Round 10 saw MUWFC travel to Adelaide Shores Football Centre to take on Cumberland United in a match that could see us go to top of the WNPL ladder depending on other results from the night.
The game started off brightly when in the first 30 seconds, MUWFC had won the ball from Cumberland who had taken kickoff, and Captain Ebony Kyriacou played a long ball to Stella Rigon who beat the offside trap but her lofted shot over the keeper went just wide of the left upright.
The next 30 minutes of the first half were frustrating for fans to watch. MUWFC controlled possession and field position, while Cumberland sat numbers behind the ball and looked to attack quickly on the counter. A difficult thing to pull off with the experience of Kyriacou, Isabella Scalzi and Kristy Moore in defence, along with the youthful enthusiasm of former NTC player Elle Pirintzis.
With scores locked at 0-0 approaching the Half Time break, Kyriacou again played a long ball from the halfway line to Chrissy Panagaris who controlled the ball first time on the edge of the 18 yard box, lobbing the advancing Cumberland keeper and running onto her own ball to have the easiest job of tapping it into an empty net to put MUWFC up 1-0 right on the stroke of Half Time.
Coach Marie Spagnoletti’s message at Half Time was to stay patient and not force the final pass. But 3 points was a must.
MUWFC came out in the 2nd half and heeded the Half Time message, happy to keep possession and pass the ball around, waiting for the opening to push forward.
Just 6 minutes into the 2nd half and Stella Rigon went on a run down the left and whipped a dangerous ball into the box, beating everyone and finding Ness Reed at the back post who looked to have a tap in, however Cumberland keeper Touchette scrambled across goal and pulled off an outstanding save to keep the score at 1-0.
10 minutes later, a Rigon corner found Panagaris on the edge of the 6 yard box who flicked the ball towards goal, which then hit a Cumberland defenders outstretched arm. MUWFC players appealed for a penalty, but the referee was unmoved and waved play on.
In the 65th minute, defender Isabella Scalzi was put under pressure at the back and was forced to attempt a back pass to MUWFC custodian Kelly Barltrop, but the pass was underhit and Cumberland forward Venter gladly picked up the errant pass and rounded Barltrop, only to be denied on the goal line by a sliding Kyriacou.
Just 2 minutes later, Rigon, who was having her best game in a MUWFC kit to date, went on another run down the left after the referee played advantage for a cynical challenge on Reed in midfield and whipped the ball into the box to find an unmarked Panagaris who poked the ball past Touchette to make it 2-0 to MUWFC.
With 20 minutes left, MUWFC coach Spagnoletti looked to her bench and made 3 of her 4 substitutions in the space of 5 minutes, with Pirintzis, Laura Stockdale and Kristy Moore all making way for Laura De Gregorio, Rachael Quigley and Kelsey Zafaridis.
The match was thrown into disarray in the 80th minute when Ness Reed was booked for an accumulation of fouls. However, words were then spoken between Reed and the Cumberland bench and Reed was shown a second yellow card in the space of 10 seconds and given her marching orders. Isabella Scalzi was also shown a yellow card for dissent following Reed’s red card.
Even with MUWFC down to 10 players, they still looked the better side, and in the 86th minute, substitute Rachael Quigley put a perfectly weighted through ball for Rigon who slid the ball into the bottom corner, however the Assistant Referees flag was up for offside.
MUWFC held on for the remaining 5 minutes to record a 2-0 win, and with West Adelaide and Adelaide City playing out a 2-2 draw in the late game at West Beach, MUWFC now sit on top of the WNPL ladder.
Cumberland United 0
Metro United 2 (C. Panagaris 44′, 68′)
Adelaide Shores Football Centre