Box Hill United ladies’ goalkeeper Bethany Mason-Jones urged her colleagues to jostle for supremacy in matches right from the get-go, with the NPLW season entering its last leg.
On Saturday, the side drew 1-1 against Bayside United at the Kingston Heath, where it finished goalless in the first period but Bayside nosed ahead through Jesse Kotsikas.
Box Hill hauled themselves back through pace ace Elaina Vatcky, while Maja Markovski saw her thumping finish controversially flagged off for offside.
The Round 21 match-up was our ladies’ third fixture in a week, following a league win against Geelong Galaxy United (1-0) and a Nike FC Cup semi-final triumph against Melbourne University (3-0).
Reviewing the draw, Mason-Jones said, “Honestly, a little bit frustrated [and] disappointed. We have to look at the bigger picture. It has been our third match within the week. But based on our goals and motivations for the season, we should be able to back ourselves up against Bayside after a midweek game.
“The first-half was a bit flat for both sides. They had that quick pace up front, which they utilised. But it was a more open second-half.
“We need to switch on from the very start of games, and not wait until the second-half or the other team really challenges us to wake up.”
After just one loss in the last seven league outings, Box Hill are firmly established mid-table, and have progressed to their second consecutive Cup final.
Pleased with the side’s progress under Brian Roberts’ tutelage, the 21-year-old added, “We have lifted our standards [and] we have had a good run. We definitely can progress as a team. We have to make sure that we pick ourselves up a lot quicker than we did last time, and keep surging for the finals.
“It’s now coming up to the rough end of the season. [But] just because it’s going towards the end doesn’t mean it’s over. It doesn’t mean we take our feet off the pedal. We have to keep working. We have got to stay united as a team.”
Mason-Jones, who clinched the 2018/19 W-League Premiers plate with Melbourne Victory, made her 2019 Box Hill debut in Round 9 against Southern United.
She has established herself as the number one between the sticks, barring a minor injury that kept her out of action for about three weeks.
Box Hill U/19s’ goalkeeper Gabriella Eggleton stepped up to the challenge in her absence, garnering rave reviews in both Cup and league appearances.
Rating her understudy’s steady development, Mason-Jones said, “I give her (Gabriella) a lot of credit, especially stepping up in that Cup game [against Alamein]. She did really well for her first game. She stood up confidently. I am really proud of her.
“I enjoy working with her. I want to make sure that she keeps pushing as a goalkeeper. As a young goalkeeper, I didn’t have a lot of role models or a lot of people pushing me – I had to push myself. I want to make sure that the younger generation gets that help.”
Images courtesy: Football Victoria