By Emma Burke
Heidelberg have unfortunately been unable to qualify for the grand final of the NPLW season after being beaten at home by the Bulleen Lions, 1-2 in their semi-final.
Playing under perfect weather conditions and with an excellent kick-off time of 1pm, the Bergers attracted a large crowd, who were eager to show their support for the warrior women.
The first half opened with the Bergers braving a series of attacks launched by Bulleen, but the home side was able to make the first move and break the deadlock.
The first goal of the game came from midfielder Emily Roach, who received the ball from an Elly Torre throw in. Roach slipped away from her defender and took an utterly audacious shot at goal from a distanced angle that succeeded in chipping Bulleen’s keeper.
United then battled their way through the rest of the half keeping Bulleen at bay and managed to see out the rest of the first half without allowing the visiting side to equalize.
Despite taking the lead, the semi-final was truly a game of two halves. The Bulleen Lions came out blazing in the second term and were able to find an equalizer and then take the lead in a five-minute period.
Their first goal came through a corner that was taken short to Lia Privitelli, who then played the ball back to Alana Jancevski. Jancevski whipped the ball in and on its journey to goal, took a deflection from defender Elly Torre, which then resulted in the ball finding the back of the net.
Minutes later, Bulleen found the game winner. A moment of miscommunication between Melissa Maizels in goals and center-back Felicity Georgopoulos led to the latter having her pocket picked in possession by Lia Privitelli only meters out from goal. Privitelli made no mistake and scored the goal with ease.
The rest of the game was spent by the Bergers both trying to find an equalizer of their own and keep Bulleen from scoring again. The time eventually ran out for United, and Bulleen came away with the spot in the grand final.
In spite of losing the semi-final, the senior women’s side at Heidelberg United have had their most successful season yet. They won 16 games this season, had their highest finish in 12 years by ending their season second on the ladder, and saw more than eight homegrown players make their first senior appearances.
Striker Danielle Wise also collected the leagues Golden Boot, having scored 16 goals, with captain Stephanie Galea coming in second in the race scoring 14 goals, and midfielder Rebecca Burrow was awarded Player’s Player of the season at the NPL Gold Medal Night.
To put it simply, Heidelberg is back on the map and not going anywhere anytime soon.
Heidelberg United FC 1 (E. Roach 20′) – Bulleen Lions FC (E. Torre 64′ [OG], L. Privitelli 66′)
1 – Melissa Maizels [GK]
2 – Emily Roach
4 – Danielle Wise
5 – Elly Torre
6 – Felicity Georgopoulos
7 – Stephanie Galea [C]
8 – Kathryn Vlahopoulos (3 – Maxine Diblasi 74′)
9 – Keely Lockhart (35 – Pearl Stevens 79′)
14 – Tijan Mckenna
16 – Isabella Wallhead
18 – Eve Tiktikakis (22 – Elwen Parbery 79′)
Subs not used
19 – Deana Kotsabas
20 – Natasha Stathopoulos [GK]
25 – Miette Georgio