Victorian womens team lose out to ACT in final showdown
ACT 4 (Rachel Crittenden 1’, 15’, Louisa Marzotto 8’, Becky Roche 16’) Victoria 1 (Stephanie Tanti 33’)
ACT opened the 2013 FFA National Futsal Championship Open Women’s competition in some style with a comfortable 4-1 win over Victoria in what was a real statement of intent from Kirstian Collins’ team. The ACT had a dream start to the match taking the lead after only twelve seconds. From the kick off they burst onto the offensive and Rachel Crittenden latched onto a neat flick to stab the ball past the shell-shocked Victorian goalkeeper Candice Sallama. The goal settled any early nerves and the home team proceeded to dominate play in the opening half and deservedly doubled the lead in the 8th minute. It was bizarre goal though as ACT goalkeeper Louisa Marzotto collected a Victorian attempt and, spotting her opposite number well off her line, sent an inch-perfect drop kick arching over Sallama’s head and into the net. It was almost the perfect first twenty minutes from the ACT who added to their tally with two goals in a minute as Rachel Crittenden broke away to score before Becky Roche hammered in the fourth sixty seconds later to send ACT 4-0 up at the break. Victoria came out fighting after the break with Emily Hulbert a stand out but the ACT was in a resolute mood and was proving tough to break down. Victoria deserved some reward for a better second half and Stephanie Tanti pulled one back but it made little difference to the final outcome as the ACT romped home.
Victoria 3 (Stephanie Tanti 22’, Krystal McCluskey 23’, Tina Benoit 34’) NSW Regional 1 (Ashley Francis 35’)
Victoria bounced back from a Round 1 defeat by seeing off the challenge of NSW Regional 3-1 in an excellent match to kick off Day 2 of the Open Women’s competition.With both teams having been defeated in their opening round match on Day One this fixture took on extra significance as Victoria and NSW Regional went looking for their first point of the championships. An energetic and tight match was the result with neither team able to assert their authority on the opening twenty minutes with the respective goalkeepers rarely troubled early on. The combination between Stephanie Tanti and Emily Hulbert seemed most likely to pay dividends for Victoria and so it proved two minutes into the second half as Hulbert fed a sweet pass to Tanti who slotted into the far corner past Sophie Harper in the NSW Regional goal. Barely sixty seconds later the lead was doubled as a neat passing move culminated in Krystal McCluskey finding room to bang in the second. NSW Regional tried their best to get back into the contest with Tara Murphy pulling the strings from the back but Victoria held firm and added a third via a venomous left foot shot from Tina Benoit with six minutes remaining. NSW Regional though did have the consolation of a finely taken goal from Ashley Francis but Victoria deserved the points.
Victoria 0 NSW Metro 3 (Zoeie Redman 7’, Sarah Seamaan 13’, Renee Tomkins 18’)
NSW Metro remained unbeaten after three rounds of the FFA National Futsal Championships after recording a 3-0 win over Victoria in the first of the afternoon matches in the Open Women’s competition. After a fairly even start it was NSW Metro who finally took the initiative and created the first goal of the game. The Blue-clad NSW players swarmed onto the offensive and the ball was worked to Zoeie Redman whose eye for goal in these championships continued as she unleashed a low shot that beat Candace Sallama to her left to register her third goal of the campaign. Victoria recovered well from this setback but was given a tough task as the Metro went 2-0 up six minutes later, Sarah Seamaan slicing through the Victorian defence like a hot knife through butter to batter a shot past Sallama. Renee Tomkins, who has played a bit-part role in the championships to date, added a third just before half-time in a brief cameo as NSW Metro seized total control. Metro eased off a little in the second half as Victoria upped the tempo in the knowledge that they needed to find a way back into the match if they were to keep their Grand Final hopes alive, however they were unable to break through a rock solid Metro backline and the defending champions marched on and look good for a place in the showdown on Friday.
Victoria 2 (Tina Benoit 32’, Sarah Crittenden (og) 39’) ACT 1 (Rachel Crittenden 33’)
A last minute own goal gave Victoria a surprise 2-1 win over the ACT as Stephanie Tanti’s shot was diverted into her own net by an ACT defender to keep Victoria in the Grand Final hunt.As has been the norm in the first match of the day for most of the matches in the 2013 FFA National Futsal Championship the match took some time to get going as the energy and commitment of both teams was at its highest with fresh legs perhaps the cause. The match was a helter-skelter affair with little in the way of meaningful chances in the opening twenty minutes as Luisa Marzotto in the ACT goal and Candance Sallama, her opposite number, virtually unemployed throughout. The second half was better as Tina Benoit and Stephanie Tanti made sure Marzotto was alert with a couple of efforts from range. For the ACT Erin Clout and Hayley Buckingham combined well but a last ditch tackle prevented Clout from getting her shot in as the table leaders increased the pace of the encounter. Victoria, needing a win to close the gap on the top two, eventually broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute as Krystal McCluskey drew Marzotto and allowed Benoit to score in less than convincing fashion. The ACT response was immediate, a sharp attack ending with Rachel Crittenden crashing home the equaliser before Victoria stole the points late on.
NSW Regional 2 (Lauren Easton 1’, Elisha Williams 39’) Victoria 3 (Maddie Richardson 12’, Emily Hulbert 28’, Leesa Thomson (og) 37’)
Victoria came from behind to win 3-2 against NSW Regional, surviving a manic final sixty seconds to take a step closer to the Grand Final in what was a good match between two high quality squads. NSW Regional, chasing their first points of the championships, got off to a rapid-fire start with a goal after only 24 seconds. Creating space from the kick off Lauren Easton found room to thump in a shot that flashed past Candace Sallama and into the top corner of the net. It was a lead they held on to for eleven minutes until Victoria equalised with a stunner of their own. Awarded a free-kick some ten metres from goal Maddie Richardson took aim and fired a missile of a shot high past the Regional goalkeeper and into the top corner. It was the goal that turned the tide of the match as from then on in Victoria looked the more likely. Regional had their moments, with Easton at the hub of most of them, but Victoria was too strong in most aspects of the game. Emily Hulbert, who has enjoyed a stellar week, put her team in front eight minutes into the second half with a cracking strike and the result was sealed when a corner was deflected into her own net by the unfortunate Leesa Thomson. A late goal from Elisha Williams reduced the deficit but it was too late for Regional to steal a point.
NSW Metro 3 (Claire Walsh 10’, 15’, Renee Tomkins 24’) Victoria 5 (Tina Grkinjic 2’, Maddie Richardson 20’, Candice Sallama 29’, Stephanie Tanti 38’, 39’)
A brace of late goals from Stephanie Tanti secured Victoria a priceless 5-3 win over NSW Metro and a place in the Open Women’s Grand Final in an exceptional contest. Victoria took the lead in bizarre fashion in only the second minute of the game. Goalkeeper Candice Sallama sent a shot at the NSW Metro goal from inside her own half and the ball deflected off her team-mate Tina Grkinjic and looped beautifully over the head of Melanie McCauley in the Metro goal. Chasing the match NSW Metro refused to panic and worked their way back into the contest with some patient build-up. And they were rewarded with a brace of wonderfully taken goals from Claire Walsh who found room in a crowded final third twice within five minutes to slot into the net and turn the match on its head. Maddie Richardson fired Victoria level right on half-time as the game heated up. It took four minutes of the second half for Renee Tomkins to restore the NSW Metro lead before McCauley brilliantly saved a Richardson penalty to keep NSW ahead. Their lead was finally chalked out in the 29th minute as Victorian ‘keeper Sallama lobbed her opposite number with a stunning effort from her own half in a ding-dong affair.
ACT 2 (Sarah Crittenden 17’, Rachel Crittenden 39’) Victoria 0
Goals from the Crittenden sisters, Sarah and Rachel, in each half saw the ACT victorious in the Open Women’s Grand Final with a 2-0 win over Victoria. The two teams had seen plenty of each other during the week and were evenly matches across the tie with very little to choose between them. Chances were at a premium in the first half with respective goalkeepers Luisa Marzotto and Candice Sallama unbeatable and their defences solid. The opening goal eventually arrived after 17minutes and it was well crafted as Becky Roche freed Sarah Crittenden who hammered her shot into the top corner of the net. Victoria battled well after the break and with Stephanie Tanti and Emily Hulbert in possession, always looked dangerous. The ACT though are vastly experienced at this type of Futsal and they weathered the expected Victorian storm and held on restricting their opponents to efforts from distance that failed to trouble Player of the Tournament Marzotto. As time began to run out Victoria attempted to force their way into the game and paid the penalty in the 39thminute. Sallama misjudged a Marzotto throw and Rachel Crittenden stole in to head into an empty net and secure the win for the ACT.
Match reports provided by Russ Gibbs
FFA National Futsal Championships