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Redbacks win Women’s State Cup

Report by Edward Nixon

Northern Redbacks continued their impressive season by claiming the Women’s State Cup with a 2-1 win over Balcatta at Lark Hill Sportsplex.

The Women’s Premier Division leaders held off a fast-finishing Balcatta to secure their first piece of silverware for the season.

Tiana Botha and Sarah Carroll had Redbacks 2-0 in front at half time and despite Christiane Astorp’s halving the deficit 12 minutes from time, Conrad McKelvie’s side saw out the game.

“It was always going to be tight, Balcatta have been great all season and they made it a really good game,” McKelvie said.

Three weeks after they met in the league the two sides were at it again, with Balcatta forward Liana Cook recording the first shot of the game after just 40 seconds.

Renee Leota goes in on Balcatta keeper Melissa Shepherd as the ball drops in for Redbacks’ second goal. Photo by Football West/FotoEnzo

Redbacks have made a habit of finding a way to win this season and they almost put their noses ahead on seven minutes when Shawn Billam’s header was cleared off the line by Epril Nossent.

But there was nothing Nossent could do in the 14th minute when Redbacks striker Botha opened the scoring with a calm finish past Balcatta keeper Melissa Shepherd.

Shepherd, playing in place of the suspended Gabby Dal Busco, pulled off a stunning one-on-one save to deny Renee Leota on the half-hour mark.

Redbacks would soon double their advantage, however, with goal machine Carroll finding the back of the net with a perfectly weighted chip over Shepherd.

Two-nil up and in control, Northern Redbacks came out after the break trying to put the game to bed – Carroll blazing over on the turn.

Balcatta realised they needed a goal from somewhere to get back in the game. Throwing bodies forward, Balcatta substitute Baxter Thew headed over before Astorp’s long-range effort rifled past Morgan Aquino in the Redbacks goal to set up a grandstand finish.

With the clock running down and Balcatta desperate to take the game to penalties, Tessa De Leo almost produced the equaliser but her free-kick flew just over.

Shawn Billam receives the Sandra Brentnall Medal from Football West Life Member Penny Tanner Hoath. Photo by Football West/FotoEnzo

While the final whistle brought celebrations from the Redbacks followers, McKelvie turned his attention to the league campaign where two wins from their final three games will secure a league and cup double.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, it’s good to win a cup but the league’s the priority,” he said.

“We have to make sure we do the right things in the lead up and make sure we do the right things in the game.”

Redbacks skipper Billam received the Sandra Brentnall Medal as Player Of the Match.

The victory capped a great day for Redbacks, whose sides lifted the Smarter than Smoking Girls U18 and U16 Cups with wins over Hamersley Rovers JFC and Murdoch University Melville, respectively.

MUM won the U14 Cup, defeating Redbacks in the final.

Star player: Shawn Billam (Northern Redbacks)

Northern Redbacks 2 (Botha 14min, Carroll 40)
Balcatta 1 (Astorp 78)

Lark Hill Sportsplex
Sunday, September 1, 2019
Kick-off: 5.00pm
Referee: Jess Byrd
Assistant referees: Caleigh Ormrod, supplied

Northern Redbacks: 1. Morgan AQUINO (GK), 2. Sarah CARROLL, 3. Larissa WALSH, 6. Carla BENNETT, 7. Kim CARROLL, 8. Shawn BILLAM, 9. Katie MOTH (16. Sophia NEAL 69), 11. Emily DUNN, 13. Melanie DOEGLAS, 14. Renee LEOTA, 15. Tiana BOTHA (12. Grace MONTEIRO 83)
Substitutes not used: 4. Janelle ST PIERRE, 10. Emily ROACH, 17. Ali BENNETT
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil 

Balcatta: 1. Melissa SHEPHERD, 2. Monique D’OPERA (11. Baxter THEW 66), 4. Angelique ALBERTS (17. Nadia HARVEY 46), 5. Kim McCARTNEY, 6. Monique GOODING, 7. Epril NOSSENT, 8. Christiane ASTORP (14. Ashleigh Panaia 86), 9. Liana COOK, 10. Tessa DE LEO, 12. Charlotte HISLOP (15. Alana VERONI 46), 13. Caitlin DOEGLAS
Substitutes not used: 16. Laura CRUZ
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil