Darebin Falcons vs Whittlesea Rangers
Darebin Falcons were given an almighty fright by the Women’s State League Division Two North West’s bottom side Whittlesea Ranges on Sunday.
There was hushed talk before the game of a percentage boost but, in the end, the Falcons were lucky simply to escape with the points in a 5-4 triumph.
Oddly this season, Darebin’s best soccer has come away from home and their struggles to reproduce that form at Capp Reserve continued at the weekend.
Any thoughts of an easy win evaporated in the opening minute as the underdogs broke quickly and caught Darebin napping, netting a long-range goal.
It took a stunned Darebin side time to work their way back into the match, and their cause was not helped by Jo Rooney missing a penalty midway through the half.
The spotkick had been won by Niddie Morgan, and the winger soon took matters into her own hands, providing a perfect cross for Lauren Proudfoot to tap in to level the scores, then scoring herself from an acute angle to put the home side ahead.
But just as this seemed to settle the Falcons, Whittlesea nabbed their second and the sides went into the break locked at 2-2.
Stung into action by a half-time ticking off the Falcons again edged in front, through Ange Mackie, but again the visitors showed their resilience to pull level.
A pinpoint freekick from Nicky Leitch and Proudfoot’s second of the game – from the penalty spot – seemingly had Darebin heading for victory but there was one final twist to come.
Carolyn Monk, who had already been booked, committed a professional foul and was sent off. With Whittlesea scoring from the resultant penalty, it made for a tense final 10 minutes.
Darebin held on, however, and gratefully banked what had seemed an unlikely three points at several stages of the match.
The triumph was enough to take them fourth in the table, but they face a tough battle maintaining that position when they travel to La Trobe University this Sunday.