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Meakins helps NTC sweep aside Panthers

Report by Edward Nixon

Abbey Meakins scored four goals as the Football West NTC side kept their top four hopes bubbling with a 6-2 win over the Stirling Panthers during Round 19 of the Women’s Premier Division on Sunday.

The midfielder was the stand-out performer – grabbing her hat-trick during the first-half as NTC dominated proceedings.

“(Abbey) had a really good game. She’s preparing for bigger and better things in the W-League season – she was a real leader out there for us today,” NTC coach Jessine Bonzas said.

“The first half was really good – we scored some really great goals.”

Coming off a tough 2-1 loss to the ladder-leading Queens Park last week, NTC needed just five minutes to hit the front – Annabelle Leek rifling her shot into the back of the net.

The visitors doubled their advantage on the quarter-hour mark as Meakins rose highest to nod home Emma McMurdo’s corner.

A defensive error almost allowed Stirling back into the contest, but NTC goalkeeper Morgan Aquino was alert to the danger to keep out Lauren Coutinibali.

Instead, it was NTC who netted next to extend their advantage – Meakins grabbing her second with an excellently taken finish from outside the box.

Meakins capped off her hat-trick just past the half-hour mark as her long-range effort caught Gabriella Saraceni off her line.

The Panthers were far more competitive after the break, restricting NTC’s shot on goals while creating a few chances at the other end.

Although NTC had the lion’s share of possession, it took them 17 minutes to find their fifth goal of the afternoon when McMurdo got on the scoresheet after slotting her shot through Saracenci’s legs.

Meakins then grabbed her fourth of the game with 11 minutes to play to cap off a solid win for the girls in yellow.

To their credit, Stirling didn’t let their heads drop and snatched a couple of late consolation goals through Coutinibali, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Panthers from slipping to their 16th defeat of the season.

Despite the loss, Panthers coach Frank DiCosta was pleased with how his side matched NTC in the second half.

“I thought today we competed really well against a well-organised NTC,” he said.

“We scored two goals, the development is coming on really well.”

Stirling Panthers 2 (Coutinibali 84min, 87)
NTC Women 6 (Leek 5, Meakins 15, 21, 31, 79, McMurdo 62)
Yuluma Park
Sunday, September 2
Kick-off: 12pm
Referee: Jess Byrd

NTC Women: 1. Morgan AQUINO, 2. Ashling DEVITT (4. Ashleigh SANTICH 48), 3. Cheyenne WISE-JARVIS, 6. Georgie IRELAND, 7. Liana COOK (14. Thalia ORGAN 37), 8. Abbey MEAKINS, 9. Annabelle LEEK (10. Hanna LOWRY 48), 11. Rosie LEHANE, 12. Leticia MCKENNA, 15. Zoee SPADANO, 19. Emma MCMURDO
Substitutes not used: 22. Jayna RIOLEY, 24. Grace MITCHELL
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil

Stirling Panthers: 1. Gabrielle Saraceni, 2. Lara AMEDURI, 4. Lauren CONTINIBALI, 5. Tegan MCNEILL (13. Stephanie PAOLINO 70), 6. Chelsea RUSSELL, 7. Monique NICOLAOU, 9. Jodie DAVENPORT, 10. Megan BILALOSKI (, 3. Emily HARRISON 65), 11. Caitlin VALLELONGA (15. Danielle MONASTRA 55), 12. Eloise ARNOLD, 14. Emily SPASEVSKI
Substitutes not used: 8. Libby TATTERSALL
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil