Victoria 0 NSW Lightning 0
NSW Lightning grabbed a point in a 0-0 draw with Victoria in the opening match of the Open Women’s competition on Day 3 meaning that the youngsters would end the round-robin top of the table and play the fourth placed team in the semi-finals. Victoria meanwhile will need to make sure they get a positive result against South Australia tomorrow to make the last four. Victoria created the first meaningful chances, Madelaine Richardson forcing Sarah Easthope into a magnificent diving save, the Lightning goalkeeper launching herself across goal to push the fierce drive onto the angle of post and crossbar. And Richardson fizzed in a second blast later which Easthope was again equal to. Lightning threatened sporadically on the break with Logan Garard a central figure but neither team could find the breakthrough before the whistle and an even half ended in stalemate. Both teams changed their goalkeepers at the interval with Dana Buttigieg coming on for Lightning and Elizabeth Sarcevic for Victoria but still clear cut opportunities to open the scoring were at a premium. With defences sound the competitors were forced into long-range strikes which were comfortably dealt with. As such the game drifted towards its conclusion with both teams attempting to find an elusive winner that just would not come.
NSW Thunder 5 (Claire Walsh 21’, 26’, 29’, Doris Osman 23’, Rachel Perrins 32’) South Australia 2 (Renae Pantelis 7’, Rhiannon Eglinton 13’)
Laura Donnelly put in a player of the match performance as NSW Thunder came from 0-2 down to secure their semi-final place with a 5-2 win over South Australia. Donnelly created four goals for her team in a sensational second half show that SA couldn’t cope with. It was the Thunder’s Zoeie Redman who fired the first shot in anger in the opening stages but SA goalkeeper Leah Trebilcock was equal to the task, palming the ball up and onto the bar and the stopper repeated the feat minutes later with an outstanding save with an outstretched leg to deny Redman again. It was therefore somewhat against the run of play that SA took the lead after seven minutes. Renae Pantelis won the ball on half-way and fired a shot that took a deflection on its way past Thunder custodian Melanie McCauley. If that was fortunate SA got even luckier six minutes later as they went two ahead. Sandra Scalzi let fly from just inside the Thunder half and watched as the ball bounced fortuitously off the back of team mate Rhiannon Eglinton and wrong-footed McCauley. Thunder began their comeback with a superbly crafted free-kick a minute into the second half as Redman, Donnelly and Claire Walsh combined for the latter to side-foot home and they were level two minutes later, Donnelly again the architect, finding Doris Osman in front of goal to flick in. The turn-around was completed as Walsh netted twice in quick succession to claim a hat-trick and Rachel Perrins made it five.
3 Erin CLOUT (ACT), Claire WALSH (NSW Thunder)
2 Hayley BUCKINGHAM, Ashleigh PALOMBI, Becky ROCHE (ACT), Dominique CARIDAD, Ceyda CAMBAZ (NSW Lightning)
1 Michelle AUROUSSEAU, Michaela DAY, Nikola ORGILL (ACT), Logan GARARD, Kathryn MLADINEO (NSW Lightning), Laura DONNELLY, Doris OSMAN, Rachel PERRINS, Jo-Anne SALIBA (NSW Thunder), Shannon ADAMS, Rhiannon EGLINTON, Jamilla HULL, Renae PANTELIS (South Australia), Melissa MISSAILIDIS, Kristin STENSHOLT, Liesl WOODS (Victoria)