MATCH REPORT | Clemente's women put league on notice as Royals storm to huge Hume win
The Essendon Royals have put the Women’s State League 2 North-West division on notice with a rousing 4-1 win over Hume City to extend their undefeated streak to nine games.
The win means the Royals are now just one point off second-placed Hume with a game in hand.
The Royals did not have it all their own way, however, and it was Hume who opened the scoring at Cross Keys on Sunday.
Hume had the ball in the back of the Royals after just 10 minutes, and truth be told it was Hume who dominated the majority of proceedings for the first half, with the Royals defence soaking up intense pressure and doing well to halt the scoring at 1-0.
As the first half drew to a close, the pendulum of luck swang back towards the Royals as Hume City scored an own goal to tie the scores up after 40 minutes.
The goal triggered a massive swing in momentum as the Royals grappled control of the game from Hume and began to apply their own pressure onto the Hume defence.
The pressure paid off big time when Stephanie Pantazopoulos found the back of the net on the stroke of half-time to send the girls into the break with a 2-1 lead.
That crucial five-minute period sent the girls into the break with a spring in their step and they did not miss a beat when they came back onto the field for the second half.
The second half started as a cagey affair, but as time wore on, Hume began to open up in search of an equaliser.
The Royals thrived in the extra space afforded to them and it should have been 3-1 when Marcela Marques saw her shot crash into the crossbar and away from the Hume goal.
Thankfully, the Royals didn’t need to wait too long for their third goal, as Pantazopoulos broke through on goal and slotted home to give the Royals a two-goal advantage.
Lydia Schifferegger sealed the win with a lovely chip over the on-rushing Hume goalkeeper to wrap up the 4-1 result in style.
The win and the performance was the subject of high praise from coach Johno Clemente post-game.
The up-and-coming coach said while the Royals were guilty of a slow start, the manner in which they got themselves back into the game was a fantastic effort.
“I think the girls felt the occasion in the first half and were playing very average to our standards. We were probably lucky to be up at the half-time break, but we’ll take it,” he said.
“The girls lifted again and just showed there class, it was no tactical changes, no big motivational speech at half time, it was just this incredible group of girls.
“They stepped it up and in the end, they deserved the three points.
“I couldn’t be more proud of that performance today. Everyone did their part, we take the three points and look forward to a big clash against Clifton Hill now.”