Stocky’s Scribbles: Flapping in the wind

-

On a breezy and sometimes overcast day at the Darebin International Sports Center, it was from my inconspicuous sideline I watched the Monbulk Rangers manage to peg back the fast starting NTC Girls to record their maiden win of the SportsMart Women’s Premier League season, a 3-2 result, on Saturday afternoon.

Words and images by Craig Stockdale

I had the prime position to view the goals from Janna Lawson and Beattie Goad early in the match showing positive signs for the young NTC team but as the match progressed, Monbulk’s Nikki Ceeney cleverly chipped two goals high into the back of net with the icing on the cake coming from the talented Melbourne Victory midfielder Emily Hulbert sealing the game for Monbulk in the dying minutes.

Having just stepped off the plane from completing another stage of his UEFA Pro Diploma in the Italian Federation, NTC coach Joe (Pepe) Montemurro had a spring in his step on the back of a good performance last week against Heidelberg as he strode past my vantage point.

Several injuries had impacted the selection process but with youth on his side Montemurro placed faith in his number one keeper Jamie Brown guarding the goal line along with talented defenders Jamee Williams, Jade Feakes, Sky Jensen and Giulia Sepe.

In the kitchen he went with the Taranto twins (Adriana and Melissa) and Edith Fordyce-Croker who were to feed Noel Boersma, Beattie Goad and Janna Lawson up front. The latter two delivered last weeks victory up forward and I was looking forward to seeing them ply their trade again.

As I flapped in the wind at the southern end of the pitch, the NTC Girls were pressing hard on the Monbulk midfield searching for an early mistake – both sides looking to settle a quick score to assert themselves on the match. Monbulk had their chances along with a rattling of the cross bar by NTC forward Janna Lawson that richoted at speed back into play but no score.

Continuing their pressure, the NTC Girls created some deft passages of play through the midfield culminating in a left foot through ball from Beattie Goad that found the running Noel Boersma squirt home a shot that got tangled in the legs of the Monbulk keeper Matika Kamoda and allow Janna Lawson to stroll into the goal and post the first major of the game for the NTC.

Minutes later, Beattie Goad once again gained control of the ball playing number nine and with precision footwork and lightning speed, cut a swathe through the Monbulk defensive line and rounded the goal keeper to finesse a cute left foot tap into the net and post the second major for NTC of the afternoon. WOW – what a start from NTC and all up my end of the pitch.

Now it was at this time that I expected Beattie to acknowledge my presence – maybe cut across and at least perform a dance to celebrate her success with me or even kangaroo box me like a well-known Socceroo does after he scores.

I am about Beattie’s size at 1.53M or 5 feet tall, slim and slender with a shiny yellow and red check coat. Pretty slick looking and perfect I thought but not even a sideways look from Goad as she raced back to the middle of the pitch to resume play. Shattered I was………

The NTC girls continued to play good possession football for the remainder of the half transitioning the ball out of defense and moving it through the midfield for the running forwards to again take shots on goal.

A big opportunity came in the 38th minute mark when a Georgia Alberti through ball saw the running centre back Maddie Stockdale play the ball up the right side of the pitch with the resultant right foot cross floating to the far post where Janna Lawson headed the ball into the ground only to see the Monbulk keeper scramble a great save and deny the NTC their third major for the game.

Several more chances went begging from the boots of the NTC Girls and these chances would be telling on the score line but as we know, it’s not all about the result. The brand of football was excellent to the half-way point and the NTC girls certainly had the better of the possession for the half.

Just as the half time whistle loomed, I peered across the pitch and saw Monbulk’s Nikki Ceeney take advantage of both the gusting wind and a well-placed volley that resulted in a delicate chip over the head of NTC Keeper Jamie Brown and into the top of the net to register the first goal for Monbulk. They were back in the hunt at 2 goals to 1 down.

Having spent the last five years flapping in the wind at Darebin, it brought me great pleasure to see some old faces in the crowd. These faces were not old but the young, talented and attractive faces in the form of the Matildas goal keeper Brianna Davey and her partner in crime, left back Steph Catley.

From my position, I have seen countless runs, crosses and shots on goal from The Melbourne Victory Captain along with the amazing aerial leaps, ground dives and 100 metre drop kicks from the boot of the indefatigable keeper. How good it was to see two of our past NTC Girls make the effort to come out and support the young talent on display and acknowledge my presence – even if it was a wink. J

As the teams paraded past my point for the second half, one sensed that Monbulk would be desperate to register early and tie up the scoreboard. Sure enough, nine minutes into the second half saw Nikki Ceeney again step up for Monbulk and with another incredible shot from outside the box, thwart the efforts of NTC keeper Jamie Brown to register the equaliser into the top left hand corner.

Not much anyone could do about that shot as it was a cracker – two all and plenty of time in the match left for a decider to be netted by either side.

As the wind’s momentum picked up and my coat flapped faster, NTC were pushing hard to register the winner with Beattie Goad, Janna Lawson and Noel Boersma continuing to pepper the goals. The Taranto twins and Edith Fordyce-Croker also had opportunities in front of goal to register the winner but the Monbulk Keeper remained steadfast in defense.

Several Monbulk counterattacks started from the boots of Emma Heckenberg and Emily Hulbert and in the 65th minute mark, the Monbulk captain Alicia McKillen made a great run ending with a one-on-one with NTC Keeper Jamie Brown – this one going to Brown with a wonderful save to deny Monbulk the lead and potentially the win.

The NTC team knew it was now or never and they continued to hammer crosses into the box from both wings but were unable to find a passage to goal. Several attempts were denied by the Monbulk keeper as she was kept very busy by the tirade of attempts from the NTC Girls.

Just as the game looked like it was heading for the draw, up stepped the classy Emily Hulbert for Monbulk. Hulbert pushed forward and pressured the NTC defensive line searching for an opportunity and in the dying minutes of the match, pounced with a right foot blinder from way outside the box that crashed into the cross bar and across the line into the back of the net.

What a game – full of twists and turns and ups and downs for both teams but played in great spirit and with some very good Victorian talent on display.

As the teams cooled down, I was wrenched from the ground by Pete joining my three counterparts in a horizontal position that led me back to the darkness of the storage room behind the canteen.

Once again I had seen some great work from another band of NTC Girls and although the result was not what the majority had wished for, the talent and skills on display were again of the highest caliber right across the pitch.

NTC U17 Girls 2 (Lawson, Goad) defeated by Monbulk Rangers 3 (Ceeney 2, Hulbert) at State Football Centre

NTC U17 Girls: 1. Jamie BROWN (GK), 2. Giulia SEPE, 3. Jamee WILLIAMS, 4. Jade FEAKES, 5. Sky JENSEN, 6. Adriana TARANTO, 8. Melissa TARANTO, 11. Noel BOERSMA, 17. Edith FORDYCE-CROKER, 18. Beattie GOAD, 19. Janna LAWSON

Interchange: 16. Sabahat REXHEP (GK), 9. Lexi ANASTASSIOU, 12. Alexi GARCIA, 14. Madeline STOCKDALE, 15. Georgia ALBERTI

Monbulk Rangers: 1. Marika KAMODA (GK), 5. Aliesha WHETHAM, 17. Eliza JOHNS, 8. Tanya NEWMAN, 10. Jen CAMERON, 4. Emma HECKENBERG, 12. Emily HULBERT, 16. Monique NOGUEIRA, 7. Erin DOUGHTY, 9. Alicia McKILLEN (c), 6. Bec SABER

Interchange: Mia KIRKHAM (GK), 2. Natalie DOOLAN 3. Nikki CEENEY, 13. Dana TAMOS, 14. Amelia PEGG

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required