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Smash and Grab Denies Redbacks

Picture of Redbacks Player Carla Bennett
Carla Bennett - Scorer of the 1st Goal

Two minutes of attacking play by Curtin University were enough to deny Redbacks all three points on Saturday, as the home team completed an unlikely comeback and a share of the spoils.

Redbacks completely dominated the game in all aspects except for the most important one, and their lack of a clinical finish in front of the goal allowed the home team the opportunity to grab a point and put a halt to Redbacks three-game winning streak.

The game started slowly, but a pattern of Redbacks dominance soon emerged, which would end with the team having 62% possession, 22 shots and 13 corners.

The opening goal arrived in the 24th minute when captain Shawn Billam floated a lovely ball over the Curtin defence for Carla Bennett. The holder of the most appearances for the club in senior colours allowed the ball to bounce before dispatching it into the roof of the net for her first goal of the campaign.

Redbacks continued to press and create chances but the final pass or touch was just missing. They were also winning a lot of corners and came close to doubling the lead in the 30th minute when a short corner routine allowed Jacinta Coleman to cross onto the head of Billam. Her downward header looked to be going in, but a superb save by Curtin keeper Stacey Cavll denied her.

In the 35th minute, a floating ball from the right caused panic in the Curtin defence and Cavill fumbled the ball as she attempted to catch it. The bounce of the ball was just enough to prevent Larissa Walsh from controlling it and her attempt ended up going wide.

A second goal did eventually arrive and it was from yet another corner in the 40th minute. Bennett picked out Coleman and her powerful header was too much for Cavill.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first with the home team pinned back in their own half and Redbacks dominating possession and creating chances.

In the 51st minute, they worked the ball to Olivia Wood who had found space in the penalty box, but the teenager leant back just too far and her shot went over the bar.

The game was then turned on its head in the 67th minute. Curtin worked the ball to Eleanor Bates, who took a snapshot with her left foot which eluded Maya Diederichsen in the Redbacks goal to make it 2-1.

A minute later the most unlikely of comebacks continued when Curtin equalised. Bates now turned provider as her pass found Rhianna Burgess whose first time left shot was enough to beat Diederichsen to make it 2-2. The goal was greeted with some understandably excited celebrations.

Redbacks looked stunned, as a game that they had so completely dominated was now in danger of being lost, but they quickly cleared their heads and went in search of a winner.

In the 71st minute, Billam played Walsh in with a lovely through ball, but the leading scorer couldn't quite enough purchase on it and Cavill was able to save.

A neat one-two in the 77th minute between Grace Monteiro and Renee Leota allowed Monteiro to get into the box, but her shot was again well saved by Cavill.

Cavill was again called into action in the 82nd minute when a bouncing ball in the area wasn't dealt with by the Curtin defence. The ball fell to Leota and her right foot shot was turned around the post by the keeper.

The final whistle was the signal for two very mixed sets of emotions, with Redbacks not quite believing they had let the game slip away, whilst Curtin were justifiably happy to have come back from two goals down.

Results from the other games on the weekend saw Redbacks lead at the top cut to just one point, and they next face a tough away game against third-placed Fremantle City.

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