Walsh the hero as Redbacks down the Angels

Pictured: Emily Henderson and Penelope Clayton in action. Photo: Peter Simcox, Football West

Monday, August 08, 2016

Northern Redbacks extended their lead at the top of the Bankwest Women’s State League Premier Division with a hard fought 3-1 win against their nearest challengers Beckenham Angels at Celebration Park on Sunday.

Report by Peter Simcox

Speedy striker Larissa Walsh was the hero, bagging a hat trick, while Shannon May’s goal for the Angels was a stunning long-range shot, but it was in vain.

Redbacks Coach Tim Hodgson said it was a great performance, especially being without a number of key players.

“We had three of our top players missing today and we knew it would be a tough game, as they always are against Beckenham,” he said. “But we knew what was at stake and it was important to get the result.”

“Today is a good result but there are still five games to go and we can’t become complacent.

“We said along we want to have it in our hands and not really on other people, and today’s win gives a little buffer but we’re not counting our chickens just yet and we know there is a long way to go.”

Hodgson said Walsh’s pace caused the Angels problems.

“Larissa was great for us today, we knew her pace would cause problems and we were under a lot of pressure in the second half, it was real backs to the wall from our side,” he said.

“But we used Larissa as an outlet up front and it’s something we’ve worked on, and today it worked.”

Walsh, who turns 22 on Wednesday, celebrated her birthday early and said it was a good team performance.

“We worked extremely hard today, got our formation sorted and we got what we wanted and that was three points,” she said.

“We were missing a few players today but it showed we have players who can step up and put in a good performance.

“Tim wanted to use me up front with my pace and it worked and I was happy to score the goals in the top of the table clash, which moves us four points clear at the top.

“But as Tim reminds us, we still have five games left, so we still need to play hard for the rest of the season.”

At kick off only two points separated the sides on the table and the visitors had keeper Rhian Mears to thank after she pulled off a double save to deny Walsh early.

But Beckenham hit back, Katie Holtham’s long-range shot was saved by Kathleen Waycott, before Ella Mastrantonio snap shot flashed over the top.

The visitors were on top but they almost conceded on the half hour. Jessica Wheatman’s free kick was turned around the post by the alert Mears.

Walsh’s pace was causing Beckenham problems and on 34 minutes she opened the scoring. A long ball over the top sent the striker racing clear and she finished low past Mears.

Beckenham almost hit back immediately. The lively Katarina Jukic raced clear and beat the keeper to the ball but from a tight angle her curling shot crashed off the post and away to safety.

The Redbacks had their keeper to thank for keeping the lead in the shadows of half time, Waycott saving well to thwart May.

Beckenham made the perfect start to the second half and levelled nine minutes in. May picked the ball up 20m from goal and her stunning shot flew into the top corner of the net giving Waycott no chance.

The goal lifted the visitors and Holtham’s shot on the turn whistled just wide of the target before Jamie Lee-Gale shot straight at Waycott.

The home side were hanging on, and they had Emily Dunn to thank for keeping them level, the defender superbly clearing Holtham’s shot off the line.

Holtham was a real handful and she went close again on 80 minutes, firing over from the edge of the penalty area before Waycott was out bravely to save at the strikers’ feet.

But against the run of play the Redbacks regained the lead seven minutes from time. A long ball over the top sent Walsh racing clear again and she finished clinically past Mears.

Walsh was at it again three minutes later to complete her hat-trick and seal the points. It was a case of déjà vu, this time racing down the left before firing home from 10m, to send the Redbacks four points clear at the top of the table.

Northern Redbacks 3 (Walsh 34mins, 83, 86)

Beckenham Angels 1 (May 54’)

Sunday August 7, 2016

Celebration Park, Balga

Referee: Ian Fisher

Northern Redbacks: GK Kathleen WAYCOTT, 2 Jessica WHEATMAN, 3 Larissa WALSH, 4 Kimberly THIESS, 5 Eleanor BLACKMORE, 6 Carla BENNETT, 7 Lauren RILEY, 8 Stephanie WAYCOTT, 9 Jade KLEPPE, 10. Jacinta COLEMAN, 11 Emily DUNN, 12 Shawn BILLAM, 14 Renee LEOTA, 15 Emily HENDERSON, 17 Chloe ALAGA

Beckenham Angels: GK Rhian MEARS, 2 Lindsey KENYON, 3 Annique KEISLER, 4 Jessica LINDQUIST, 5 Shannon MAY, 7Marianna TABAIN, 8 Jamie-Lee GALE, 10 Jessica LEURS, 11 Ella MASTRANTONIO, 12 Eleanor BATES, 14 Penelope CLAYTON, 15 Danielle BROGAN, 16 Katarina JUKIC, 17 Katie HOLTHAM