PL Match Reports v Footscray - 10 August (with photos)

August 12, 2019 at 9:47 AM

The following match reports (a shorter version) were published on page 68 of this week's Manningham Leader newspaper.

One out of the box                                                                                        Women

Doncaster’s Premier League Women had controlled the majority of last round’s match only to lose 3-1.  This round, facing second ladder placed Footscray at Footscray was always going the test the Dons to the limit.  The Bulldogs have lost just the one match this season against the undefeated Hawthorn.  Doncaster simply disregarded the form and in a highlight of the season came home 3-0 winners.

Doncaster started the match with clear purpose to work the ball well, hold possession and build gaps toward attack.  Footscray are a high scoring side and were on the front foot pushing forward at every opportunity.  The battled was on; as strong as the Bulldogs pushed forward, Doncaster’s defenders shut them back and worked as well together as at any point in the season.

As the first quarter break approached Tania Escaich pushed forward and drew defenders so passed to Lauren Pennefather.  Pennefather quickly passed to ball back to a now unmarked Escaich who beat the goal keeper and scored.


Lauren Pennefather helped Tania Escaich set up Doncaster's first goal

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pywell

The second quarter was consistent with the first with Footscray quick to push forward and Doncaster well structured and ordered to keep the net off limits.  Sam Snow, Cloe Burns and Aimee Dickson were as solid as a rock in defence with Mikala Burchell and Liz Flack winning more than their share of the mid-field contests.  Footscray’s last line was also in good form and the battle was fought between the 25 metres lines.


Mikala Burchell was outstanding in the mid-field

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pywell

The long break gave the Footscray bench time to beef up the home team’s approach forward and the Bulldogs went on the attack.  Footscray not only pushed hard forward they set up a very close-fitting structure that made it very difficult for Doncaster to get the ball over the defensive 25 metre line.  Doncaster’s work under this pressure was outstanding and the visitors continued to stop the Bulldogs from penetrating deeply.

The battle was pushed back to the mid-field and it was then Doncaster’s opportunity to get on the attack.  From a long corner, Flack was quick to play the ball passing to Annie Hebb.  Hebb pushed into the scoring circle and drew defenders passing to Izzy Peskett.  Peskett wasted no time and her shot found the backboard, Doncaster now 2 goals in front.

With less than a minute until three quarter time, Escaich was making a beeline for the circle when a Footscray tackle was deemed too physical and intentional, a short corner was the result.  Snow pushed the ball to the right hand side of the net and Shae Jones’ deflection went straight in, Doncaster’s third.


Sam Snow led Doncaster's defenders against one of the most attacking teams in the competition and kept them to 0

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pywell

Footscray were now in trouble; three goals behind, just one quarter remaining and Doncaster had defended brilliantly to the point that Footscray had very few genuine scoring opportunities.  The Bulldogs threw caution to the wind; attack or bust.  The battle continued in the Footscray forward line, two short corners to the Bulldogs reflects where that battle was.  But conversion wasn’t on the Bulldogs’ menu.

Doncaster’s well structured plan and vastly improved passing and trapping moved the battle to the mid-field and threatened an even bigger lead.  Footscray were now trying any fast breaks and long passes to find some deep penetration.  Doncaster remained resolute, nothing on and they come away 3-0 winners.

Doncaster 3 defeated Footscray 0

Goals: Tania Escaich, Izzy Peskett, Shae Jones

Best Players: Mikala Burchell, Sam Snow, Izzy Peskett

The six point swing                                                                                                  Men

Doncaster’s Premier League Men faced Footscray at Footscray on Saturday in what shaped to be a six point swing.  Fourth on the ladder, Footscray are just one point ahead of sixth placed Doncaster.  With just three rounds remaining, this match was vital, either way.  It was Doncaster that made a statement headed to the finals beating Footscray 9-2.

Doncaster set the scene for this match early, taking control of general play from the outset and Footscray was under the pump.  12 minutes into the first quarter Doncaster’s Marnus Prinsloo intercepted a Footscray pass and pushed into the circle, a Footscray foot set up the first short corner of the match.  Jay Randhawa’s drag flick was too powerful for the Bulldogs battery and Doncaster were on the board.


Marnus Prinsloo opened attacking doors that had been closed, one of Doncaster's best

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pywell

Just three minutes later a quick play the ball by Luke Evered and into the circle results in another Footscray foot.  On this occasion, Joel Carroll pushed the ball to the right hand side of the net where Bevan Fernandes’ deflection put the ball away and Doncaster’s second.  Reward for the Dons strong early work.


Bevan Fernandes finished with two goals for the match

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pywell

The break was just what the Bulldogs needed, they started with real purpose.  Then the hail came.  On one of Melbourne’s nasty of winter days, play had to stop due to the hail.  But the hail didn’t stop Footscray.  Four minutes into the second quarter a long ball toss opened a door for the Bulldogs’ striker and he made the most it with the Bulldogs’ first goal.

Nine minutes later and Footscray’s effort was rewarded with a Doncaster foot in the circle setting up the Bulldogs’ first short corner.  The drag flick that followed levelled the score and this potentially tight wrestle was ‘game on’.

However, immediately after the Footscray goal, Doncaster’s Luke Davidson was pushing forward and passing to Fernandes.  Fernandes quickly pushed into the circle drawing defenders and the keeper out of position and his shot scores, Doncaster back in front.

With less than one minute until the long break Zac Meaden quickly played a free hit and set Kiran Arunasalam into the circle.  Another Footscray foot, another Doncaster short corner, another powerful Randhawa drag flick, another goal.

Both sides start the second half with more deliberation in their game, each side trying to hold more possession and work genuine gaps toward goal.  Both backlines are strong but a Doncaster fast break started by Meaden wrong footed the Footscray defence.  Davidson had the ball and a very poor Footscray tackle resulted in a Penalty Stroke, which Randhawa put away.  Footscray were now three goals behind and the clock was ticking.

Then a long Carroll pass to Prinsloo opened a door and he charged into the circle, drew defenders and passed to Andrew Scheele who slotted Doncaster’s sixth goal.  Shortly after that goal, Prinsloo and Evered combined well to penetrate and Meaden finished off the good work for Doncaster’s seventh goal.  This was ‘game over’.


Andrew Scheele polished off an outstanding match with Doncaster's sixth goal

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pywell

Footscray certainly tried their hardest in the last quarter to at least cut the deficit but Doncaster’s backline were well up to the challenge, two goals for this match was all the Bulldogs could muster.

However, Doncaster still weren’t done and goals to Daniel McBride and Evered gave the Dons the six point swing they set out to win.

Doncaster 9 defeated Footscray 2

Goals: Jay Randhawa 3, Bevan Fernandes 2, Andrew Scheele, Zac Meaden, Daniel McBride, Luke Evered

Best Players: Bevan Fernandes, Marnus Prinsloo, Andrew Scheele