The fans at Grindleford Reserve were treated to an absorbing contest as Balcatta ran out 1-0 winners over Melville City in yesterday’s Bankwest Women’s State League Premier Division clash.
Report by Kelechi Osunwa
The match boasted some of WA’s young talent with neither side fielding a player over 23 years of age.
Caitlin Doeglas gave Balcatta the only goal of the game in an end-to-end match in which coach Andrew DiCarlo claimed was their first consistent performance all season.
“It was the best we’ve played all year it really was,” he said. “It’s taken a fair bit of work.
“All year we’ve been doing it in patches, but not 90 minutes. We’ve been talking about it for a little while now and today it’s all come together.
“Today was about being consistent and playing 90 minutes of good football we usually play one good half and one bad half and today was about putting them both together and now the result has come.”
Balcatta started the game very brightly bouncing possession through the back four and into the midfield where Monique Godding dictated play but it was Melville who would create the first real chance on the break.
Lucy Jerram latched onto Shannon Turner’s through ball on the left wing but she had her angle expertly cut down by Gabby Dal Busco who would prove to be a thorn in the Melville side.
Jamie Duncanson and Steph Simmonds both had chances in quick succession to give Melville the lead.
Simmonds failed to get her feet set at a corner kick and fired a guilt-edged chance over the bar while Duncanson saw her goal-bound shot cleared off the line by some last ditch defending.
Melville coach Gabrielle Walker spoke about her side having issues converting their chances, before the game, and it looked to be the case when Jerram was set up by Tia Stonehill at the edge of the penalty area only to see her effort come back off the post.
Although dominant with the ball Balcatta were yet to create any clear cut chances but when they did they scored.
Melanie Doeglas breezed past her marker on the right wing and drove a low cross that found its way to the feet of sister Caitlin Doeglas at the far post to tap into an empty net.
The goal gave an already frantic game even more buzz as Melville pushed further forward for an equaliser while Balcatta would spring forward at every chance to great effect.
Balcatta almost ended the first half with a two-goal lead when Madisyn Olguin and Cass Harvey exploited open space and had Harvey try an audacious chip from the left wing that was kept out by the corner of the cross bar.
The second half continued in a similar vein as Melville started to take a foothold in the game with Stonehill, Simmonds and Jerram pinning Balcatta in their half.
Simmonds was free in the box and her low effort looked goal bound until Dal Busco right hand pushed the ball away for a corner.
Balcatta weathered the Melville storm with Chelsie Winchcombe steadying the ship with an immense performance.
Balcatta had a great chance to go 2-0 up in the 68th minute when substitute Ash Panaia laid a cross at the top of the keeper’s area for Olguin who could only fire over the bar.
Desperate defending from Balcatta and a commanding presence Dal Busco meant that Melville were kept at arms length as their final pass rarely resulted in any chances.
Panaia had a late chance to put the game beyond doubt but her effort on the counter attack was easily dealt with by Melville custodian Evie Gooch.
Despite the loss Melville assistant coach Steven Farrell looked at all the positives his young side can hope to improve on.
“We’re a little disappointed. I thought everyone worked very very hard but I think we just panicked a little bit and when you panic you start losing the ball,” he said.
“But all due respect to Balcatta they won it, I thought they deserved to win it today. [We] just needed a bit of calm and composure; that would hopefully come in the ladies as they gain more experience.”
Balcatta 1 (Caitlin Doeglas 40mins)
Melville City 0
Referee: Chris Milenkou
Balcatta: 1. Gabby DAL BUSCO. Erika CHILCOTT, 3. Tahlia D’OPERA, 9. Lauren DE GAYE, 7. Tessa DE LEO, 10. Caitlin DOEGLAS, 6. Monique GODDING, 17. Nadia HARVEY, 15. Jannay KOHLER, 14. Ash PANAIA, 13. Melissa SHEPHERD, 2. Chelsie WINCHCOMBE, 8. Madisyn OLGUIN, 4. Cass HARVEY, 11. Melanie DOEGLAS
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: Nil
Melville City: 1. Evie GOOCH, 8. Evie MARCHETTI, 15. Laura WALTMAN, 2. Shannon TURNER, 20. Issy BRIDGER, 34. Mikayla LYONS, 12. Lucy JERRAM, 21. Kelsey LYONS, 4. Tia STONEHILL, 19. Jaime DUNCANSON, 7. Steph SIMMONDS, 31. Grace SMITH, 11. Raffi WALTMAN
Yellow cards: Tia STONEHILL 82’
Red cards: Nil