Box Hill United’s senior women served up a robust display on all fronts to emerge as deserving 1-0 winners against Geelong Galaxy United on Saturday afternoon.
Rhiannon Fensom’s solitary goal proved the difference in this NPLW Round 20 clash at Wembley Park, which also resulted in the first senior start for our U/19s midfielder Laura Pickett, and young striker Erin Keyt clocking valuable minutes as a second-half substitute.
Box Hill hit top-gear from the opening whistle, with Tasmanian duo Emma Langley and Caitlin Storay combining to register the first warning shot. On two minutes, Storay met Langley’s right-flank cross with a ferocious header, which Geelong goalkeeper Emily Kenshole tipped on to the goal-frame.
Kenshole then pawed Box Hill captain Hayley Geurts’ driven delivery from the corner arc on 10 minutes, amidst a crowded Galaxy penalty area. On 18 minutes, young gun Pickett also saw her snapshot from the edge of the area graze the far upright.
With the ensuing exchanges predominantly panning out in the midfield, Galaxy momentarily turned the screw after the first quarter, but ran into a roadblock in the form of Box Hill custodian Bethany Mason-Jones.
Galaxy’s Japanese speedster Kanna Oda attempted an arrowed shot from the left of the area on 26 minutes, but Mason-Jones bravely closed down the angle catapulting out of her line.
Three minutes later, Geelong right-back Imogen Pratt rushed in to test Mason-Jones from 25-yards, but the former Melbourne Victory W-League goalkeeper equalled it with a finger-tip save.
Box Hill then nosed ahead on 33 minutes, as bustling centre-back Fensom strongly beat her marker at the back post to nod home, following Geurts’ superb corner delivery.
Langley almost grabbed a second for us after the half-time break after putting pressure on Kenshole inside the six-yard box. Although the Geelong goalkeeper spilled the ball, a defender was on hand to mop up the danger.
The former Heidelberg United striker tested Kenshole again on 58 minutes, who somehow gathered Langley’s effort from point-blank range between two Geelong defenders.
The Langley-Maja Markovski striking pair for Box Hill continued to hassle the hosts. On 61 minutes, Markovski found Langley with a flicked pass, only for the latter to poke her shot just over the crossbar.
The Brian Roberts-coached Box Hill side appeared stubborn to protect their slender lead, and although Galaxy began dictating more of the possession, Samuel Young’s side carried very little venom upfield.
One such hopeful surge upfront for Geelong saw Oda’s optimistic effort comfortably gathered by Mason-Jones.
Although Galaxy earned a handful of corners and a free-kick from 20-yards in the final quarter of the game, they failed to produce the goods as hoped, and Box Hill finished with their fourth win in six league outings.
Box Hill United starting-XI: N Dakic, O Ellis, R Fensom, H Geurts © (E Vatcky, 51’), A Kakazu, E Langley (E Keyt, 80’), M Lanteiri-Bartley, M Markovski (M Heysen, 89’), B Mason-Jones (GK), L Pickett, C Storay
Unused substitutes: N Griffen, M Martinez