South Australia 1 (Shannon Adams 31’) ACT 8 (Michaela Day 2’, Michelle Aurousseau 4’, Hayley Buckingham 5’, Becky Roche 9’, Ashleigh Palombi 18’, Erin Clout 26’, 39’ Nikola Orgill 28’)
Reigning champions the ACT made it two from two with another rock-solid display laying down their marker with a comfortable 8-1 win over South Australia. The damage was done in the first half as the ACT raced into a 5-0 lead, barely pausing for breath between goals and blowing South Australia off the park with a performance full of positive futsal. They were four up inside the first ten minutes of play after taking the lead in only the second minute. Michaela Day was the scorer, bundling the ball in from close range and colliding with a post as a consequence, after good approach work from the lively Ashleigh Palombi. Michelle Aurousseau made it 2-0 minutes later with a firm cross shot into the top corner before Hayley Buckingham swept home at the end of a nice passing move. Becky Roche was next on the act showing her persistence to round the ‘keeper and roll the ball home and it was five before the break as Palombi bagged her second in two games. The best goal of the lot was the seventh with Nikola Orgill blasting home from a brilliantly executed set piece at the top of the area moments after Erin Clout had made it six. Clout took her tournament tally to three with minutes remaining to wrap up the win. South Australia, for whom Rachael Hayward was in good form, recorded a consolation goal when Shannon Adams finished off a four pass move from close in.
NSW Lightning 1 (Kathryn Mladineo 21’) NSW Thunder 0
NSW Lightning claimed a narrow 1-0 win in a feisty encounter against neighbours NSW Thunder thanks to a solitary goal from Kathryn Mladineo a minute into the second half. Mladineo hit the match winner seconds after the resumption when she broke away from her marker and rounded Melanie McCauley to slot home from the angle. That goal proved to be the difference in a game that was played with the intensity of a Grand Final. Laura Donnelly went close in the early stages for the Thunder who enjoyed more of the possession but were held at bay by a stubborn Lightning defence. As such both goalkeepers, Sarah Easthope (Lightning) and McCauley (Thunder) were redundant, neither needing to make a save of note in the first ten minutes. When called into action however McCauley was alive to deny Elisha Williams with a smothering block as the pace increased, Easthope mirroring the stop at the other end to deny Jo-Anne Saliba. But with the defences standing firm the teams changed around all square at 0-0. After Mladineo had struck the game settled into a pattern of Thunder pressing hard and Lightning defending superbly to deny them time and space. Even withdrawing their ‘keeper for the fifth player didn’t work for Thunder and the closest they came to rescuing a point was when Renee Tomkins fired in a trademark missile that clattered back off the bar otherwise Dana Buttigieg, on for the second half, was unbeatable.
ACT 0 NSW Lightning 2 (Dominique Caridad 31’, Logan Garard 33’)
NSW Lightning made sure that they would end Day 2 of the Open Women’s competition on top of the ladder after completing a NSW Thunder/ACT victory double with a high intensity 2-0 win over the ACT in front of a decent early evening crowd at the AIS Arena. And the Lightning thoroughly deserved their win, putting on a perfect tactical display that frustrated the ACT at source. Luisa Marzotto excelled in goal for the ACT denying Dominique Caridad in the opening minutes and keeping in her team in the contest for large periods. In what was an even first half there was little to trouble either shot-stopper with Michelle Aurousseau having the best chance for the hosts, denied by a good block by Sarah Easthope. After the break it was Lightning who struck the decisive blows, scoring twice in two minutes. The first was the perfect example of being alive in transition as Lightning turned over ball in centre court and allowed Caridad to break away and finish with a composed shot underneath Marzotto. Two minutes later came the killer blow as the impressive Logan Garard burst onto a bouncing ball and thrashed a shot past Marzotto for 2-0. With a lead to defend, Lightning sat back and allowed the ACT plenty of the ball but replacement ‘keeper Dana Buttigieg was again in top form making excellent stops from Hayley Buckingham and Ashleigh Palombi as the Lightning struck.
NSW Thunder 2 (Laura Donnelly 35’, Jo-Anne Saliba 40’) Victoria 1 (Kristin Stensholt 3’)
A goal with five seconds remaining from Jo-Anne Saliba, scrambling the ball home from right on the line gave NSW Thunder a narrow 2-1 win over Victoria in the final match of the day. With both teams in pressing need of a win the contest was understandably cagey at times but that in no way detracted from the quality on show. Victoria struck first blood in only the third minute, dispossessing Thunder mid-court and working the ball to Kristin Stensholt who drilled a shot inside Tani Rosekelly’s near post. The response was almost immediate, Elizabeth Sarcevic in the Victorian goal saving well from a fierce shot by Thunder’s Saliba as the tension mounted. Sarcevic was called into action again seven minutes from half-time flinging herself to her left to push away a fizzing drive from Claudia Fruscalzo to preserve the slender lead at the interval. Thunder, staring at an unexpected second defeat in a row, needed to find their form in the second twenty and they started on the front foot. And, after Victoria denied them for 15 minutes, they found their goal. Renee Tomkins and Laura Donnelly exchanged rapid-fire passes with Donnelly slotting home. Melanie McCauley saved a late shot from the 10m mark from Madelaine Richardson before Saliba netted the match-winner as time ran out.
3 Erin CLOUT (ACT)
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, Jo-Anne SALIBA (NSW Thunder), Shannon ADAMS, Jamilla HULL (South Australia), Melissa MISSAILIDIS, Kristin STENSHOLT, Liesl WOODS (Victoria)