First Division Night Series Grand Final Match Report 2016

Photo: Vince Caratozzolo (

Stirling stun Roos in Night Series final

Monday, March 21, 2016

Stirling Panthers clawed back from a 2-0 deficit at half-time to win the Women’s State League Division One Night Series final 4-2 on penalties at Coker Park on Sunday night.

Report by Kelechi Osunwa

Wanneroo City had made the most of a clinical first half as they raced to a 2-0 lead courtesy of a fine curling finish from Teal Bennett and a deft glance from Tahlia Murfitt.

Photos: Vince Caratozzolo (

Stirling had always looked threating with their pace through Lauren Continibali, who crashed a fine effort off an upright, but found Wanneroo custodian Holly Cavalli in fine form in the first half as she pulled a series of clutch saves.
It was not until an inspired second half did the Panthers manage to breach the resolute Roos defence.

Panthers coach Frank Di Costa was pleased with the resolute character of his young side, many of whom were experiencing their first taste of the division through the Night Series, and put the second half showing down to patience.

“I thought we were always in the game to be honest,” Di Costa said.

“I thought the goals would come we just couldn’t afford to push the panic button.

“I thought we were controlling the game and sort of missing some chances. Yeah we gave away some soft goals but the character of the team has been really strong.”

No individual showed more desire and tenacity than captain Danielle Monastra who broke a number of Wanneroo attacks in a frantic second half.

Stirling were given a lifeline 15 minutes into the second half when Sophie Podmore breached the Roos’ off-side trap and raced away to slot past an exposed Cavalli.

The goal seemed to spur both teams as Stirling looked for an equaliser while Wanneroo played on the counter as they searched for a third goal.

With 12 minutes to play Stirling found an equaliser. Continibali had breached the offside trap again but a smothering defence failed to clear her initial attempt and Clara Lay followed up to expertly lob Cavalli and equalise.

With the match drawing close to full time both teams spurned great chances to win the game at the death.

Caitlin Vallelonga raced through on goal but once Cavalli stood her ground well and Sheridyn Graham had a chance to win it at the death but her effort trickled narrowly wide.

The match went straight to penalties and with Stirling leading 4-2 following successful conversions from Lay, Lara Ameduri, Continibali and Monastra, Wanneroo’s Karen Wodzianski needed to score to give the Roos a chance but saw her effort over the crossbar.

Coach Di Costa hoped the Night series win would give his girls some invaluable experience in their first season in the state league.

“It’s our first season in the state league following promotion from metro div one last year and I don’t think many people would have seen (this) coming,” he said.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to put this as a stake in the ground and proves that we can compete with the best teams.”

Wanneroo City 2 (Bennett 8min, Murfitt 29)
Stirling Panthers 2 (Podmore 60min, Lay 78)

(Stirling won 4-2 on penalties)
Coker Park, Cannington
Kick-off: 5pm
Referee: Mark Williams

Stirling Panthers: 1. Zoe GEORGE, 2. Lara AMEDURI, 14. Emily BRAMICH, 4. Lauren CONTINIBALI, 9. Clara LAY, 15. Danielle MONASTRA, 3. Rebecca SALSANO, 7. Monique NICOLAOU, 5. Tahlia PINTAUDI, 8. Elena PELLETIER, 19. Sophie NEAL, 11. Caitlin VALLELONGA, 12. Sophie PODMORE, 10. Piper BOOBYER, 16. Chelsea RUSSELL, 13. Kora-Jay COOPER, 6. Teagan MCNEIL
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil

Wanneroo City: 1. Holly CAVALLI, 2. Tahlia MURFITT, 3. Emily CHANG, 5. Kayla HOGG, 12. Heather BISHOP, 16. Jacqui KANE, 18. Faye CHAMBERS, 19. Dorte MACGILLIVRAY, 9. Sheridyn GRAHAM, 10. Michelle OVEINIKOVAS, 17. Samantha DASILVA, 7. Grace BETTI, 14. Casey SOFFE, 11. Teal BENNETT, 15. Emily ROACH, 8. Alex ROBINSON, 4. Suzan TONG, 6. Karen WODZIANSKI, 99. Nicole WRIGHT, 21. Liberty WARREN.
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: nil