Women grasp the WPL with big win over rivals

THE Women's Monaro Panthers have taken the greatest possible stranglehold on the Women's Premier League, inflicting the greatest upset of the season a fortnight ago in beating competition heavyweights Belconnen United.

They backed this up last Sunday with an easy win over ACTAS to be the only undefeated side so far.

It was just the second time in 42 matches Belconnen suffered defeat.

Goal-kicking machine Ashleigh Palombi was the difference in that game with a 77th minute penalty goal in pouring rain.

Coach Tilly Carbone was still without Zoe Szeremet, Hayley Hind and Leanne McEwen for the contest, and brought in two Capital League players as substitutes.

And it was for this reason, as well as the wet weather, that Carbone was impressed with his women's performance.

"It was a tight contest and it could have gone either way," said Carbone. "All the girls as well as myself were ecstatic with the result, and it'll go a long way this season."

Belconnen were not undermanned in the contest, and still fielded their three national W-League players in Caitlin Munoz, Grace Field and Catherine Brown.

But this mattered little to the Panthers, who held strong in the tough affair.

Carbone reverted back to having three players in the mid-field and an extra defender which he said helped them in a battle that was played end to end.

"The rain made it difficult. It was a very slippery surface," said Carbone.

"While we had a good lead up with the combination of an extra player in the mid-field, it could easily have been broken on that surface."

But Despite there being only one attacking flurry in the game, Carbone was happy his players maintained pressure and defended well.

Meanwhile the men's Panthers showed some promise in their first Canberra Premier League game last saturday, going down to Canberra FC 7-3.

Their first match against Canberra City was postponed due to wet weather.

Both teams next play Canberra Olympic on April 27.

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