Supersub Casey Webb’s last-minute strike gave the Northern Redbacks a 3-2 win over Balcatta in Round 11 of the Women’s Premier League on Sunday.
With the game seemingly heading for a draw, Webb popped up at the back post to turn Larissa Walsh’s cross into the back of the net to the relief of coach Elisa D’Ovidio.
“They certainly don’t make it easy for themselves, but I’m pretty happy with how they pushed through at the end and got the three points,” she said.
With the result, the Redbacks jumped three points clear of Balcatta.
In an entertaining first half at Celebration Park, it was the Redbacks who hit the lead after just 13 minutes when Renee Leota poked home from inside the six-yard box area after some clever build-up play from Emily Henderson and Sarah Carroll.
Balcatta were behind for just two minutes, however, with Caitlin Doeglas finding the back of the net.
The Redbacks almost gave the visitors a taste of their own medicine but Gabby Dal Busco produced an athletic save tracking back to keep out Walsh’s looping effort.
Balcatta grew into the game and took the lead just past the half-hour mark with Ashleigh Panaia getting on the end of Monique D’Opera’s cross to guide the ball home.
With both sides out to keep pace with league leaders Queens Park, the Redbacks went in search of an equaliser, Leota almost grabbing her second but for a terrific goalline clearance.
Leota was again involved moments later when she fed Carroll, and this time the Redbacks were back on terms thanks to a neat finish past Dal Busco.
Balcatta came back again and only more desperate goalline defending, this time from the Redbacks, prevented the visitors from taking a half-time lead.
After the break, it was all Redbacks and Henderson and Carroll squandered great opportunities to put their side ahead.
Captain Carla Bennett then went close with a long-range effort that was tipped past the post by a diving Dal Busco.
Dal Busco was again up to the challenge just two minutes from time as she made herself big to deny Carroll one-on-one.
Just as the Redbacks started to think it wasn’t going to be their day, up stepped Webb who slotted past a helpless Dal Busco after a pinpoint cross from Walsh to send the hosts into euphoria.
Balcatta coach Lisa Tana was left to rue missed opportunities.
“The girls are all gutted, we feel we should have got something out of the game,” she said.
“The girls worked hard and created enough opportunities to get something out of the game. Unfortunately, it is what it is and the girls will bounce back and perform next week.”
Northern Redbacks 3 (Leota 13min, Carroll 38, Webb 90)
Balcatta 2 (Doeglas 15, Panaia 31)
Sunday, July 1
Referee: Paul Mills
Northern Redbacks: 1. Kath WAYCOTT, 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Larissa WALSH , 4. Jessica WHEATMAN, 5. Amy KNIGHTS, 6. Carla BENNETT, 7. Kim CARROLL, 10. Katie MOTH, 11. Emily HENDERSON (12. Casey WEBB 78), 14. Renee LEOTA, 15. Emily DUNN
Substitutes not used: 16. Emily ROACH
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Balcatta: 1. Gabby DAL BUSCO, 2. Nicola WILLIAMS, 4. Cassandra HARVEY, 5. Kim MCCARTNEY, 8. Christiane ASTORP, 9. Monique D’OPERA (15. Kizanne MULDER 63), 10. Tessa DE LEO, 12. Epril NOSSENT 13. Caitlin DOEGLAS, 14. Ashleigh PANAIA
Substitues not used: 3. Tahlia D’OPERA, 6. Alanah VERONI, 7. Ellie MONTE, 11. Izzy FOLETTA
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil