The Senior Women’s team travelled to Fawkner Park on Sunday afternoon to take on South Yarra FC in what was a top of the table clash.
Coach Socrates Nicolaidis returned to lead the girls in this match, having spent the last week in Canberra pursuing his coaching A-Licence. Rachel Jarvis also returned to the pitch for the first time following her recent injury. Both teams were undefeated in the Women’s State League One North-West and as such, the fixture was expected to be a tough one.
South made an impressive start and had the bulk of possession but couldn’t find success on the scoreboard, though both teams had chances to hit the back of the net. Hayley Drain stood tall in goal, making a number of quality saves to prevent Yarra from scoring in one-on-one situations.
The South girls came out firing after the break and continued to have good control of the ball. Sara Alberici was having a superb game up front, forcing saves from the Yarra keeper consistently. After 70 minutes, Alberici latched on to a poor back-pass and went one-on-one with the keeper to finally break the deadlock and put the visitors in front.
Strong defence was the aim of the game from that point on and in the final few minutes Yarra almost scored the equaliser. It wasn’t to be though and South pushed through for a sixth win to remain the only team undefeated and with a 100% winning record in the division in 2016.
Caitlin Greiser spoke to Eliza Gleadell about the result post-match. “We played a good game, particularly in the second half where we came out raring to go and got the winning goal. Our defence was great today. As always Deryal [Aziz] is our big defender who can get rid of it, clear it out when she needs to but also play it on the ground as well. Renee [Laszczak] did really well in the midfield controlling play. The key positive for us today is that we played our style of football.”
Goal scorer Sara Alberici also took a moment from her post-match celebrations to talk with smfc.com.au. “It was pretty tough until the second half. It was a good start for us. They are a physical side and a good team so we tried to play the ball around as much as you can. Keep the ball on the ground and keep it moving. For my goal, to be honest it was very lucky. But we try and try and try, I am so happy. I think we deserved to win and be first on the ladder.”
The girls continue their journey of three matches in eight days when they travel to the Veneto Club on Wednesday evening for the Team App Cup Quarter Finals. South are one of four State League teams remaining in the competition and now face traditional rivals FC Bulleen Lions, who are currently on top of the Women’s NPL Victoria as the best performing team. No Women’s NPL Victoria team has so far lost to a State League team in the Team App Cup, so the opportunity presents itself for a big upset and also the chance to measure our squad performance against Bulleen.
Next Sunday the women will face the strong attacking Melbourne University team. The uni squad are in form and are certainly a team to watch this year. In their first seven matches they have scored an impressive 31 goals and amassed a goal difference of +20.
Coach Nicolaidis has the girls clearly focused on one match at a time and that means Bulleen at Veneto Club this coming Wednesday night.