Box Hill United’s senior women ended the 2019 NPLW regular season with a routine 4-0 victory against Southern United at Wembley Park.
Sunday afternoon’s Round 27 fixture saw Box Hill’s Japanese midfielder Asuka Kakazu net a double, and wingbacks Olivia Ellis and Elaina Vatcky grab two more to guide their side to victory.
Box Hill fielded a much-changed roster, with young goalkeeper Gabriella Eggleton, defender Maia Heysen and markswoman Emma Langley getting a nod in the starting-XI.
The hosts began turning the screw from the offing, with Kakazu firing a warning shot at Southern goalkeeper Melissa Maizels, who served up a reflex save to deny the Box Hill playmaker’s header on nine minutes.
Despite their dominance on the ball, Box Hill hit a roadblock against the compressed Southern rearguard, who continued to douse the goal-mouth threat admirably.
But three quick goals translated Box Hill’s possessional supremacy going into the half-time. After a Southern defender had miscued her clearance off Hayley Geurts’ right-flank cross on 29 minutes, Kakazu tucked home past Maizels.
On 37 minutes, Geurts was the creator once more down the right, floating in a measured pass that Ellis nodded home at the far post. And it was 3-0 to the hosts two minutes later, thanks to Kakazu’s situational awareness, which saw her finish off a rebound after Maizels had parried Maja Markovski’s 18-yard effort onto the crossbar.
Heavy rain welcomed both sides back onto the pitch after the restart, with Southern crafting their first shot of the match through Jennifer Lum, whose left-footer drifted wide of Eggleton’s near post on 47 minutes.
Sarah Wieck then tried her luck from a 25-yard direct free-kick for the visitors, but Eggleton gathered it comfortably.
Box Hill went on the offensive once more, but Geurts was thwarted twice by Maizels. On 50 minutes, the Box Hill captain saw her driven attempt collected by Maizels, who then rushed out of her line to deny Geurts one-on-one on 65 minutes.
The home side continued to up the ante, mustering hopeful efforts from distance through Markovski, Langley and Vatcky, but the scoreline remained intact.
However, substitute Vatcky grabbed Box Hill’s last goal of the regular campaign on 77 minutes. The pacy wide player expertly lobbed one over Maizels from the edge of the box after collecting a through pass from Kakazu, who had intercepted possession in the middle of the park to initiate the counter-surge.
Box Hill United starting-XI: N Dakic, G Eggleton (GK), O Ellis (E Vatcky, 53’), H Geurts ©, R Fensom (M Lantieri-Bartley, 66’), M Heysen, A Kakazu, E Langley, M Markovski (N Griffen, 63’), G Norbury (L Pickett, 63’), C Storay (E Hubbard, 53’)
Second image courtesy: Michael Eggelton