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Queens Park dig deep to preserve unbeaten run

Report by Edward Nixon

Katrina Jukic’s second-half double helped Queens Park come from a goal down to defeat NTC Women 2-1 in their Round 18 Women’s Premier League match at Celebration Park on Sunday.

The result means Ben Anderton’s side have wrapped up the title, barring an unfathomable set of results in the last three weeks of the season.

 Trailing 1-0 at the break to Emma McMurdo’s first-half strike, Queens Park rallied to rescue their unbeaten record.

“It’s not the best one we’ve had all year, but it’s a win nonetheless,” Anderton said.

“For the girls to work hard for 90 minutes even when it wasn’t going our way, and we still tried to play football as much as we could, I was pleased with that.”

Despite having one eye on Saturday’s Women’s Cup Final against Northern Redbacks at Grindleford Reserve, Queens Park still started brightly – Tia Stonehill and Jukic forcing a couple of early saves out of NTC goalkeeper Morgan Aquino.

Coming off a 2-2 draw with the Redbacks last week, NTC started to play themselves into the game and took the lead after 20 minutes when McMurdo dispossessed Nicole Campbell in a dangerous area before catching Dannelle Cornish off her line.

Queens Park are the leaders for a reason, however, and almost hit back straight away but Jukic shot straight at Aquino.

In an unfamiliar losing position, Queens Park came out with intent after the break and thought they had squared things up, but Stacey Learmont’s goal was disallowed for offside.

Not to be denied, Learmont continued to make a nuisance of herself  and she won a penalty which Jukic put away.

With momentum on their side, Queens Park went out in search of a winner and Bec Bennett went close after she was brilliantly picked out by Jukic.

With 18 minutes left, Queens Park got their second goal when Jukic tapped home from close range after Aquino had tipped Sadie Lawrence’s effort onto the bar.

Liana Cook had a late chance to rescue a point for NTC but shot straight at Cornish.

Despite the loss, NTC coach Jessine Bonzas was pleased with her side’s performance.

“We created better chances and I thought we played really good football on the day – that was a really pleasing performance,” she said.

“We were very unlucky not to get something out of that game, if not a win.”

 NTC Women 1 (McMurdo 20min)
Queens Park 2 (Jukic pen 52, 72)
Celebration Park
Sunday, August 26
Local Kick-off: 10.30am
Referee: M. Tolmie

NTC Women: 1. Morgan AQUINO, 2. Ashling DEVITT (4. Ashleigh SANTICH 50), 3. Cheyenne WISE-JARVIS, 5. Rosie LEHANE, 6. Georgie IRELAND (9. Annabelle LEEK 73), 7. Liana COOK, 8. Abbey MEAKINS, 12. Leticia McKENNA, 14. Thalia ORGAN, 19. Emma McMURDO (20. Ella HOY 74), 21. Georgia CAWLEY (15. Zoee SPADANO 50)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil

Queens Park: 1. Dannelle CORNISH, 2. Angelique STANNETT, 8. Sadie LAWRENCE, 9. Tia STONEHILL (20. Jamie DUNCANSON 46), 10. Nicole CAMPBELL, 12. Kathryn SCHUBERT, 13. Bec BENNETT, 22. Jaime GIBBONS, 23. Katrina JUKIC, 28. Grace HENRY, 31. Stacey LEARMONT
Substitutes not used: 11. Grace BETTI, 18. Samantha GEDPES, 19. Molly BOLTON, 32. Bonnie McLEAY
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil