Box Hill United’s senior women prevailed over Senior NTC 2-0 at Wembley Park on Sunday afternoon, courtesy of an opportunistic brace from striker Emma Hubbard.
The win meant Box Hill would stay unbeaten in the NPLW this term against NTC, having won and drawn once in the last two encounters.
NTC began the first-half proceedings dominating possession, and trying to forge their way between the hosts’ defensive lines. While Box Hill were aiming to counter the threat by utilising the width of the pitch and using pace down the flanks.
Consequently, both sides traded shots within minutes of the opening whistle, but the scoreline remained unaffected.
While Nichola Schubert dragged her effort from the left for NTC, Box Hill midfielder Grace Norbury tested the opposition goalkeeper Sophia Varley from the edge of the box after collecting Maja Markovski’s crafty lay-off.
The tempo settled following the initial enterprise from both sets of players, but Box Hill upped the ante as the half-time buzzer drew closer.
Japanese playmaker Asuka Kakazu unleashed a trademark curler but failed to find the target on 39 minutes. Similarly, Markovski’s low free-kick from 20 yards was repelled by the NTC wall following a clumsy foul on Emma Langley.
After a re-shuffle by Box Hill tutor Brian Roberts during the recess, Box Hill looked a side transformed and more intent on causing damage upfield by playing a higher line.
But NTC’s Holly Furphy somehow managed to rattle the crossbar from a counter-attack on 46 minutes.
On 50 minutes, Langley snatched possession after an NTC goal-kick went wrong, but could only see her point-blank effort thwarted by Varley.
And Hubbard, now playing with a changed set of boots as the roaming striker, saw successive efforts kept at bay by the NTC backline after Box Hill had enforced two corners near the hour mark.
The relentless hosts threw their weight around further, when Langley hit the goalframe from inside the six-yard area, and substitute Hayley Geurts aimed for the top-bin, but her shot whistled past the left upright.
Box Hill then drew first blood on 79 minutes, when Hubbard’s well-connected half-volley from outside the box was spilled into the NTC net by Varley.
On 85 minutes, the hosts doubled their advantage, when the determined Hubbard forced an error from her marker and darted forward with the ball to expertly lob Varley, who rushed out of her line in vain.
There was still late scare for the home side though, who survived in stoppage time when NTC were denied once more by the woodwork on the counter-surge.
Following a clean sheet to boot this afternoon’s league victory, the Box Hill ladies will now shift their focus to the Nike FC Cup final against Calder United at the CB Smith Reserve next Sunday (11 Aug, 5 PM kick-off).
Box Hill United starting-XI: N Dakic © (M Heysen, 88’), O Ellis, R Fensom, E Hubbard, A Kakazu (M Martinez, 88’), E Langley (N Griffen, 73’), M Lantieri-Bartley, M Markovski (H Geurts, 61’), B Mason-Jones (GK), G Norbury (C Storay, 52’), E Vatcky