Report on the Day 1 of the FFA Nationals
NSW Thunder began the defence of their Women’s FFA Futsal National Championship crown with a pulsating 2-2 draw against Queensland on the opening day of the 33rd National Futsal tournament in Canberra. However, the Thunder were indebted to a strike with virtually the last kick of the match from Stephanie Haim to rescue a draw after it seemed that Queensland had stolen all three points moments earlier. Tani Rosekelly in the Thunder goal took the decision to run the ball into the opposition half and the option turned out to be faulty as she lost possession and watched in horror as Marybeth Banks long-range shot deflected off a Thunder defender and looped into the back of the net. Haim’s immediate reply ensured parity and added to an earlier goal from player of the match Renee Tomkins. Tomkins had fired Thunder into a half-time lead before a thumping free-kick from Melissa Weckert brought Queensland level for the first time.
Meanwhile the hosts ACT Cobras stumbled to a disappointing 1-2 loss to a fired up NSW Lightning team that look capable of causing a big stir in the Open Women’s age group. A tense and nervy first twenty minutes was punctuated by flashed of excellence in particular from the Lightning’s Rose Scarlato. It was therefore somewhat fitting that Scarlato gave the Lightning the lead with a precisely placed shot that beat ACT keeper Luisa Marzotto low down to her left. NSW held the lead until midway through the second half when the Cobras got back on level terms. A Lightning move was broken up mid-court allowing Sabrina Spinapolice to advance on goal and unselfishly square a pass for Hayley Buckingham to slot into he empty net. No sooner had the Cobras got back into the match though then NSW replied in the positive with Catherine Mladineo firing high into the net after ACT coughed up cheap possession. Despite the best efforts of the combative Sarah Crittenden the Cobras were unable to get back level and NSW Lightning recovered a well-deserved win.
The final game of an intriguing opening day’s action saw Southern NSW pip ACT Colts at the death with a 2-1 win. Natalie Spirovski gave Southern the lead in the first half and it was an advantage, albeit a slender one that they held for large swathes of the match. The Colts drew level thanks to a close range finish from Clare Munro but Southern always held the upper hand. Natalie Lacey in the Colts goal saved a free-shot from 10m from Sammy Woods and Spirovski slammed a second effort against the bar but the NSW team had the last laugh with twenty seconds remaining when Sarah Yatim scored a late winner.
NSW Thunder 2 (Renee Tomkins, Stephanie Haim) Queensland 2 (Melissa Weckert, Marybeth Banks)
NSW Lightning 2 (Rose Scarlato, Catherine Mladineo) ACT Cobras 1 (Hayley Buckingham)
ACT Colts 1 (Clare Munro) Southern NSW 2 (Natalie Spirovski, Sarah Yatim)
3pts – WIN, 2pts – Score Draw, 1pt – No-Score Draw
1 Hayley BUCKINGHAM (ACT Cobras), Clare MUNRO (ACT Colts), Rose SCARLATO, Catherine MLADINEO (NSW Lightning), Stephanie HAIM, Renee TOMKINS (NSW Thunder), Marybeth BANKS, Melissa WECKERT (Queensland), Natalie SPIROVSKI, Sarah YATIM (Southern NSW)