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Leaders Queens Park held at Balcatta

Report by Edward Nixon

Queens Park dropped points for just the third time this season after being held 2-2 by Balcatta in their Women’s Premier League Round 12 clash at Grindleford Reserve on Sunday.

After Ashleigh Panaia put Balcatta ahead, two quick goals from Katrina Jukic and Sadie Lawrence gave the visitors the lead, before Christiane Astorp salvaged a point for Lisa Tana’s side.

“It was a significant improvement from the last time we played these guys, so we’ve improved over the course of the season. Really happy with the performance this week,” Tana said.

“We took our chances and that’s all you can ask.”

After recording nine wins in 11 games to start the season, Queens Park came into the contest in high spirits and dominated possession in the early going – Jaymee Gibbons and Jukic going close.

It was Balcatta who hit the front against the run of play, however, as forward Panaia slipped through the Queens Park defence before beating Dannelle Cornish to the ball to finish into an empty net.

The ladder-leaders almost hit back immediately but Tash Rigby shot straight at Balcatta goalkeeper Gabby Dal Busco.

Queens Park’s attacking pressure paid off after 21 minutes as Jukic won a penalty before composing herself to cooly dispatch her spot-kick.

With their tails up, Queens Park hit the lead just six minutes later – Lawrence nodding in Jamie-Lee Gale’s inviting corner.

It would be a lead they would hold for just eight minutes, as the home side refused to back down and Astorp brought Balcatta level with a goal almost identical to Panaia’s earlier in the game.

Queens Park went close to regaining their lead just before the break as Bec Bennett and Stacey Learmont both had efforts on goal, but couldn’t find a way past Dal Busco.

In the second half, it was all Queens Park as they went out in search of a winner.

Gale and Jukic both forced smart saves out of Dal Busco within 15 minutes of the restart.

Gale then almost put her side in front in the most unlikely of ways after her intended cross had Dal Busco scrambling, but luckily for Balcatta it hit the post.

A pinpoint pass out from the back from Queens Park captain Angelique Stannett sent Gale through on goal once more, but her shot was expertly kept out by Dal Busco, as the hosts earned a point.

Queens Park coach Ben Anderton praised Dal Busco’s performance but said he was proud of his side’s fight.

“Their keeper, fantastic today. We definitely had a lot of chances that should be buried,” he said.

“One hundred per cent a couple of points lost. The way we played today, I don’t feel the scoreline really reflects how we went. We controlled the game really well – really pleased with the girls.”

The draw took Queens Park seven points clear of second-placed Football West NTC and Northern Redbacks, although the latter can cut the gap to four with a win at Fremantle City next Sunday.

Balcatta 2 (Panaia 15min, Astorp 35)
Queens Park 2 (Jukic pen 21, Lawrence 27)
Grindleford Reserve
Sunday, July 8
Kick-off: 1pm
Referee: Julian Ku

Balcatta: 1. Gabby DAL BUSCO, 4. Cassandra HARVEY (7. Ellie MONTE 74), 5. Kim MCCARTNEY, 6. Monique GODDING, 8. Christiane ASTORP, 10. Tessa DE LEO, 11. Izzy FOLETTA,13. Caitlin DOEGLAS, 14. Ashleigh PANAIA, 15. Epril NOSSENT, 16. Nadia HARVEY
Substitues not used: 3. Tahlia D’OPERA, 9. Alanah VERONI, 12. Monique D’OPERA
Yellow cards: Doeglas 89’
Red cards: Nil

Queens Park: 1. Dannelle CORNISH, 2. Angelique STANNETT, 4. Natasha RIGBY, 6. Jamie-Lee GALE, 8. Sadie LAWRENCE, 9. Tia STONEHILL (21. Bec DICARLO 83), 13. Bec BENNETT,16. Jenna ONIONS, 22. Jaymee GIBBONS, 23. Katrina JUKIC, 31. Stacey LEARMONT
Substitutes not used: 11. Kathryn SCHUBERT, 18. Samantha GEDDES, 20. Jamie DUNCANSON
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil


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