The 2016 Women’s PUMA F-League is shaping as the closest contest ever with Dural held to a 2-2 draw by North Canberra, and Galaxy and South Brisbane both splitting their Victorian visit to Vipers and Bayside (the Pirates notching up their first F-League victory).
The results leave Dural (13 points) narrowly ahead of Boomerangs (12), Galaxy (10), South Brisbane (9), East Coast (8) and Vic Vipers (7) on a congested points table.
Dural Warriors 2 (Demelza Howard, Tara Pender) North Canberra Untouchables 2 (Ashleigh Palombi, Brittany Palombi)
Vic Vipers 7 (Fabiana Perfilio, Ceyda Cambaz 4, Rhianna Pollicina, Doris Osman) South Brisbane 6 (Natalie Tathem, Sofie Persson 2, Sarah Amorim, Emma Klos, Melissa Weckert)
Bayside Pirates 4 Galaxy FC 3 (Noran Abaza)
Vic Vipers 0 Galaxy FC 5 (Mariel Hecher 3, Jessica Dillon, Charlotte Boyes)
Bayside Pirates 1 (Ilona Jakab) South Brisbane 11 (Sofie Persson)
Dural, North Canberra draw
Dural Warriors came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with an inspired North Canberra Untouchables at Dural Sport & Leisure Centre on Saturday morning.
North Canberra were excellent value building a 2-0 lead by halftime, and they had Dural scrambling in the second half as Demelza Howard and Tara Pender both scored to salvage a point for the defending champions.
Vics pip South Brisbane
Vic Vipers edged out South Brisbane 7-6 in a thrilling high-scoring encounter at Hoops 24/7 Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday evening.
It was 3-3 as the smoke cleared at halftime and the match could’ve gone either way in a frantic second period that saw the home side grab a slender victory against a very good South Brisbane side – Ceyda Cambaz netting four goals for the Vics for the second successive game, while Sofie Persson scored twice for the visitors.
The 13-goal contest is the third-highest women’s F-League scoreline; last year’s 11-4 Dural win over Capital FC and an 8-6 South Brisbane-Boomerangs 2014 goal-fest setting the benchmark.
Bayside edge Galaxy
Bayside Pirates came from behind to break Galaxy FC hearts 4-3 at Caroline Springs Leisure Centre on Saturday night and secure a maiden F-League victory for the debutant southerners.
It was a cagey opening 10 minutes before Galaxy’s Charlotte Boyes broke the deadlock by pouncing on a Pirates defensive mistake, and four minutes later Bayside flanker Sienna Fogarty struck a thunderous shot from a corner that left Galaxy keeper Trudy Bartlett with no chance and levelled the scores at 1-1.
The Pirates momentum was shortlived as Alisha Foote scored a well-worked goal to make it 2-1 to Galaxy at the break, but as the second half began Bayside maintained their focus and commitment to winning the ball and were rewarded with another Fogarty strike restoring parity once more at 2-2.
The pressure was intense with neither sides conceding an inch and with it the foul count and yellow cards starting to mount, and it was Fogarty again who put the Pirates in front with another goal, her penetrative runs and accurate shooting providing Bayside with the cutting edge they had been lacking in previous games.
In goal Bethany Mason-Jones was having an outstanding game keeping the Galaxy onslaught at bay, but there was nothing she could do about Foote’s second goal as the match squared up a third time locked at 3-3.
Stef Tanti had a chance to break the deadlock when Galaxy conceded a sixth foul only to see Bartlett equal to the task in saving the shot, however Tanti had the final say in clinching the match for the Pirates in the last minute of play with a strike that beat Bartlett and won Bayside’s first F-League match.
It was an exciting game of Futsal with the two sides evenly-matched and both sets of coaches agreed the player of the match was Pirates keeper Mason-Jones who made some incredible one-on-one saves to give Bayside their best chance at points this season.
Galaxy thump Vipers
Galaxy FC comfortably accounted for Vic Vipers 5-zip at Hoops 24/7 Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday morning – a Mariel Hecher hat-trick taking the star Brazilian import to eight goals in four games.
The Queenslanders wrestled a 2-0 halftime break against a stubborn Vipers and they had to wait until 10 minutes to go seal victory, Hecher and Charlotte Boyes collecting last-minute goals to round out a five-goal win and cleansheet.
South Brisbane crunch Pirates
What a difference 24 hours makes as South Brisbane crunched Bayside Pirates 11-1 in a lopsided contest at Caroline Springs Leisure Centre on Sunday afternoon.
The visitors led by four at the changeover and went on with the job in the second term to register the competition’s fourth double-figure total (Warriors, Heat and Vipers also reaching 11 goals in three games last winter).
After the euphoria of Saturday night’s maiden victory over Galaxy, the Pirates were brought down to earth with a thud by a South Brisbane juggernaut.
Bayside were missing some key players and it seemed all their energy went into Saturday night’s stunner, as they looked a different side despite looking steady in the opening minutes and creating some clear chances without scoring.
And they were duly punished for their squandered opportunities when South Brisbane’s Sofie Persson broke the deadlock in the seventh minute – and after that it was all the Queenslanders’ way as the Pirates had no answer in the second half.
South Brisbane were too good in all areas of the game, with their transitional play a particular highlight, and Persson and Melissa Weckert clinical in front of goal punishing Bayside’s defensive mistakes.
This week’s games
With the 2016 Women’s PUMA F-League so open this weekend features a string of crucial outcomes as North Canberra Untouchables host Galaxy FC at the AIS Training Halls in the Saturday matinee (12pm), Dural Warriors face Vic Vipers at Dural Sport & Leisure Centre on Saturday afternoon (1pm), Boomerangs tackle South Brisbane at the AIS Training Halls on Saturday afternoon (4pm) and East Coast Heat play Vipers at Valentine Sports Park that evening (6pm).
On Sunday morning North Canberra take on South Brisbane at the AIS Training Halls (9am) as Boomerangs meet Galaxy at Lyneham Hockey Centre (9am).