Queens Park coach Grant Learmont believes the pressure is on Northern Redbacks as they aim to hang on to top spot in the closing stages of the Bankwest Women’s State Premier League.
Report by Rachel Collier, FOOTBALLWEST.COM.AU
Learmont’s side scored an impressive 2-0 win over Redbacks at Coker Park on Sunday to cut their lead at the top to just one point with three games remaining.
Two goals in three minutes from Jaymee Gibbons and Nikki Campbell in the closing stages of the first half were enough to seal victory for Queens.
Learmont said: “I think the pressure is on them now. They have to win their last three games. We’ve got to keep going, keep winning and we’ve got to keep the pressure firmly on them.
“They’ve got to play Beckenham, which will be a tough game. We’ll be hoping for an Angels win or a draw, which would tilt things in our favour.”
Both teams played well in the early exchanges of this top-two battle, however, neither team was able to create clear cut chances.
There were battles going on all over the pitch with no team wanting to give anything away. Ferocious tackles, midfield battles and an impressive tempo made for an evenly weighted first half.
With few clear cut chances, it took a hopeful 25m strike to break the deadlock in the 39th minute.
Stand out midfielder Gibbons’ shot was too hot to handle for keeper Kathleen Waycott, who got her hands to the ball but could not prevent the shot looping into the back of the net.
Queens gathered momentum and a second goal soon followed. Good build up play by Brooke Johnston and Jessica Darmago cut through the Redbacks defence. Johnston produced a perfectly weighted cross, which captain Campbell slid home at the back post in the 42nd minute.
It could have been even better for Queens, who nearly extended their lead in the 45th minute. A near post cross from Campbell looked set for the head Johnston, who had set up Campbell just moments earlier. Keeper Waycott palmed the ball away from danger before the half-time whistle blew.
Queens started the second half as they ended the first. A cross from Emily Dean was volleyed just over the bar by top scorer Johnstone in the 50th minute.
Redbacks were limited to long-range efforts as Queens pressed hard and stuck to their game plan. The league leaders plugged away throughout the half and had their best efforts in the final minutes of the game.
Their best chance came in the 88th minute when Larissa Walsh beat two Queens defenders, got to the byline and cut a low cross back to Renee Leota. Unfortunately for the Redbacks, Leota side footed the shot against the cross bar with the goal gaping.
The Redbacks again went close in the 90th minute when Rita Mankowska’s shot across goal went agonisingly wide.
In spite of his teams defeat, Tim Hodgson remained confident about their title chances.
“We have three tough games and we now have to win them all,” he said. “I have the upmost confidence in my team and I believe they can succeed.
“Today we had two lapses in concentration that led to both of their goals and that cost us. We didn’t take the chances that we created for ourselves and that’s the way it goes. We’ll be back stronger for the next game, that’s for sure.”
Redbacks face Balcatta, Melville and Beckenham in their final three games. Queens Park take on Melville, UWA-Nedlands and the NTC.
Queens Park 2 (Jaymee GIBBONS 39, Nikki CAMPBELL 42)
Northern Redbacks 0
Venue: Coker Park
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Referee: Sam Musca
Queens Park: 1. Maya DIEDERICHSEN, 2. Helene BORDAS, 4. Monique VAN WYK, 6. Monique GORDON, 7. Brittany WOODFIN, 8. Stacy LEARMONT, 9. Brooke JOHNSTON, 10. Nikki CAMPBELL (C), 12. Danielle CORNISH, 13. Georgina KENT, 14. Annie GEVERS, 15. Jessica DARMAGO, 16. Emily DEAN, 17. Lucy ZMURCHUK, 22. Jaymee GIBBONS, 24. Adel JACKSON.
Northern Redbacks: 1. Kathleen WAYCOTT, 2. Emily DUNN, 3. Larissa WALSH, 4. Nicola WILLIAMS, 5. Amy KNIGHTS, 6. Rita MANKOWSKA, 7. Lauren RILEY, 8. Hope SHEPPARD, 9. Stephanie WAYCOTT, 10. Rebecca DAVIES, 11. Glanfield ELLIS, 12. Haylee RICHARDS, 14. Leota RENEE, 15. Chloe ALAGA, 16. Georgia HARRIS.