A local derby to remember for the black and whites of Gladesville Ravens as they grabbed their first win of the season at a sunny Christie Park.
A tight first half saw the teams separated only by an Alessia Rizzuto strike as both teams struggled to make use of the space of the expansive field. The Ravens dominated the second half though and goals from Lucy Hardaker and Ella Moar wrapped up the three vital points for the home team.
Ravens were full of confidence coming into this home fixture on the back of a fine performance on the South Coast, and Inter Lions’ early season form suggested this might be an opportunity to grab a first win of the season.
An early period of dominance for the home team saw livewire Lexi Mavraidis get into a good position on the right of the penalty area, only to be denied by Lions’ goalkeeper Ananya Slocum, saving smartly from a low shot. Matilda Banfield was kept busy shackling the Ravens attack, and there were bright signs for the visitors, Holly Smith looking lively as the Ravens defence held firm. A great chance from a free kick on the edge of the area was then blazed wide by Mavraidis, before Ravens fashioned their first goal from a corner. The corner was hoisted across by Eme Johnson and fell perfectly for Rizzuto to strike home. Rizzuto was again involved and Slocum was brave to smother at her feet as a loose ball spun her way.
At the other end, Inter Lions were feeding off scraps and almost created a goal, a shot eventually coming from the right which was well fielded by Mccredie in the Ravens goal. Only one goal in it at half time and the game was finely poised for an exciting second half.
The second half started with Inter on the attack, Elise Crino almost wriggling clear of her marker to get on the end of a through ball. The game was to turn though within five minutes of the restart, a break through the middle after Inter tried to play out from the back saw a ball rolled back into the path of Hardaker. Fully 25 yards out, she raced onto the pass and launched a lofted shot goalwards that bounced away from the grasp of Slocum and into the net for a thrilling second goal.
A corner for the Lions then caused panic in the Ravens defence, the ball eventually going out for a goal kick. The short kick to Issy Franks was cleared to Jasmine Waters who did well to keep the ball in. Ella Moar chased down her defender, still well inside her own half and set off on a long run down the left. She shaped to cross and delivered the perfect ball in, over the stranded goalkeeper, bouncing straight into the net for three. Ravens were in command now, Jackie Rice shot just wide from inside the area and Anna Wroughton tried a speculator from distance that was well fielded. A tremendous corner from Johnson then set up an almighty scramble in the Inter penalty area that was eventually cleared, and a moment of confusion with a back pass at the other end presented the blue and black with their best chance that was screwed wide with Mccredie at full stretch.
The referee blew for full time with Ravens again on the attack, and the 3-0 scoreline reflected the way the game had turned in the second half. Congratulations to the Ravens for their first three-point haul this season. They will need to fire next weekend when they travel to league leaders SD Raiders, while Inter Lions host the unpredictable Northbridge Bulls, looking for their first points to kick start their season.
Many thanks to J-Mac Sports Photography for their use of these fantastic action shots from Sunday’s game.