SELECT Futsal Premier League round-9 Open Women’s matches threw up its usual dose of eye-catching results, but it’s catch Magic if you can as Inner West extended its lead in the premiership race.
Inner West edged Campbelltown Quake 2-1, Mountain Majik staved off Eastern Suburbs Hakoah 5-3, Mascot Vipers downed UTS Northside 4-2, and Enfield Allstars beat Dural Warriors 3-1 to step up off the ladder’s bottom-rung.
With four of their remaining five runs against the bottom-four sides, Magic (25 points) could scoot down the rabbit hole and still pop up with their heads in front having built a five-point gap at the top.
In hot pursuit and waiting for a slip-up is Majik (20), UTS (18) and Quake (14), but a playoff berth is getting that much harder for Hakoah (9), Vipers (8), Allstars (6) and Warriors (4).
Mountain star Ashlie Crofts might find people knocking on her door with a handful of straw they hope she can spin into gold as she stepped up for a four-goal effort against Easts that took her to 20 goals for the summer.
Crofts may as well forward her shoe size to competition organisers as she’s well ahead in the golden boot race, and only some sharp-shooting from Hakoah weapon Tamires Souza (12), Magic duo Rhianna Pollicina (10) and Ceyda Cambaz (9) will see her caught.
Mountain Majik 5 (Ashlie Crofts 4, Tanya Borazio) Eastern Suburbs Hakoah 3 (Holly Duncan, Tamires Souza, Madeleine Kowalenko)
Inner West Magic 2 (Ceyda Cambaz 2) Campbelltown Quake (Zoeie Redman)
Dural Warriors 1-3 Enfield Allstars
Mascot Vipers 4 (Hannah Charak 2, Jess Frampton 2) UTS Northside 2 (Sarah Roger, Olivia Paton)
Mountain overshadow Easts
Mountain Majik reclaimed their top-two spot following a superb 5-3 win against Eastern Suburbs Hakoah at Blacktown Leisure Centre on Saturday afternoon, Ashlie Crofts banging in four goals to virtually cement a pair of golden boots to her feet.
Easts started brightest with an early Holly Duncan strike pushing them ahead after six minutes, but the goal woke Mountain up and Crofts returned fire with a double that took Majik into halftime leading 2-1.
The second term was outstanding from both sides and the Mountaineers surged into a commanding 4-1 position when Crofts and Tanya Borazio added to the score with 10 minutes left to play.
Goals from Hakoah’s Tamires Souza and Madeleine Kowalenko made for an enthralling final four minutes, but Crofts sealed the deal with a fourth for the match, the result enough for Majik to overtake a defeated UTS into second place behind runaway Inner West.
Even this writer’s struggling to come up with enough superlatives to cover the mercurial season Crofts is having: she started the season with three straight hat-tricks, and this recent four-for followed three straight doubles to make it 10 goals in four games.
In nine rounds the Crofts surname features on eight scoresheets, and more than a third of her goals have come against Easts.
Only a meanie would point out she failed to score a single goal in Majik’s 5-4 thriller versus Mascot. [Ed: apologies]
Mountain coach Adam Barbera said the ‘green’ machine chuffed slowly up the mountain, but finished full of steam down the other side.
“We started a little sluggish but the reaction after going a goal down was great!” he said. “We then took the game to Hakoah and were able to get on the front foot.”
“Hakoah have some really strong players, but we knew once we got on a roll we’d be able to keep them quiet.
“We moved the ball well and scored a few nicely-worked team-goals finished off clinically by Crofty,” Barbera continued.
“Pleasingly we stayed defensively solid for most the game and only looked a little uncomfortable once they went to the powerplay.
Having jumped back into second spot the fun now begins for the Mountaineers. They face unpredictable Enfield next weekend before runs against current top-four sides Inner West, UTS and Campbelltown.
“We know how important next weekend is if we want to close the gap to the top, so all our focus now shifts to those games,” said Barbera.
Magic overcome Quake
Inner West Magic held off Campbelltown Quake 2-1 at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday evening to strengthen their premiership grip.
Magic hit the front when Amy Dahdah drifted away perfectly from Quake defender Chrystal Duggan and went one-on-one with keeper Erin Brennan to slot home the opener and only first-half goal.
Inner West went 2-0 up within 20 seconds of the restart when Ceyda Cambaz dispossessed Claire Walsh, sprinted ahead and slid it past Brennan to double the advantage.
Campbelltown weren’t done with and a Zoeie Redman singer from distance flew into the bottom-left corner past a formidable Sophie Magus in goal for Magic to cut the margin to one goal, but they didn’t have time to find an equaliser in a dominant final-10 minutes and Inner West held on for their third one-goal victory of the season.
Magic coach Matteo Maiorana said his side did well to cover for the loss of star player Rhianna Pollicina.
“Once again I was proud of my girls. Short on numbers, Cambaz and Dahdah continue to be great leaders, and we just continue to roll on,” he said.
“Quake were another team who threatened, but we were never really in danger. We are defensively solid, so when a team has a lot of possession we are comfortable holding them out and tonight proved that again.
“Next weekend’s double header is big for us; we just go one game at a time.”
Campbelltown coach Mel Keith had a massive day coaching four Quake sides, and she saw enough in a tight loss to suggest the team can make an impact this summer.
“We had a few early chances that if taken would have given us a great chance to take three points, but if you don’t take the limited chances you get against a team like Magic, you don’t get the points at the end of the day,” she said.
“In saying that, today we proved we can go toe-to-toe with the competition heavyweights. [Inner West] are a great team and a good benchmark to base our progress off, so I’m happy with the girls and where they are heading.”
Enfield defeat Dural
Enfield Allstars lifted for their second win in a month, defeating Dural 3-1 at The Centre on Saturday night to leapfrog Warriors and hand them first dibs on the dreaded wooden-spoon.
It was a tight first half and Allstars clung to a 1-0 lead at the changeover, and the second period of play was just as desperate from both sides, Abbey Lemon scored for Warriors but Enfield had them covered with strikes from ? securing a tough two-goal win.
While it was good to see Enfield win a close one, it’s been an agonising stretch for Dural who’ve gone seven weeks without a win and endured five straight losses heading into next Saturday’s clash with unbeaten comp leaders Inner West.
It’s not much easier for Allstars who face a rampant Mountain Majik led by superstar Ashlie Crofts – she’s scored more goals this summer (20) than the entire Enfield team (18).
Vipers strike UTS
Mascot Vipers made it back-to-back wins with an excellent 4-2 result against top-three UTS Northside at All Sorts Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday-night.
Hannah Charak and Jess Frampton doubles cancelled out strikes from Northside’s Sarah Roger and Olivia Paton to secure victory for Mascot, who went seven weeks without a win and now find themselves sixth and with real venom in their fangs.
Ironically, UTS have the chance to make immediate redemption in a Futsal Cup semi-final clash with Vipers at Valentine on Wednesday night.
“A disappointing result and performance tonight. We have a rematch on Wednesday and will be looking to make amends,” coach Danny Beauchamp said.
Next week’s games
SELECT Futsal Premier League round-10 Saturday matches pitch Mountain Majik versus Enfield Allstars at Hawkesbury Indoor Stadium (3.10pm), Campbelltown Quake and Mascot Vipers at Minto Indoor Sports Centre (3.50pm), Dural Warriors play Inner West Magic at The Centre (5.50pm), and Eastern Suburbs Hakoah meet UTS Northside at All Sorts Indoor Sports Centre (7.50pm).
– Dan de Nardi