Stocky’s Scribbles: Turning the lights out

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In controversial circumstances last night, the opening game between Sandringham Women’s and the NTC U17 Girls game was halted at the 68-minute mark with half the ground cast in darkness after the lights timed out at Kingston Heath last night.

Words and images by Craig Stockdale

One could have been excused for thinking Lady Gaga was performing at Kingston Heath after a rendition of “Turning the Lights out”. With a commanding lead of 6 goals to 1, Sandringham had control over the younger NTC team but the game was abandoned by the referees and word is the teams will share the points.

As expected, the experienced and more aggressive Sandringham women’s outfit pressed high and looked to assert themselves physically on the young NTC defensive line. Keeper Jamie Brown was ably supported by Jaimee Williams, Maddy Stockdale, Sky Jensen and Annabel Martin all looking to stave off the penetration from Sandringham.

Several strong tackles in midfield set the tone of the encounter. Edith Fordyce-Crocker, Melissa Taranto and Jess Pitts were relentless on the ball and at times on the ground. The first resultant corner from an NTC deflection saw Sandringham float a cross into the box and up piped the petulant Christie Parton to head the ball over NTC keeper Jamie Brown’s head into the right hand corner of the net. It was a well-rehearsed set play and one that got Sandringham off to the start they wanted.

Within minutes of the first goal being scored, a wide pass was angled by Sandringham down the left wing to where the recipient forward Nicola Prins sprinted onto the ball and carried it deep into the left hand corner. Prins then hammered a piercing left foot cross to the front of the box where an unfortunate ricochet from the feet of NTC defender Sky Jensen saw an own goal registered for NTC – taking Sandy to a two nil lead after 15 minutes.

At this point in time, many a team would hang their heads and see out the remainder of the first half but the NTC girls instead lifted their work rate, eager to make amends for Sky’s misfortune and gained possession through the midfield stringing together some creative passes that resulted in a corner that provided the opportunity needed.

A posse of the NTC girls congregated at the far post (a Montemurro set play) and from a well weighted corner kick to the mouth of the box, up bobbed the indefatigable Alexi Garcia heading the ball past the Sandringham keeper to register NTC on the score board. Two goals to one with 25 minutes gone and smiles all round on the NTC girls.

Sandringham looked to quickly avenge the NTC score and opted for the traditional long bomb from the keeper to the running forwards and a resultant bouncing one on one challenge that allowed Nicola Prins to cut a swathe through the defensive line and nail a right foot rocket into the left hand corner of the net to put daylight on the score line at 3 goals to one.

The remainder of the first half saw the NTC girls begin to gain confidence and absorb a lot of the initial pressure applied by the more experienced team. Possession was all NTC for the last 20 minutes of play with some fast transitions out of defense to the runners of Georgia Alberti, Beattie Goad and Alexi Garcia all of whom had good opportunities but were unable to convert.

Right on the fall of half time, a handball free kick was awarded to the NTC outside the box but the resultant shot on goal was repealed by the Sandringham wall and no changes were registered to the score line – 3 goals to 1 at the break.

Although the score line showed differently, the young NTC team fought hard during the first half and certainly was not disgraced. Apart from some basic skills errors brought about by a tirade of pressure from Sandringham, their on-ball efforts and switch passing up the wings was admirable but they simply lacked the ability to finish the opportunities as presented up forward which could have brought them closer on the score board.

Development is the name of the game here and it was obvious that the NTC have talent well beyond their years that will allow coach Joe Montemurro a canvass to work with.

The second half saw Montemurro initiate changes utilizing his bench to introduce fresh legs in the form of Janna Lawson, Noel Boersma, Jade Feakes and Tamara Balcameda along with keeper Sabahat Zeyhep.

Many of the NTC Girls had not played Victorian Premier League football before so this was a real baptism of fire coming up against last year’s premiers in the first round of the season. The benchmark has been set and the youngsters will be better off for the lessons learned at Kingston Heath last night as this is a season with some 21 games to go.

Much of the same was forthcoming from the Sandringham team in the second stanza as they continued to apply relentless pressure on the NTC side and opted to bomb the ball long to a one-on-one match ups in the forward third – what you would expect from a seasoned Premier League team really.

Late in the game a sickening head clash between NTC Captain Jess Pitts and a Sandringham midfielder saw Pitts crash to the surface unable to move. She recovered and slightly groggy soldiered on for the remainder of the game.

Goals from Prins, Tanti and Runnalls finished off the second half before the lights went out on the far side of the Kingston Heath ground and referees decided to call it quits.

No rest for the young U17 NTC Girls as they are pitted against Heidelberg United SC this Saturday April 6th at 3pm at DISC in Darebin. The season is a long campaign and one that will no doubt ensure the girls are both physically and mentally capable of standing taller against the opposition in the long run.

Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter in this book built around the “Mighty Ducks”.

And also – Its April Fool’s Day! 3 points to Sandringham.

Sandringham 6 (Christie Parton 11’, Sky Jensen (OG) 13’, Nicola Prins 22’, 57’, Stephanie Tanti 68’, Emma Runnalls 72’) defeated FFV NTC U17 Girls 1 (Alexi Garcia 23’)

Sandringham: 21. Niki COOK (GK), 6. Stephanie PARTON, 3. Christie PARTON, 13. Alina KAPUSTA, 16. Emma ROBERS, 20. Hannah STUART, 18. Sienna FOGARTY, 15. Elaina VATCKY, 2. Annabelle GIBNEY, 9.Emma RUNNALLS, 8. Nicola PRINS

Substitutes: 10. Stephanie TANTI, 12. Eliza GLEADELL, 1. Emily DICKSON.

NTC Girls U17s: 15. Georgia ALBERTI, 11. Noel BOERSMA, 17. Edith FORDYCE-GOKER, 18. Beattie GOAD, 5. Sky JENSEN, 13. Annabel MARTIN, 14. Maddy STOCKDALE, 8. Melissa TARANTO, 3. Jaimee WILLIAMS, 10. Jess PITTS, 1. Jaimee BROWN (GK)

Substitutes: 19. Janna LAWSON, 12. Alexi GARCIA, 4. Jade FEAKES, 9. Tamara BALMACEDA, 16. Sabahat ZEYHEP.

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