Round 16 Sirens vs Croydon

Pulled pork rolls were on the menu today but it was Croydon that the Sirens would be eating alive. A massive crowd was out to support the girls in their final home game of the 2014 season, as we looked to do them proud and send them home with a smile on their face.

OXSC Sirens 3 – Croydon City Arrows 0
OXSC – Abriani, Albrecht, Ardern, Bassiray, Campbell, Courtney, Deans, Du Moulin, Eddy, Furst, Longden, Marson, McInnes, Pietrzak, Polonidis, Zaharias
Goals: A Campbell, C Abriani, C Longden
Assists: A Campbell 2, C Abriani

The girls were revved up after the pre-match team talk which focused on bringing energy and dominating the 50/50s. Last time out against today’s opponent, OXSC recorded their first loss of the season under Friday night lights and this was a fixture that the ladies had pencilled in their diaries a long time ago in search of retribution. Bassiray, Eddy and Pietrzak were welcome inclusions back into the side as the girls fielded a full 16 for only the second time this season. The official team photos were taken prior to the warm up and from then it was go time.
Energy. Today’s motto and it was brought to Hays Paddocks in bags. The players were really up for this one, or they were high – one of the two (hopefully the former). The first half began in an extremely positive manner with the Sirens dominating the game from the outset. Croydon struggled to get the ball out of their half as Old Xavs dictated the play and orchestrated some meaningful attacks. Within the first 15 minutes, Old Xaverians had broken the deadlock via an incredible team goal that saw some of the finest build up play they had produced all season. Playing the ball from defence right through the heart of the Croydon midfield, the play was finished off by Christina Abriani feeding her strike partner Alexya Campbell who scored a stunning strike into the top left hand corner to get the coach out of his seat despite battling through hamstring soreness – definitely worth it.
1-0 up, no time to sit back and admire – it was time to put Croydon to the sword. Kirsty McInnes playing on the right wing drove the ball to the line minutes later and bought a corner off her left back opponent – dangerous times for the visitors with the Sirens being a threat from set pieces. Another terrific corner from Lexi was met by Christina Abriani who found the right hand corner of the net with a fantastic header to double the advantage. Justice prevailed 5 weeks after a near identical goal had been cancelled out against South Melbourne for a foul. ‘Christos Anesti’ had her 2nd for the season and a terrific one it was.
More energy. It came in the shape of a Sirens pet who wanted to impose itself on the game. Tien Polonidis’ dog Phoenix wanted some of the action as he ran on the pitch and attempted a two footed slide tackle on a Croydon forward. The referee gave him his marching orders as he left the field after a shocking challenge. Croydon were in a fragile position and it was up to the home side to punish them and put this game to bed. They continued to attack them hard and fast in a dominant display – opportunities were being created consistently and the Old Xavs should’ve been out of sight after the first half an hour. This wasn’t the case but with just under 10 minutes to play in the opening stanza, Campbell cut inside from the left flank and drew a foul on the edge of the area. This was Longden territory. Up stepped the skipper, 30 yards out. Imagine it – curling over the wall, top left hand corner, keeper not a chance. Couldn’t happen could it? You’d be wrong – it happened. Hays Paddock erupted with the huge Sirens crowd going bananas with an inspired captain’s goal. A 3-0 lead to OXSC going into the interval, brilliant stuff.
The half time team talk was spent addressing just how well the girls performed in the opening period, and eating lots of lollies and oranges. The first half in Croydon in Rd 7 saw the girls dish up their worst performance of the season, well today they had produced their best to date and the dressing room was buzzing. The job was not done yet though, the away side would be sure to come out firing. We needed to continue to stay aggressive and kill this game off. Roxi Bassiray and Nush Pietrzak, both beginning the first half in attack were providing great intensity in their first games back from injury and a European adventure.
Lee Furst had an inspiring 2nd half as she willed herself at every contest as Croydon looked to peg one back. Like a brick wall, there was nothing getting past her today, the smell of the pulled pork and the thought of smashing a beer after the game motivating her till the end. Bassiray had two opportunities from corners to break her duck for 2014, unfortunately sending her headers just off target. The likes of Courtney, Campbell, McInnes, Zaharias and Abriani were getting busy again in attack as the Sirens pressed for a 4th goal that would top things off in style in front of the adoring Old Xavs faithful. Kirsty McInnes went closest with an effort just trickling wide of the left post, before Alexya Campbell was left in the clear following a flick on via the head of Abriani. She mistimed her effort as it came off the side of her lethal right foot as she let the visitors off the hook.
The final whistle blew with a tremendous 3-0 victory for the OXSC, which was arguably the best of the season. It was fantastic to see family and friends get behind the Sirens in numbers today, and their support helped get us over the line without a shadow of a doubt. An incredible team effort from all 16 players in the final home game at Hays Paddock for 2014, what a way to cap it off. 3 points and 3 incredible goals. Honourable mention to the returning Stefanie Pegiel who caught all 3 goals on video! We look forward to reliving the highlights during the week.
It was time for alcohol and pizza as we celebrated our great victory with our family and friends for the final time at home this year. The Sirens head into the bye with 2 games to go, sitting level on points with Seaford for that elusive playoff position!

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