Monaro Panthers 4 - 4 Tuggeranong United
By Mitchell Keenan
Monaro Panthers 4 (Zoe Szeremet 46’, 51’, 81’, Meuronen 77’) drew. Tuggeranong United 4 (Meg McLaughlin 23’, 75’, Sandra Hill 37’, Own Goal 59’)
A second-half comeback from Monaro Panthers earned them a 4-4 draw with Tuggeranong United at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
The home side were looking to bounce back after a heavy loss at the hands of Gungahlin United last weekend, whist the visitors were eager to make it two in a row after a 2-1 win over Olympic in round 6.
Tuggeranong started the game on the front foot, looking lively up front, with the return of Meg McLaughlin giving the visitors some much needed creativity and movement that has been lacking in recent weeks.
The Panthers were shaky against a high pressing Tuggeranong side, but the home side were keen to explore the gaps in behind United’s defence and they manage to create an early chance, but Kelly Stirton couldn’t convert the one on one opportunity against Cristina Esposito in goals.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute, when McLaughlin latched onto a through-ball from Sophie Barnsley and edged past Grace Lockard in goals to finish into an empty net.
Tuggeranong then extended their lead with a brace in the 31st minute, with Sandra Hill finding space at the top of the box to send in a sumptuous long effort dipping over Lockard and into the back of the net.
After a less-than-impressive first half, Monaro coach Angelo Maralit decided to shuffle some of the players from his first half formation and the change had an instant impact, with Zoe Szeremet finding space outside the box and burying a long effort into the top left corner in the 46th minute.
Just one minute later, Tuggeranong nearly hit back but an effort from Sophia Evans could only find the woodwork.
The Panthers levelled the scores just 6 minutes into the second half, when Szeremet created space inside the box and rocketed her shot past Esposito and in off the crossbar in the 51st minute.
Tuggeranong United began to apply the pressure again, and Monaro coughed up the lead once again, as Lara Burdett sent a skewed pass back towards Lockard who couldn’t react in time and the ball floated over her head for an own goal.
The visitors regained a two goal lead in the 71st minute, as Meg McLaughlin doubled her tally for the afternoon, connecting on the half volley from a corner and rifling the ball off the crossbar and in.
Monaro hit back again just 6 minutes later with Alicia Meuronen capitalising on an out of position Esposito who failed to clear, and finishing into an empty net.
The scores were levelled once again in the 81st minute, as Szeremet completed her second half hat trick taking on the Tuggeranong defence and calmly finishing past Esposito into the bottom right corner.
Both sides pushed until the end of what was an end-to-end second half, but the result remained at 4-4 as the final whistle sounded, with Monaro delighted with their resilience in the game and Tuggeranong left ruing missed opportunities as they dropped points.
Monaro will take confidence from a strong comeback performance into a ‘must win’ game against last place Canberra Olympic next week, while Tuggeranong will be looking to sure up their defence ahead of a tough test against an in-form Canberra FC on Sunday.