Box Hill United’s senior women outgunned rivals Heidelberg United after a tenacious display guided them to a deserved 2-1 win on Sunday in the NPLW Round 17.
While Heidelberg opened the scoring via an own goal, Box Hill resorted parity through Maja Markovski, and Emma Hubbard sealed the deal with the winner midway through the second-half.
The win at the Olympic Village meant Box Hill's ladies continue to remain unbeaten against Heidelberg so far, having bagged full points in the reverse fixture 1-0, thanks to none other than Hubbard’s opportunistic solitary strike.
Sunday’s match-up seesawed initially, as neither side managed to cut their teeth into proceedings with utmost dominance. The teams traded corners early on, but could not serve up a scoring chance.
However, Heidelberg fired the first warning shot on nine minutes, as Elly Torre tested Box Hill shot-stopper Bethany Mason-Jones with a dipping effort, which the latter comfortably gathered.
At the other end five minutes later, Box Hill’s Japanese import Asuka Kakazu saw her swerving 25-yard free-kick parried to safety by a diving Christine Fonua in the opposition goal.
On 16 minutes though, Box Hill conceded a cruel own goal following a defensive miscommunication, giving the hosts an unlikely lead.
But the side were handed a lifeline when Markovski equalised on 29 minutes, which was very much a goal of her own making. After showing her marker a clean pair of heels down the left flank, the striker played a give-and-go with Emma Langley before finding her attempt from the edge of the box deflected into the net.
With the game nicely poised, both sets of players were welcomed by lashing rain as they emerged from the sheds following the breather.
And it was Box Hill who hit the front-foot under difficult ground conditions, as cultured centre-back Natasha Dakic struck the post on 47 minutes after finding herself unmarked inside the area on the back of captain Hayley Geurts’ cross.
In the space of the next ten minutes, Box Hill fashioned two more opportunities. Defender Rhiannon Fensom found her shot from the right blocked after a corner, while Kakazu failed to guide the ball home from point-blank range as Geurts found her with another pinpoint right-flank cross.
However, on 59 minutes, the visitors were two goals to the good, as Hubbard tucked home at the near post after Box Hill had enforced a flag-kick.
But a relentless Heidelberg mounted a late search for a way back, yet Box Hill survived the scare on three separate occasions.
While Geurts had to mop up the danger off the goal-line as Mason-Jones spilled a right-flank cross on 69 minutes, the home side saw two successive efforts crash against the goal-frame in the second-half stoppage time following a Daniella Galluccio free-kick from close to the left touchline.
Box Hill United starting XI: N Dakic, R Fensom, H Geurts © (M Heysen, 83’), O Ellis, E Hubbard, A Kakazu, E Langley, M Lantieri-Bartley, M Markovski (L Pickett, 71’), B Mason-Jones (GK), C Storay
Unused substitutes: N Griffen, M Martinez, N McLure