In the battle between the experienced and defending champion Sydney City Eagles outfit led by Roy Cowie and the young energetic Inner West Allstars under the watchful eye of Joe Baldacci, it was the older heads which prevailed with a comprehensive victory and a lesson in clinical finishing in the McDonald’s Futsal Premier League Open Women’s fixture.
The game started in a frenetic pace with Renee Tomkins having the games first shot on goal after a mere 18 seconds.
The Eagles slick passing game was opening the Allstars defence at will but it was Natasha Lo Giudice who had the Allstars best chance before a good recovery from Tomkins shut down the opportunity.
5 minutes in, Melissa Khoury in the Eagles goal launched a ball which any NFL quarter back would’ve been proud of down court to Lauren Vosota who perfectly controlled the ball with her thigh only for the reigning Player of the year Fabiana Perfillio to shoot wide.
Tomkins was in the thick of all good things coming from the Eagles and it was her shot in the 8th minute of the game which led to a great save from Amanda Horafios to push wide the goal bound effort.
A poor pass by Petinos was intercepted by Tomkins who then had it stolen back by Allstar skipper Scarlato which opened an opportunity for a 2 on 1 but her stray ball to the oncoming Lo Giudice went begging and so did the opportunity.
From the restart a superb ball from the centre of the court by Tomkins caught out Lo Giudice and found an oncoming Jodie Bain who connected well with the ball but some good defending from Caridad snuffed out the chance.
Some more poor defending by the Allstars this time by Petinos allowed Amanda Bowering to get in behind her defender and from the resulting corner the ball flashed across the goal and only needed the faintest of touches from Melissa Link on the back post but unfortunately for her and the Eagles the ball was just too quick.
The best chance of the game came in the 16th minute when another attempted missile by Khoury was intercepted by Juliana Dundovic, who quickly passed the ball ahead to Lo Giudice, who turned away sharply from Brooke Cowie as well as drawing Amanda Bowering from the quickly oncoming Dundovic who continued her great run and was found by a superb Lo Giudice pass, but a brilliant point blank save by Khoury stopped what seemed to be certain goal and made amends for her poor ball throw.
Only a minute later a combination of some very slick Eagles passing and once again some poor tracking by the Allstars led to the games opening goal.
Khoury played a simple ball to Stephanie Ascone who turned inside and played a great ball in behind the Allstar defence for the oncoming Renee Tomkins who unselfishly instead of shooting, squared the ball delightfully for Ascone who continued her run forward to tap home what would be the easiest finish of her young career.
The final chance of the half fell to the returning Natalie Spirovski who unleashed a low powerful strike but was easily accounted for by Khoury.
The opening few minutes of the second stanza went chance free until a delightful ball by Natalie Spirovski cut through the Eagles defence like a warm knife to butter, found Lo Giudice who connected well but was once again denied by another great save by Melissa Khoury.
The Eagles second goal came 7 minutes into the second half, Helen Petinos who had looked dangerous in attack so far throughout the game committed the cardinal sin and attempted to beat her defender from the centre of the court, the ever green Jodie Bain dispossessed her and took off down the court and struck a well taken shot from the sideline to double the Eagles lead.
The 3rd and final nail in the Allstar coffin came only a minute later.
A mid court clash between Bowering and Dundovic left the young Allstar on the ground withering in pain, Bowering picked up the ball and played a swift 1-2 with Perfillio, with superb vision, Bowering on receiving the ball played the ball one touch to the open Jodie Bain who controlled and slotted the ball under the oncoming Horafios to make it 3-0.
The Allstars tried to hit back and some nice play by the Allstars best 2 players in Scarlato and Caridad almost created a chance, but that too was snuffed out by the ever alert Khoury in the Eagles goal.
Jodie Bain then had a great chance to seal her hat trick after she intercepted a poor cross court ball from Caridad but Horafios stood firm to make a good save. Only second later the Allstars counted and Lo Giudice played a delightful ball to Dundovic who came sliding in but once again Khoury was up to the task.
Vosota then had an opportunity after a great ball by Bain but a combination of good defending by Scarlato and oncoming pressure by Horafios led to Vosota skying the ball wide.
It wasn’t until late that the seemingly unbeatable was beaten, a kick in by the quick thinking Lo Giudice found Helen Petinos who skinned past 3 Eagles defenders and delightfully finished past the on coming Khoury.
In doing what they assumingly should’ve done earlier, the Allstars began to press the Eagles defence and conjured up some good chances.
First it was Lo Giudice who had a shot blocked and then Lo Giudice was once again on hand after a nicely threaded ball by Spirovski but again couldn’t convert whilst Dundovic also had a shot stopped by the Eagles keeper.
Whilst the Allstars huffed and puffed late on, there was no blowing the Eagles house down as the experienced Eagles side cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory to remain unbeaten whilst the Allstars must re group against competition favourites the Campelltown Quake next week.
Standout performers for the Eagles were Goalkeeper Melissa Khoury and Renee Tomkins whilst for the Allstars, Scarlato and Caridad played well.
The Eagles look the goods to quite possibly go back to back, they have a solid defence with a great goalkeeper, whilst the young Allstars shouldn’t be written off just yet but must improve defensively if they want to be players during the finals series.
Sydney City Eagles 3 (Ascone 18′, Link 28′, Bain 29′)
Inner West Allstars 1 (Petinos 34′)
Sydney City Eagles: #5 Perfillio, #11 Khoury, #7 Tomkins, #6 Bain, #2 Vosota – #9 Cowie, #8 Link, #10 Bowering, #4 Ascone
Inner West Allstars: #1 Horafios, #23 Caridad, #25 Scarlato, #28 Lo Giudice, #27 Petinos – #33 Logarzo, #38 Pavlicevic, #24 Dundovic, #29 Spirovski
Goals: 18’ Ascone (SCE), 28’ Link (SCE), 29’ Bain (SCE), 34’ Petinos (IWA)
Cautions: 34’ Petinos (IWA) 38’ Bain (SCE)