Northern Redbacks scored twice in the final 10 minutes to record an entertaining 3-2 win over a 10-woman NTC at Celebration Park on Sunday.
After NTC midfielder Emma McMurdo was sent off for two bookable offences, Sarah Carroll and Larissa Walsh pounced with late goals to secure the points for the Redbacks in a dramatic ending to the game.
The win was the Redbacks’ sixth of the season and moves them three points clear of NTC in second in the Women’s State Premier League.
“Really pleased with the effort from the girls and just glad to get the three points,” Redbacks coach Elisa D’Ovidio said.
“We knew today we had to get a win. We’ve been working hard at training and we’ll keep pushing and I’m hoping we can keep getting those points to keep us up there.”
After soaking up some early pressure, NTC hit the front after just eight minutes – Redbacks goalkeeper Lauren Blizard committing an error to allow Liana Cook’s shot to trickle into the back of the net.
Despite trailing the Redbacks had the better of the chances and almost found themselves level with Walsh and Carla Bennett going close on multiple occasions.
Against the run of play NTC almost doubled their advantage on the counter – Blizard making up for her earlier mistake to deny Cook grabbing her second.
At the other end, NTC keeper Morgan Aquino showed off her skillset to deny Amy Knights’ low-struck free kick – tipping the ball wide of the post.
From the corner the Redbacks equalised, captain Shawn Billham tapping home from close range.
The visitors’ joy was short-lived, however, as NTC responded immediately to take a 2-1 lead into half-time after Leticia McKenna’s curling effort found the top corner.
The game became a midfield battle after the break, with both sides cancelling each other out – Knights hitting the post directly from a corner with the only shot on goal in the opening 20 minutes.
As time ticked on, the Redbacks grew in confidence as they started to pepper Aquino’s goal but the NTC shot-stopper held firm, producing a number of high-quality saves.
“Credit to Morgan, she’s a brilliant keeper,” D’Ovidio said.
The game turned with just 10 minutes to play, however, McMurdo shown her second yellow for kicking the ball away.
With their one-woman advantage, the Redbacks took full advantage and brought themselves back on level terms immediately after Carroll found the back of the net.
The Redbacks then hit the front just minutes later as Walsh cooly slotted past Aquino to complete the comeback.
Despite the result, NTC Coach Jessine Bonzas was pleased with her team’s performance.
“Playing with 10 men is something that happens. All of that is experience under their belt and I’m happy,” she said.
NTC Women 2 (Cook 8min, McKenna 44)
Northern Redbacks 3 (Billham 44, S Carroll 80, Walsh 87)
Sunday, June 17
Referee: John Westerlund
Northern Redbacks: 1. Lauren BLIZARD, 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Larissa WALSH , 4. Jessica WHEATMAN, 5. Amy KNIGHTS, 6. Carla BENNETT, 7. Kim CARROLL, 8. Shawn BILLAM, 10. Katie MOTH, 14. Renee LEOTA, 15. Emily DUNN
Substitutes not used: 9. Chloe ALAGA, 11. Emily HENDERSON, 12. Casey WEBB
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
NTC Women: 1. Morgan AQUINO, 4. Ashleigh SANTICH (6. Georgie IRELAND 45), 7. Liana COOK, 8. Abbey MEAKINS, 9. Annabelle LEEK, 11. Rosie LEHANE (22. Grace MITCHELL 89), 12. Leticia MCKENNA, 14. Thalia ORGAN (2. Ashline DEVITT 62), 16. Isabella WALLHEAD (15. Zoee SPADANO 45), 19. Emma MCMURDO, 21. Georgia CAWLEY
Substitutes not used: 3. Cheyenne WISE-JARVIS
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: McMurdo (79)