It was cold, wet and muddy at Fairfield Park on Sunday but didn’t dampen the spirits of the Senior Womens team even when they went down 2-0 inside 7 minutes to the Yarra Jets who we had beaten 12-2 just last week.
The girls hit back immediately and within sixty seconds they had recovered one goal as Sara Alberici launched a low strike from the edge of the area. Not long after Caitlin Gresier got into the action with another long range shot, this time from 25 yards out, which skidded across the mud into the net and more importantly delivered the equaliser.
If one goal in the first half wasn’t enough, Caitlin was back at it again putting South in front. She nutmegged the defender, with a style that would rival Nick Epifano, before delivering the goal from just outside the area. A small defensive lapse gave away a free kick on the edge of the area just minutes before the break and Yarra Jets capitalised drawing scores level once again at the end of the first half.
After the break, South would come out the more aggressive and were quickly rewarded. Goal scorers Sara and Caitlin would link up again, this time Sara serving as the play maker down the left, crossing and setting up Caitlin who made not mistake recording her hat-trick. Sara’s pace proved an advantage just five minutes later as she found herself in the books again hitting the net to deliver the final scoreline, a 3-5 victory.
After the match, smfc.com.au spoke with central defender Deryal Aziz who shared her thoughts on the match saying “the conditions were definitely a little difficult out there today. The pitch was really small, wet and muddy but we can’t use that as an excuse. We didn’t perform at our best today and really should have achieved more on the scoreboard to improve our goal difference, especially knowing how they played from the match last week.”
“We’ve lost a lot of players to injuries in the first half of the year, we’ve bought up a lot of players from State League 2 and the Reserves. We have all taken it upon ourselves to help develop those younger players, talking out on the pitch and encouraging them.”
“It’s been a while since we’ve had our best team on the park. Even when that line-up does make it on to the pitch, there is a lot of improvement for us all as individuals and as a team. As the weeks go on we’ll continue to work together, improving our skills and really looking at the mistakes we make during matches and learning from them.”
“Our backline today was very young and it was very different out there. I have played with those girls before but its been a while since we were together. We focused on just playing the way we would normally play. Dakota [Thyssen] had a great game out there today and I was really impressed with Alexia [Karatzikos] in goal, she did really well playing the full match.”
Lexi Anastassiou has recently joined the club and has made an immediate impact with her experience in the midfield. She was very comfortable on the ball with the pace of play and her touch provided a number of attacking opportunities out of the centre of the park. She reflected positively on the match telling smfc.com.au “we played really well toward the end and pushed the ball around a lot better. At the start it was a bit off as we haven’t played together that much, we were getting used to each other. Towards the end, everyone knocked the ball around well, we pushed forward a lot more which is what we were trying to do getting more players forward. The ball didn’t go into the back of the net that much but overall it was a good game.”
Coach Socrates Nicolaidis continues to be flexible with the line-up each week. Balancing injuries and player availability is the task of any coach however Nicolaidis is steadfast in his commitment to recognising young talent in the club and reward their efforts with opportunities at the top level. This second match against Yarra Jets was another fixture for some variety, especially with the opposition forfeiting the Reserves fixture. Giulia Mazzeo stepped up making her Senior debut and rested Seniors, Captain Alex Cheal and Shannon Foden, elected to maintain some match fitness and share their experience with younger squad dropping down to play a match with the State League 2 team.
The girls maintain their position on top of the State League 1 North West ladder, 3 points clear of Melbourne University. On Sunday they host Bundoora United at Albert Park, kick off 3:00pm.
Match Photos: Greg Oddo