West Panthers secured top spot and a Grand Final place with a hard fought 3-0 victory over St Joes on the weekend.
The victory sees George Bugeja’s side maintain an unassailable five-point lead at the top of the standings with just one match left to play, prior to the final’s series beginning.
Midfielder Rebecca Deer was central to everything that went right for the Panthers on the weekend. Lining up in a familiar role on the right at centre midfield, she dictated play, and looked a level above everyone else on the pitch.
Every time she drove to the byline, St Joes defenders were nervous, and she made them pay – scoring twice and even forcing an own goal in a player of the match performance.
“She put a few players off by the way she ran at them today. She’s physically strong and has the control, so I told her to run straight at the St Joes defence. She did that and got two goals and forced the own goal as well,” West Panthers gaffer George Bugeja said.
It wasn’t only in attack that West dominated, in defence they were superb with centre back Jess Roberts a brick wall in the backline. There was barely an attack that got by her as she intercepted, blocked, and tackled everything the St Joes attack tried to get past her.
“Jess’s timing on the ball in defence yesterday mate was brilliant. I don’t think she missed a ball all game. She was just fantastic,” the West coach told us.
Roberts was helped by sweeper Braidii McLeod-Quin, who came into the match under an injury cloud but run out the full 90 minutes in an impressive attacking display which received special praise from Bugeja.
“She’s [McLeod-Quin] has been injured, but I strapped up her ankle and asked her to do a job for us on what was an important day. And not only did she run out the full 90 minutes, but she did a number on their striker and never let her have anything,” said coach Bugeja.
The jubilant West coach was at pains to praise the Colts team girls who stepped into the void on Sunday to play A-Grade, telling us, “they gave 110%”.
For St Joes, it was a missed opportunity and the two-week break for the SAJSA Country Championships is coming at the perfect time as they look to get back to full strength.
“West have really stepped up their play in the last few weeks, and we have had a few niggling injuries that have hampered us recently,” Jodie Callegher of St Joes said.
“The break is coming at the perfect time and hopefully we can be fresh for the semifinals.”
West 3 (Rebecca Deer 2, own goal 1)
St Joes 0
In the other women’s A-Grade fixture, Alma was victorious over Celtic 2-1. Although the match ended in defeat for the green and white side, club president Martin Thrift told us he was super proud of the team.
“It has been a tough year for the girls, and I am so proud as club president that they haven’t given in, and we are looking forward to next season.”
BHSA WOMENS A GRADE STANDINGS RD 14