NPL Women Match Report: Box Hill United defeated 1-0 by Preston Lions on Good Friday

Box Hill United put in a valiant performance but were ultimately undone by a late penalty in a 1-0 defeat to Preston Lions at Wembley Park on Good Friday.

From the first whistle, it was clear this would be a close contest. Box Hill started brightly, with Nikolina Bucalo’s through ball to Maryam Anvari that created an early chance.

Mawa Sumaoro’s high press also led to another opportunity for Chi Ting. Charlotte Hrehoresin saved Olivia Ellis’ effort from a Bucalo free-kick, while resolute defending by Zoe Hudson and Belinda Stojcevski kept the score level at 0-0 after 30 minutes.

Preston threatened on the counter, but Natasha Stathopoulos was in the right position to intercept and block chances outside of the box. Pythagoras nearly took the lead just before half-time when Bella Stringfellow’s shot was well parried, followed up by Asuka Doi who couldn’t score the rebound.

The second half began at a slower pace, with both teams cautious. Sumaoro continued to impress with her dribbling skills, creating problems for the Preston defence. Hudson made another vital intervention shortly after the hour mark, preserving the deadlock. In chaotic moments, Stringfellow was also forced off with an injury after a strong tackle on 70 minutes.

The game turned in Preston’s favour with less than 10 minutes to stoppage time. Stathopoulos came out to claim the ball but conceded the foul, resulting in a penalty. Preston’s Miri Nishimura converted the spot-kick to take the lead with just eight minutes remaining.

Box Hill pushed for an equaliser, but Sumaoro’s late effort sailed just over the bar. Despite the defeat, there were plenty of positives for Box Hill. They dominated large periods of the game, creating numerous chances but lacking the final touch. The resolute defending and Sumaoro’s brilliance were clear highlights.

While it’s a disappointing result, Box Hill can take heart from their performance and will look to build on this in their next match.


Written by Vedant Gavaskar

Image credit: Passion Creations