MATCH REPORT | Essendon Royals turn on the style against St Albans Saints to move back into promotion race

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A Stephanie Pantazopoulos clinic has helped the Essendon Royals women take the initiative in the promotion race, firing home four goals during her team’s 6-0 win over St Albans Saints in Women’s State League 2 action.

The Royals occupy the second spot on the ladder as a result of the big win, frog-jumping the Saints and Hume City - who lost to league leader Spring Hills Stallions.

Pantazopoulos opened the scoring after just 15 minutes as she put the brilliant finishing touches on a blistering counter-attack.

Talia Jane made it 2-0 shortly after, trying her luck from range to catch the St Albans keeper flat-footed to ensure the Royals took a comfortable lead into half-time.

They say a 2-0 lead at half-time is the most dangerous scoreline in football and St Albans did everything in their power to prove that sentiment true with a fast and furious opening to the second half.

The Royals defended brilliantly to survive the onslaught and took a 3-0 lead when Pantazopoulos brilliantly spotted the goalkeeper of her line following a failed clearance and converted from distance with a phenomenal finish.

Pantazopoulos made it 4-0 when she read a defensive back-pass and showed great agility to beat the goalkeeper to the ball and turn it home, before scoring her fourth of the game to make it 5-0 when she broke clear of the defence and slotted coolly past the goalkeeper.

Jane rounded off the scoring with a simple finish from distance following a Pantazopoulos which was mishandled by the goalkeeper.

Coach Johno Clemente was delighted with the performance and heaped praise on his players for an outstanding team display.

“This performance was coming, we’ve had a frustrating two weeks of results and we always knew we’ve got this quality to play like we did today and I’m glad the girls brought back there best today,” he said.

“We played some quality football, we were confident and we were a joy to watch. 

“We switched our focuses on our development rather than results and I think that made a massive difference. 

“If everyone improves their own performance and understands what’s needed in their role then the whole team benefits, it’s a step-by-step process and we’ll try to repeat it next week.”

Full highlights of the game thanks to Sportslinkt:

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