Barkerettes blitz for win

The Barkerettes were ready to strike from the moment they stepped on the field, scoring 6-1 to win the game. Picture: UNSPLASH.

By Peter Stephenson

Barkers (first) travelled to a chilly Bob Skilton Oval to take on Albert Park (ninth) hoping to maintain their two-point lead over Collingwood, but were missing Emily Stokes, Hannah Lee and Kelly Butera.

However, no excuses were required as Barkers began like no Barkers side has ever done before. To say they began well is an understatement. After just 80 seconds, Gracie Touliatos fired in a corner from the right to the far post, where Charlotte McCullough bundled the ball home for the opener.

Two minutes later, Zahra Goodman crossed from the right and McCullough made it 2-0. Barely another two minutes had elapsed before Alizah Jones found herself free and took the ball wide, before cutting back in and shooting home to make it 3-0 after only five minutes.

The game then settled down a bit, to the relief of the shellshocked hosts, who had their first shot on 15 minutes, which went wide. Respite was brief for Albert Park as the black tide surged again. A long punt forward found McCullough, who had all the time in the world to pick her spot, and finally decided that nutmegging the hapless keeper Paula Lizardo would be a nice way to get a hat-trick inside 21 minutes.

The Goal Machine finally decided to join the youngsters on the scoresheet, and four minutes later, Jones played a one-two with Rebecca Brown on the left before finding Amy D’Ortenzio, who promptly scored her 235th Barker goal. Two minutes later, Jones held the ball up for Eleanor Ridley, who made it 6-0 with only 26 minutes on the clock.

Where would it all end? Here. Further chances fell to D’Ortenzio, Hannah Turnbull and probably others, but the score at the break remained, Albert Park 0-6 Barkers. The half could be summed up by noting that McCullough was in the right place at the right time, and Touliatos’s corners were causing havoc.

It must have been some team talk from the home coach at half-time, because Albert Park came out and actually began to defend. Not only that, but on the hour they broke free, and Marthese Zahra’s shot saw Ashleigh Fraraccio get a hand to it, but it rolled into the net for 6-1.

Three minutes later Goodman put D’Ortenzio clear, but Lizardo blocked the shot. Further chances fell to Goodman and Ridley, and Fraraccio had to come out quickly to thwart a forward, but as the rain lashed down towards the end, Barkers couldn’t add to the score. Full time: Albert Park 1-6 Barkers. Barkers remain two points clear of Collingwood with seven games to play.