Sandringham Soccer Club have closed the gap on Ashburton United, pipping an invaluable 1-0 win at Kingston Heath on Monday night.
Heading into the game five points apart in fourth and fifth place on the ladder respectively, Emma Runnals’ header from a set-piece did the trick, bridging the gap to just two points between the sides.
In an often cagey and scrappy affair, the hosts’ defensive discipline helped them over the line, keeping the talented Ashburton forward line to a clean sheet.
Early push and shove in Ashburton’s attack led to a spilled ball that Georgia Cloepfil pounced on, but Ingrid Philippe stood tall to deny the American.
Ashburton have launched six rockets to dismantle Casey Comets at Markham Reserve on Saturday.
In-form striker Laura Spiranovic led the line with a brace, while the Comets were severely hampered by three players having to leave the pitch with injury.
On a windy day that reminded all of winter’s impending arrival, Ashburton United and Casey Comets strolled out onto Markham Reserve for the round 10 clash.
Aiming to step up early, Casey opened the game quickly by pushing up close to the Ashburton goal, but the home side countered quickly, sending Fede Frew and Melina Ayres in on Alyse Brusamarello’s goal.
Despite South Melbourne rallying late, a fast starting Ashburton United did just enough to earn a 3-2 win at Lakeside Stadium.
But a mini-revival saw Brittany Dudley-Smith and Rhea Schreuder score second half goals to set up an unlikely result, which never came.
There was little doubting however that Ashburton were the deserved winners as South Melbourne were made to play at the tempo that Ashburton set.
Too often they lost possession trying to play low percentage passes due to the presence of an Ashy body breathing down their neck, and that pressure proved the difference over the course of the 90 minutes.
Article by Staff Writers courtesy of the Corner Flag
Photos are in the Gallery - Ashburton v Heidelberg 16 May 2015
A Brittany Thomas double helped Ashburton United defeat Heidelberg United 2-0 at Ashburton Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
The attacker was given a rare start in midfield, and took her chance to shine well, slotting her first past Heidelberg ‘keeper Kelsey Quinn, and heading in her second just before the break.
It was a comfortable win in the end for Ashburton, who cruised to their fifth win of the season.
The beginning of the contest was closely fought, and Heidelberg tested the goal of Melissa Maizels with a strike by Elise Mamanu-Gray following a ball through from Christy Zwolski, but the effort was well saved by the Ashburton custodian.
Up until Thomas notched her first of the afternoon, neither side looked like scoring, as they both failed to keep possession of the ball when it got into the final third.
A burst out of defence from Checker delivered the first moment of quality for the contest, as the Young Matilda played Thomas in behind with a well-weighted through ball.
Thomas composed herself and slotted it into the bottom right corner.
Ashburton didn’t rest on their laurels and sought out another quick strike, but Melina Ayres couldn’t bury her chance from a cross inside the box, and the opportunity went begging.
As the half hour ticked by, Heidelberg were struggling for flow, and a speculative attempt from Verzi which Maizels saved turned out to be its last shot in anger for the half.
Laura Spiranovic almost got the second for the hosts, in the 35th minute, but she couldn’t make the most of the opportunity, which came about after a clearance had hit the forward in the back.
The game got its second moment of brilliance a minute later, when Checker made another marauding run forward, and sent in a sumptuous cross which was nodded into the back of the net with aplomb by Thomas, with Quinn left motionless.
Heidelberg regrouped at the break at came back out with renewed intent, and Aneta Komijat went close with a header three minutes into the second half.
Zwolski then had an opportunity of her own five minutes later, but Maizels only had a simple save to make.
But the action dried up as Ashburton looked to kill the contest.
The home side did have chances for a third just past the hour, when Spiranovic spurned a free header opportunity and Ayres had a shot saved.
It wasn’t proving to be Spiranovic’s day, and she thought her luck had turned when she tapped in after Checker’s flick on from a free kick, but the striker was adjudged to be offside.
Heidelberg strived hard to claw their way back into the contest, even throwing Laura Phillips up front.
But the visitors didn’t get a consolation, and Phillips’ effort in stoppage time only hit the side netting, much to their frustration.
Ashburton United 2 (Thomas 21′, 36′) defeated Heidelberg United 0 at Ashburton Park [HT 2:0]
Ashburton United: 1. Melissa Maizels (GK), 2. Maria Patrikis (26. Bridie Kean 84′), 5. Kristin Stensholt, 15. Emma Checker, 3. Holly Richardson, 14. Christine Pfeiffer, 11. Fede Frew (16. Rachel Jarvis 87′), 4. Brittany Thomas (20. Alyssia Blewonski 79′), 9. Melina Ayres (19. Olivia Edwards 76′), 18. Georgia Cloepfil, 21. Laura Spiranovic (6. Rebecca Saber 86′)
Heidelberg United: 1. Kelsey Quinn (GK), 2. Demi Mihaloudis (16. Stephanie Galjar 36′), 4. Michelle Verzi, 6. Laura Phillips, 8. Emma Gunn (5. Elly Torre 61′), 10. Julia Nicolaci, 11. Aneta Komijat (9. Belinda Pannella 65′), 13. Adelyn Ayton (22. Ellie Gavalas 61′), 15. Lisa Fonua, 19. Christy Zwolski, 45. Elise Mamanu-Gray (7. Marguerite Eudes 70′)
They trailed at the break to a Dani Jackson goal, before strikes from Laura Spiranovic and a double from Georgia Cloepfil scuppered any chance of a potential shock loss.
Caulfield were looking to redeem themselves after a forgetable 9-0 defeat to FC Bulleen Lions in Round 6, and after holding off some initial pressure from Ashburton, the Cobras did exactly that.
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