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Redbacks stay top after Leota double

Report by Edward Nixon

Renee Leota scored twice, including a spectacular first half volley, as Northern Redbacks defeated Balcatta 3-0 to remain top of the Women’s Premier League ladder with four rounds to play.

Strike partner Sarah Carroll also found the back of the net as Redbacks secured their sixth win in their last seven games.

Fresh off a dramatic 4-3 win over Hyundai NTC Women last weekend, Redbacks controlled the early tempo of the game as Sophia Neal called Balcatta goalkeeper Gabby Dal Busco into action inside the opening 10 minutes.

LADDER

Following some persistent pressure, Redbacks broke the deadlock on 11 minutes as Leota nodded home after Dal Basco had parried Larissa Walsh’s earlier effort.

Leota almost had her second just three minutes later when her ferocious left-footed volley cannoned off the bar.

The Redbacks forward wasn’t to be denied for long, however, as her next volley attempt – this time a right-footed effort – found its way into the top corner.

After scoring a hat-trick last weekend, Carroll then got her name on the scoresheet just before half-time as the Redbacks took a 3-0 lead into the break.

It was a more cagey affair after the change of ends as both sides battled for possession in the midfield.

Leota went close to bagging her hat-trick just past the hour mark but the striker’s close-range effort was snuffed out by Dal Busco in a goalline scramble.

Redbacks continued to pepper Dal Busco’s goal as Walsh teed up substitute Tiana Botha, whose glancing header hit the post.

At the other end, Redbacks stopper Morgan Aquino was desperate to keep her clean sheet intact and pulled off an acrobatic save to deny Caitlin Doeglas.

Balcatta forward Liana Cook had the final effort of the game, but her header sailed over the bar as the Redbacks held on to claim a crucial win in their title hunt.

After 16 rounds they lead Queens Park on goal difference, although the reigning champions have a game in hand. Fremantle City are five points adrift of the top two.

Star player: Renee Leota (Northern Redbacks)

Northern Redbacks 3 (Leota 11min 23, S Carroll 39)
Balcatta 0

Celebration Park
Sunday, 11 August 2019
Kick-off: 1.00pm
Referee: Chris McDonald
Assistant referees: Aleisha West, Julian Patu

Northern Redbacks: 1. Morgan AQUINO (GK), 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Larissa WALSH, 4. Bronwyn STUDMAN, 6. Carla BENNETT (12. Grace MONTEIRO 83), 7. Kim CARROLL, 8. Shawn BILLAM, 9. Katie MOTH (17. Ali BENNETT 79), 13. Melanie DOEGLAS, 14. Renee LEOTA, 16. Sophia NEAL (15. Tiana BOTHA 61)
Substitutes not used: 10. Chloe Alaga, 11. Aster MULU
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil

Balcatta: 1. Gabby DAL BUSCO (GK), 2. Monique D’OPERA (12. Charlotte HISLOP 70’), 5. Kim MCCARTNEY, 6. Monique GOODING, 7. Epril NOSSENT, 8. Christiane ASTORP (16. Alana VERONI 46’), 9. Liana COOK, 10. Caitlin DOEGLAS, 13. Tessa DE LEO, 17. Nadia HARVEY
Substitutes not used: 4. Angelique ALBERTS, 11. Baxter THEW, 14. Ashleigh Panaia
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil