FANTASTIC FIRST HALF TAKES PARK TO THE TOP
Albion Park maintained their perfect start to the season and in the process ascended to the top of the Grange Women’s Division 1 ladder with a three-goal victory over Wollongong United.
All three goals came in a commanding first half for Albion Park, with Renee Crowe giving Park the lead in the 8th minute before Eliza Cowan doubled their advantage in the 23rd, which was followed by a bizarre own goal seven minutes later that put the game out of United’s reach despite a stronger showing in the second half.
Crowe’s opener came off the back of a fast start in which both teams had multiple attacks. Despite playing out on the left, Crowe found herself in the middle of the park in the 8th minute, where she followed in a drive from range which was fumbled by the keeper. Quick to react, Crowe got to the ball before Aaliyah Sigabalavu in the United goal could recover and passed the ball into the back of the net.
Following further pressure on the United goal, including another chance for Crowe in the 15th minute where she narrowly missed the top right corner with an effort from outside the box, Albion Park increased their lead in the 23rd minute through Eliza Cowan. Having found space in the left-hand side of the penalty area, Cowan emphatically lashed the ball across the face of the goal and into the side netting to score.
Down 2-0, United looked to bounce back immediately and came close to reducing the deficit two minutes after conceding when Cristina Barraza flicked on a long free-kick with her head just past the left-hand upright. However, on the half-hour mark, United’s chance of a comeback became much slimmer when goalkeeper Sigabalavu conceded an own goal in unusual circumstances. Having caught an Albion Park long-shot, Sigabalavu appeared to have lost balance and made the costly error of stepping backwards and carrying the ball across the line.
In the 40th minute, Cowan had a golden opportunity to put the game to the bed when she was played through on goal and dribbled around Sigabalavu. Cowan though, failed to hit the target as her shot rebounded off the post to leave the score 3-0 at the break.
The second half was a much tighter and scrappier contest than the first half, with more yellow cards handed out between the two sides than chances created. One of the few notable chances of the half fell to Albion Park’s Sophie Zirogiannis in the 54th minute, when she was played in behind United’s defence to be one-on-one with the keeper only to be let down by a poor touch and lack of composure in front of goal which allowed Sigabalavu to gather the ball from her feet comfortably.
With United failing to mount any comeback, the score remained 3-0 which culminated in United’s first loss of the season. The team from Macedonia Park will look to get back to winning ways next week away from home when they face another tough test in University.
Meanwhile, the convincing victory from Albion Park showed why they are one the strongest teams in the competition. They will look to continue their unbeaten start to the season next round away to Thirroul.
Albion Park 3 (Renee Crowe 8’, Eliza Cowan 23’, Aaliyah Sigabalavu (OG) 30’)
Wollongong United 0
Albion Park: 1. CHESSELL Aleisha, 7. COWAN Eliza, 15. CROWE Renee, 4. DUFFY Claire, 5. HALSEY Carrie, 13. HANLY Jessica, 12. RING Brittany, 16. ROSSI Jessica, 3. RUIZ Taryn, 9. SUTTLE Casey-Leigh, 8. TASEVSKI Chelsea, 11. ZIROGIANNIS Sophie, 6. ALWERT Sarah.
Wollongong United: 1. SIGABALAVU Aaliyah, 20. ALVES Brooke, 10. BARRAZA Christina, 7. CALDERON Veronica, 11. GORGIESKI Kristen, 12. HOLLAND Narvana-Lee, 8. JOVANOVSKI Jada, 13. MCKENZIE Teisha, 17. MITRESKI Isabella, 19. PETKOVSKA Cassandra, 4. PRESTON Cassandra, 15. SANDS Brittany, 5. SHARROCK Tanika, 9. SOLEVSKA Krystal, 14. WARDLE Rikki-Lee, 2. FIELD Maya.
Interchange rule applied.
Date: 2 August 2020
Venue: Terry Reserve
Report by Nic Wilson, on Twitter @_nicwilson
Photo courtesy of Richie Wagner