Too close to call

The fifth round of the Steeline Bendigo Bank Limestone Coast Football Association Senior Women’s season had its fair share of rain and goals, but one contest stood out.

Although the Saturday afternoon wind and rain did its best to dampen the spectacle, nothing could split Apollo and Millicent in the match of the round at Blue Lake Sports Park.

Despite the second and fifth placed sides on the ladder facing off, the visiting Millicent side threw everything at the blue and white and caught them by surprise.

Darcey Allen, Christene Farana and Emma Lang were the main drivers behind the visitors fight as they pressed forward to put the opposing defenders under pressure.

Millicent United thought it found the breakthrough goal, only for it to be ruled offside, while Lang was also on the verge of a promising run down the right wing, but that was also disallowed.

But Millicent did not have it all its own way in the back and forward style of game.

The likes of Rylee Kuchel, Arabella Calderwood and Deni Atkin all threatened to score for Apollo and created a number of chances.

Atkin had the best shot at sending the hosts into the lead when a smart cross from Calderwood presented the striker the perfect chance near the left-hand goalpost, but she could only put her hands on her head after putting a touch too much power into the kick.

But this was a byproduct of Millicent’s pressure in the defensive half where Caroline Dower and Leonie Mccallum held firm and kicked any loose balls out of trouble.

Eventually the battling visitors were rewarded for their efforts when Farana found another clean run down the wing and crossed the ball to Lang, whose strike was launched with enough power to catch the keeper off guard and slam into the net.

The breakthrough sparked conversations about whether or not Millicent could complete the job and pull off an upset.

However, Apollo was determined to avoid defeat and increased the intensity as play started to slow due to the heavy rain.

The speed of Isobelle Frewster started to become a factor as Dani Johnston also chased down a lot of ball.

The endeavor of the hosts soon paid off when they found the equaliser they had been searching for through Rylee Kuchel.

Kuchel had been troubling the Millicent defence with her movement all day and when it mattered she pounced to score the much-needed goal.

With the scoreboard locked at one-all both teams kept pressing hard.

Millicent almost made the killer blow, but Apollo goalkeeper Angela McDonough got her hands on the ball at the critical moment.

In the end both teams had to settle for the draw which was the fair result after a closely fought 90 minutes.

The Blue Lake and Centrals shaped up to be the heavy weight clash of the round, but one team turned what could have been a classic into an exhibition.

Playing on home turf at Malseed Park the Rangers were hungry for success and feasted on an undermanned Lions outfit.

Ironically ex Centrals player and new Blue Lake recruit Kendell Saffin got the action rolling and almost scored off her first touch.

But she did not have to wait long and nailed a lovely long-range shot into the top corner which inspired the hosts to go in for the kill.

Despite some spirited efforts by Olivia Gwilym in the Central’s defence, Blue Lake killed the contest by scoring a flurry of goals.

Co-captain Aimee Brooks had the time of her life completing a hat-trick inside the first half as the Rangers feasted on the work rate of Lauren Frost, Jasmine White and Aidene Parr.

Even though Janaye Donaldson put the Lions on the board with a smart strike around the keeper from her left boot, Blue Lake was well on the way to a convincing win.

White found the back of the net twice, while Parr and both Frost sisters also put their names on the board to complete the 9-1 win.

Blue Lake co-coach Sean Fulton said it was the most complete performance of the season.

“For the first time this year, we had a full squad at our disposal,” he said.

“The passing and crossing of the Blues were a highlight and the creative work on the wings of the young guns, particularly Brydie Lewis, was a testament to all their hard work on the training track.

“The defence is learning to play together and starting to turn into a rock-solid unit, while the finishing of the forwards was very pleasing.”

Up at Naracoorte, International also had few dramas finding the net scoring 12 goals across 90 devastating minutes.

Ella Doody continued her touch striking four times, while Skye Robertson also enjoyed the spotlight claiming a hat-trick of her own.

Not to be out done Skye’s sister Leonie struck twice along with Satu Aumo.

Inter appeared to be a cut above in all departments, but Naracoorte fans made a loud cheer when Hayley Fulton found the goals.

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