Slice of Cheese

PFD WSL: Round 11 Review

Solstice Photography

Round 11 in the PFD Women’s Super League went largely as expected with the top 3 sides in the hunt for the league title all securing victories to keep up the pace ahead of a massive Round 12 that will have significant ramifications on the ladder. University provided the only real shock when then they claimed a point against Taroona in a surprise result up at Olinda Grove. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come as we tick past the halfway mark of the season and into the run home where dropped points from favoured sides could make all the difference in settling the eventual champions.

In the opening game of the round on the Saturday afternoon Launceston City did what was expected of them to claim a 5-0 win over the Kingborough Lions. Whilst they remain more of a long shot chance at this stage, sitting some 9 points off the pace at present, their fate remains in their own hands if they can get on a roll in the back half of the season. They now face a defining 3 week stretch that will show if they are realistic chances or not, taking on Taroona, Olympia and Ulverstone.  If they take 9 points from those three games then they are well and truly back in the race. They did the business against the Lions easily enough with Keilin Fagan netting a hat-trick on route to their 5-0 win. After being well held in the Cup Final it was a timely reminder to the potential the young striker has, her second was a wonderful individual effort, leaving defenders eating her dust before picking out the bottom corner. Given it was a game they were never expected to take points from, the Lions won’t be too disheartened as it was an improvement on the 15 they shipped against Olympia the week prior. With Clarence and University in the next 2 weeks, they know those are the games that really matter and they showed enough positive signs in this to build from into those fixtures.

In the game of the Round on Sunday, Olympia claimed a 4-2 win over Ulverstone in an important road win for the Warriors. The trip to take on Ulverstone looms as a tough one for any side and Olympia were pushed all the way. Lucy Johnson continued in her rich vein of goal scoring form to open things up before Danielle Mitchell responded within minutes to level things up. Mitchell has been one of the players of the season in 2017 and she was a force in this game keeping her side in the contest with an all action display. The Warriors started to click as the first half wore on and a brace to Maddie Blackman and another goal to Makoda Ishida had them well on the way to victory with a half time lead of 4-1. Ulverstone were in no mood to cave though and pushed hard for a way back into the game throughout the second half, eventually pulling back another through the outstanding Mitchell and coming close on multiple occasions, forcing Margot Johnston into a couple of key saves. It would prove too big of a lead to reel in however and the game ended with the Warriors back on top of the table, albeit temporarily. They get their chance to make it permanent when they meet Zebras next Friday night in what looms as a blockbuster clash that will go a long way to settling the league.

Elsewhere University claimed their third point of the season with a 1-1 draw against Taroona. After losing the last meeting between the sides 8-1, it was quite the turn around and was thanks in no small part to Emmeline Van Beek in the Students net, who made a number of key saves to keep the scores level as Taroona fired off a raft of shots. In front of her the likes of Sanderson and Bowditch were just as important, putting in key defensive shifts. Yet, even with Van Beek’s heroics in net, Taroona had more than enough chances to win the game and it was their profligacy that ultimately cost them. Too often when players had space in the box they blazed over the bar or tugged their shots wide.  They created more than enough to win but scoring has been an issue for Taroona this year and it’s what separates them from the top three at this point. Their defence is comparable, conceding 17 in 11 games, and given they shipped 11 goals in the opening 3 weeks, they have only allowed 6 in their past 8 games which is the least in the league over that time frame, but goals remain an issue. They couldn’t find their shooting boots in this one, and University took advantage, putting in the type of defensive performance they are capable of but haven’t been able to consistently produce. With a winnable game against Kingborough next week, their challenge is to maintain that level and go on to claim a breakthrough win.

That left Hobart Zebras looking reclaim top spot in the final game of the round against Clarence and they did so with a minimal fuss. Zebras entered as warm favourites having comfortably won the two previous meetings between the sides but they probably didn’t expect it to come quite so easily against what has previously proven a tough reds side to break down. They didn’t give up a single shot to their opponents in an utterly dominant performance. The only real threat to Shelley Cook in this one was hypothermia. It was the opposite problem for the Clarence defence who actually defended pretty well as a unit, but they were just under constant pressure. The likes of Dixon and Holmes had very good games in fact, but there is only so much they could do. In goals Vanderniet was under siege, she made 12 saves for the game as Zebras fired off some 26 shots, as with the game tucked away it seemed everyone was after the highlight reel goal from down town. Vanderniet was simply superb in net, plucking a host of shots out of the top corner. Monique Undy was the unlikely scorer to kick off proceedings when she thundered one in off the crossbar with the first real chance of the game and she would be joined on the score sheet by Nichols, Kannegiesser and Morris, highlighting the goal scoring options Zebras have in attack. The play of the game came from Kayla Mason though when she ran the length of the ground down the left to assist on the Nichols goal. It means Zebras reclaimed top spot ahead of next week’s top of the table clash with the Olympia Warriors.

The last Warriors v Zebras game was an arm wrestle- Solstice Photography

 

FFT Media and Communications Coordinator, Everton tragic, long form journalism devotee, Andrea Pirlo enthusiast and admirer of the parked bus.