Northern Redbacks continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 5 goal victory over third-placed Fremantle City on Friday night at Macedonia Park.
Kicking off the game just one point ahead of their visitors, Redbacks knew they would have to be at their best if they were to get anything from the game, and were bolstered with the returns of Kim Carroll from her W-League season, and Maya Diederichsen from injury. Carla Bennett also made her first start of the season, with Jaycinta Coleman not available.
Redbacks started very brightly and created the first chance of the game inside 30 seconds when Lauren Continibali's teasing cross just eluded Larissa Walsh at the far post. The home team continued to press hard and full-back Emily Dunn sent over a great cross with Walsh again the target, but she couldn't quite get enough on it to trouble Dayle Schoreder in the Fremantle goal.
Freo then showed how dangerous they could be when Clare Woods was denied the opening goal in the 5th minute by a wonderful save from Diedrichsen who somehow managed to tip the ball over the bar from point-blank range.
Redbacks then opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, when Sarah Carroll bent a lovely curling free-kick over the Fremantle wall and into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-0.
Fremantle now started to dominate the game as they pushed for an equaliser and applied tremendous pressure on the Redback defence, and Deiderichsen was forced into making a number of saves.
Redbacks had to play a counterattacking game because of this pressure, and in the 36th minute they nearly doubled the score when a through ball from Bennett found Walsh, but her 1st touch was just a little too heavy and allowed Schroeder to save at her feet.
Fremantle continued to dominate possession, and nearly had an equaliser in the 45th minute when Annabelle Leek pushed her shot just wide of the post
With the game now moving into stoppage time for the first half, Redbacks won possession deep in their own half. Bennett drove with the ball into the Fremantle half and then released the overlapping Walsh on her right, and she sent an inch-perfect cross into the Fremantle penalty area into the path of the onrushing Renee Leota. Leota's first shot was parried by Schroeder, but the rebound fell straight back at the ex Kiwi International, and she pushed the ball back past the keeper and into the net to make it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime.
The second half saw Redbacks play in a more relaxed manner, and they started to move the ball around really well. A good chance fell to Continibali in the 52nd minute, but she pushed it just wide but in the 60th minute the winger turned provider when she curled a delightful ball beyond the Fremantle defence into the path of Walsh who steadied herself before sliding a left-footed shot into the net to make it 3-0.
Continibali was again involved in the 4th goal of the evening when her clever dribble into the box drew a foul from the Fremantle defenders. Referee Peter Kaiser had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Sarah Carroll dispatched the penalty with ruthless efficiency.
Fremantle still hadn't given up though, and nearly scored in the 65th minute when Steffi Nadilo found herself free in the 6-yard box, but her scuffed shot ended up in the grateful arms of Deiderichsen.
The fifth and final goal arrived in the 67th minute when Walsh slid a ball into Leota, whose run was not tracked by the Fremantle defence. she just managed to get to the ball ahead of Schroeder and pushed it into the net.
The win lifts Redbacks 4 points clear of Fremantle to keep them top of the table, and now sets up a very tight game next week when they travel to MUM FC for what should be the toughest test of the season so far.
Post-match interview with Renee Leota.