Ballarat Eureka Strikers have jumped to third on the ladder after an impressive effort at both ends of the pitch in Football Federation Victoria’s women’s state league two north-west competition.
While the Strikers defeated the bottom-of-the-ladder Yarra Jets comfortably, 3-1, coach Adam Vranesic said it had been one of the toughest games so far this season.
“Skill-wise and quality-wise I thought they were the best team that we’ve played,” he said. “They moved the ball really well and they had some fast wingers, so we had to change our game plan up a little bit.
“They were really fast on the counter-attack, which left us exposed a couple of times and Paige (Daly) had to make a few reflex saves.”
One of Daly’s best saves came after the Strikers gave away a free kick with the ball heading towards the top corner of the net.
The Strikers coach was pleased with the team’s performance, particularly while in possession. The players managed to stick to the game plan and created many chances, three of which found the back of the net.
“Everything we set out to do, especially with the ball, they could not have done any better if they tried,” Vranesic said of the Strikers. “We did create more chances, but the Yarra Jets were dangerous a lot of the time as well.”
Sophie Emota was named player of the match for the Strikers after scoring two goals within four minutes in the first half, while captain Natalie Barbara scored the Strikers’ third.
“Sophie started on the bench, I put her on and just needed really high intensity up in our forward half and to put a lot of pressure on them and get the ball back as quick as possible,” Vranesic said. “Within the first 10 minutes she was on she scored two goals. She was definitely one of the stand outs.”
Ali Haywood had a solid game in the backline, vice captain Jasmine Emselle was impressive in her return from injury and the Strikers’ midfielders stood up.
A team effort helped to run out the game strongly.