Gladesville Ravens 2 Northbridge Bulls 5

A first half to forget for the Ravens saw them undone by their own mistakes, Northbridge racing to a three goal lead at the break without really getting out of second gear.

An early gift for Frances Klein set the visitors away, Sabine Lozina then saw a cross turn into a goal before scoring a deft lob for her second and the Bulls’ third.

Ravens rallied in the second half and were much less generous to their opponents, Lexi Mavraidis notching two goals. Another two scrappy goals conceded though left Ravens rueing their defensive lapses in a game from which they could have easily earned points.

The Bulls came into this one on the back of a bye and a defeat to league leaders SD Raiders, so were looking to get back to winning ways. The Ravens had scrapped well at Nepean to earn a draw, but their home form was a problem, only a win against basement club Inter Lions to show for their endeavours this season.

Red and white vs black and white, evoking memories of tense Tyne and Wear derbies of yesteryear, but this one was destined to be anything but tense for the visitors. With Saba Hinton commanding the back line, a Ravens team without their striker Jackie Rice had to mix it up, Sienna Beram coming in to take the centre-forward role. It was clear that long ball tactics would be employed.

The first goal though went to the Bulls, and it was a disaster for home keeper Chloe Mccredie, who came to collect a ball but dropped it, Klein accepting the present and rolling the ball into the net for 1-0. The game hadn’t really got going, and neither team was showing dominance, Beram shooting over from an offside position as Ravens looked to respond. A cross from the right from Lozina was going nowhere until Mccredie misjudged the bounce and the net bulged for a second time, the Ravens keeper looking to the heavens for inspiration.

Two goals down at such an early stage, Ravens continued to plug away, Anna Wroughton released Ella Moar down the left who crossed low for Beram to beat Horley to the ball, but the ball rolled agonisingly past the post, the assistant referee’s flag though would have spoiled the party. At the other end, a reaction handball from Alessia Rizzuto handed a free-kick to captain Sarah King, which was headed just wide, before Lozina gave us a repeat of her trick, crossing from the right, but this time a much better purchase on the ball and it sailed over the stranded Mccredie for 3-0.

Wroughton hammered a shot in as Ravens tried to get back into the game, which was blocked for a corner, and the half ended in familiar fashion, Mccredie doing well to get in the way of a shot, and her defence hacking the ball off the line. The 3-0 scoreline at the break was very generous for the visitors – in reality this was a 0-0 performance, and Ravens had given themselves a mountain to climb.

Northbridge started the half in command, and Ruby Davies had a chance to make it four, shooting over after a corner had been cleared. All of a sudden, the game turned, Hardaker won the ball in midfield and fed Mavraidis, whose pace took her past her defender down the right and a cross-shot bounced away from Horley and into the net. We were seeing some much better play all across the park from the home team, and they were battling valiantly at the back. Mccredie made a fine save with her feet to block an attack, Aurelia Smith clearing the ball off the line, and Mccredie made a fine close-range stop to force a corner. Moar and Mavraidis were causing problems down both flanks, but it was the Bulls who got the next goal. A corner was cleared, crossed back into the six yard box where a scramble saw the ball bundled home by Klein to make it 4-1.

Ravens came again, and as the visitors tried to play their way out of trouble at the back, Moar reacted quickly to steal the ball, her cross was missed by the defender and Mavraidis was there to pass the ball into the net for a tidy second goal to bring the scores closer and hopefully see a grandstand finish to the game.

That wasn’t to be though, and Alara Sheather swept a cross in following a short corner, and a scramble saw the ball forced home by King to complete the scoring. The game came to a close after Sage Melhem had limped off to deplete the Ravens striking department even further, and the 5-2 scoreline was harsh on the home side who had matched their opponents for large parts of the game.

Ravens now enjoy a weekend off for the long weekend, while Northbridge take on a free-scoring South East Phoenix. The halfway stage has been reached in the season, Northbridge Bulls are finely poised for a run in to the finals, while Ravens need to regroup and focus on the visit of UNSW to the home of football at Christie Park in a six-pointer in a fortnight.

  • Note – any corrections to goal scorers and player names, let me know!

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