith Reserve, a second half goal to Amy Kane helped Alamein claim a 1-0 home win over Bulleen Lions, giving the Dashers a much-needed boost in the process as they moved back into a top four spot.
The deciding goal came as the result of two factors, first was the bursting run of Janna Lawson down the left flank, while the other was sheer luck.
Lawson broke free down the flank before sliding a goal-bound shot past Emily Shields, only for the resulting clearance from Salma Tawfic to cannon off Kane and fortuitously into the goal.
Alamein were forced to defend their narrow lead a player down for the final 20 minutes, with Jaimee Williams sent off for a second bookable offence.
A first hat-trick of the NPLW era for Laura Spiranovic helped give Galaxy United coach Vincenzo Ierardo the perfect departing gift, sealing a 4-1 win over Bayside United.
It took just five minutes for the explosive forward to break through, capping off a brilliant cross field ball from Jess Tay with an exquisite finish across the face of goals.
Parity was restored just 11 minutes later through Emma Runnalls who snuck a half volley past Emily Kenshole’s grasp from 25 yards.
Galaxy restored their lead through a spectacular effort of their own, with Whitney Knight netting her first ever Galaxy United goal with a thunderously-struck effort from outside the box.
Their lead was extended after a handball penalty decision, as skipper Spiranovic beat Ingrid Phillipe from the penalty spot despite the keeper diving the right way.
Spiranovic applied a yet another composed finish late on to seal a first league hat-trick in three years, with her last coming for South Melbourne in a comfortable 6-0 win over Monbulk Rangers in 2014.
It was one way traffic in the derby match up between South Melbourne and Heidelberg United, as the hosts claimed a comfortable 3-0 win at Lakeside Stadium.
South saw a number of chances go begging in the first 30 minutes, with Caitlin Greiser, Michelle Verzi and Julia Nicolaci all hitting the crossbar.
They also saw a clear-cut penalty decision go the way of the Bergers as Tiffany Eliadis was wrongly adjudged to have been felled outside the box, rather than in it.
They were able to finally break through in the 35th minute through a clinical Ayres finish into the near post, which sparked a flood of goals before the half-time break.
Alex Gummer found the back of the next for a consecutive week in the 41st minute, the result of an aware Jamie Pollock, who let a Victoria Argyropoulos cross roll on past her for her teammate to tap in.
Pollock was soon able to find the net herself with a glancing header on the stroke of half-time, coming as a result of a Nicolaci free kick.
The hosts saw a number more opportunities go begging, with a handful of shots flashing narrowly past the post.
South’s best opportunity to further stretch the lead came right at the death as the ever-impressive Gummer crossed to the back post for an open Greiser, who headed just wide of Katie Neville’s right post.
Calder United held their position atop the perch of the NPLW with a 3-0 away victory over Box Hill United.
At the scene of her goal of the season winning effort in 2016, Rachel Alonso shone once again with yet another two world-class strikes, with goals coming either side of the break.
Box Hill’s Melanie Camilleri spurned a number of chances to take the lead in the first half, as Calder capitalised from a free-kick.
It was set-piece specialist Alonso who belted home a spectacular effort from the edge of the area to open the scoring, while Cindy Lay saw a dipping first half shot tipped over the bar.
It was another Alonso set piece that set up the second goal as defender Rachel Binning connected to cannon a header off the upright, only for Enza Barilla to swoop in and loft the follow up effort into goal.
The pick of the goals came in the 77th minute as Alonso popped up to complete her brace with a vicious effort from no less than 30 yards, which had a diving Alyssa Dall’Oste grasping at thin air.