Birkirkara Women's Team trashes Raiders

by Ayrton Galea - 9th October 2013
Birkirkara FC
Women's First Division League

Charles Abela Stadium

08/10/2013 - 20:15
Raiders FC

Birkirkara Women's Team had one of the easiest tasks on Tuesday evening as in a one-sided match, they showed the newly-promoted side Raiders FC the worst side of playing in top division by trashing them with an 8-1 score.

Right from the start, the Stripes looked on course to register a very comfortable victory but Raiders' equaliser mid-way through the first half might have blurred this idea. However, as soon as the Stripes regained the lead, the match lost its story as they dominated their opponents, and goal after goal, they trashed their opponents who failed to find their feet in the second half.

Besides the score which speaks for itself, it was lack of luck in front of goal for Birkirkara which denied them from registering an even bigger victory as they hit the post for no less than four times.

Kim Parnis and Rachel Cuschieri had an excellent day as they netted a hat-trick each, with Alishia Sultana scoring the other two goals. This was the second consecutive match for the promising youngster where she managed to find the net.

Thanks to this victory, the Stripes have now registered their third consecutive victory as they picked up maximum points from the first three matches.

Birkirkara's Coach Mr. Johann Scicluna made three substitutions from the last 3-0 victory over Kirkop United. Nina Dimech replaced Janice Xuereb in defending the posts, Alishia Sultana replaced Isabelle Mazzitelli and Kirstie Vella replaced Maryrose Cardona.

The First Half

Birkirkara's intentions in the opening minutes were clear to notice as they looked for an early goal, against a side who right from the start defended in numbers.

Their task should have been completed after just three minutes, but the factor of luck, or rather, the lack of it, denied them from surging ahead. Gabriella Zahra showed great match vision by delivering an excellent cross in the box in the direction of Kim Parnis who saw her powerful drive smashing the crossbar before ending into a goal-kick.

The Stripes threatened for the second time early in the match. Rachel Cuschieri had a wonderful volley on the nine minute ending wide of the left post.

With Birkirkara all over their opponents, who hardly gone out of their own half, Raiders had to concede to Birkirkara's high pressure at the opening stages as they took the lead on the twelfth minute. An excellent through-ball from the back penetrated the Raiders' defence and Kim Parnis all alone against the goalkeeper Maria Assunta Farrugia, shot past her to put the Stripes in an early lead.

With the Stripes having their first task in the match completed successfully, they were now enjoying more possession rather than urging to drive forward.

Gabriella Zahra, who had a splendid start in the match, tried her luck with a long-distance uprising shot as she tested goalkeeper Farrugia in a bid to double the lead, but the Raiders' goalkeeper parried without difficulty.

Birkirkara's complete superiority in the first twenty minutes was cancelled out with a defensive blunder as Raiders managed to grab the equalising goal on the twenty first minute.

Raiders' high level of pressure earned them possession in the box after the Birkirkara defenders failed to clear into safety, with the ball ending in the path of Rodianne Zerafa who saw her powerful shot beating goalkeeper Nina Dimech.

Frustrated how the previous episode effected the score and Birkirkara's complete superiority not being reflected in the score while now were struggling to surge forward, Mr. Johann Scicluna lost no time to effect his first substitution, and on the twenty-fifth minute, Yasmeen Vella was replaced with Isabelle Mazzitelli.

After struggling for some time to settle down again, the Stripes found their feet again and were now on track to regain the lead. On the half-hour, Rachel Cuschieri almost regained the Stripes' lead as she had an excellent volley ending over the bar following finding space to conclude from inside the box.

However, the Stripes' second bid to regain the lead was successful, as on the thirty-fourth minute, they surged ahead for the second time in the match.

Goalkeeper Maria Assunta Farrugia rushed out to anticipate Kim Parnis and then attempted to dribble her, with the ball ending at the feet of Martina Cilia who served Alishia Sultana who slotted home in an empty net.

Have been boosted by regaining the lead, the Stripes kept their high-tempo, and they punished Raiders further by scoring the third goal in quick succession.

Gabriella Zahra lobbed an excellent ball over the Raiders' defence in direction of Kim Parnis, who anticipated the onrushing goalkeeper Farrugia, before having an easy task to put the ball at the back of the net from a diagonal position.

Birkirkara increased Raiders' woes further, as they made them four just two minutes before half-time, to dash any hope that they might have still harboured of having something to play for in the second half.

Kim Parnis, who had been a continuous torment for the Raiders' rear-guard, found space in the box to hit a powerful strike which beat goalkeeper Farrugia to complete her hat-trick.

With Raiders having no time neither to settle in, or to make any sort of reaction, the end of the first-half saw the Stripes ending the first forty-five minutes in a comfortable three goal lead.

The Second Half

For the start of the second half, Mr. Johann Scicluna effected his second substitution as he withdrew youngster Tara Attard and he introduced Charlene Schembri.

With a three goal lead, and the precious three points practically in the bag, the Stripes went out confident for the second half, and they quickly began to enjoy superiority. Three minutes in the second half, Kim Parnis had a shot from outside the box parried with difficulty by goalkeeper Farrugia in two attempts.

The Stripes were close to increasing the lead on the fiftieth minute. Rachel Cuschieri had an excellent free-kick just few yards before the penalty box scratching past the right post.

Gabriella Zahra delivered a fine corner from the right on the fifty-seventh minute which saw Stephania Farrugia's header being parried by the goalkeeper. Just a minute later, Raiders' Kathleen Mangion came close to commit an own goal in a desperate attempt to clear a dangerous cross by Rachel Cuschieri from the right.

The Stripes were all over the Raiders and they forced them to stay in their own half. The newly-promoted side had to once again succumb to the Champions' efforts who made them five on the sixty-first minute. Rachel Cuschieri showed off her brilliant skills by picking up the ball in the middle of the field and continued to advance before firing a wonderful shot which surprised Farrugia to end in the net.

Lack of luck for the Stripes denied them the sixth goal just a minute later. Stephania Farrugia performed an excellent run before serving Rachel Cuschieri who saw her in-swinging shot blocked by the goalkeeper and than hitting the crossbar.

On the sixty-seventh minute, Stephania Farrugia was in action once again by performing another good run. This time, the strong defender, who was given an advanced role for this match, served Alishia Sultana who saw her low strike being turned into a corner kick with difficulty by goalkeeper Farrugia.

Birkirkara's high-pressure was once again too much for Raiders as Birkirkara scored their sixth goal on the seventy-first minute. Rachel Cuschieri shifted the play with an excellent cross in direction of unmarked Alishia Sultana who on the run rounded the goalkeeper before slotting home from a diagonal angle to score her second personal goal.

Six quickly became seven, as Raiders, who had now lost all their tactical shape, could not deal with the Stripes' aggressive style and hunger for more goals. Following a series of blocked shots, Rachel Cuschieri also scored her second personal goal with a well placed shot from outside the box.

Ten minutes from the end, it was Martina Cilia who tried her luck in increasing the Stripes' lead. Rachel Cuschieri provided a fine cross and Cilia on the slide saw her fine attempt ending over the crossbar.

Raiders were being unable to deal with Cuschieri's skills as the latter was in action once again by providing another good cross, this time, in direction of Kim Parnis who was unlucky not to score her fourth personal goal by seeing her attempt hitting the foot of the post on the eighty-second minute.

On the eighty fifth minute, Mr. Johann Scicluna made his third change as he replaced Kirstie Vella with experienced defender Alexia Scicluna.

The Stripes hit the post on the eighty-second minute, and the post was the protagonist again four minutes later, when it denied them once more. Rachel Cuschieri fired a wonderful shot which beat the goalkeeper but not the crossbar as her well placed shot hit the crossbar before ending in the hands of the goalkeeper.

Three minutes from time, Stephania Farrugia who had an excellent second half fired a powerful long distance drive which left goalkeeper Farrugia starting but her attempt ending wide off the right post.

With the referee preparing for the final whistle, the Stripes sealed the issue with the eight goal. It was Rachel Cuschieri who was rewarded for her performance by completing the hat-trick with a wonderful shot from distance which gave no chance to Farrugia.

The full-time whistle found Birkirkara registering their third consecutive victory while receiving a major morale boost before facing Hibernians in the highly anticipated match next Tuesday.

Birkirkara: Nina Dimech, Yasmeen Vella (25' Isabelle Mazzitelli), Kirstie Vella (85' Alexia Scicluna), Tara Attard (46' Charlene Schembri), Stephania Farrugia, Gabriella Zahra, Alishia Sultana, Martina Cilia, Rachel Cuschieri, Kim Parnis, Rebecca Chircop.

Raiders: Maria Assunta Farrugia, Alison Patiniott, Nadine Agius, Kathleen Mangion, Nora Agliano, Amanda Atkins, Therese Briffa, Andrea Zammit, Amanda Mifsud, Justine Baldacchinho, Rodianne Zerafa.

Yellow Cards: 73' Alison Patiniott (Raiders).

Scorers: 12' Kim Parnis, 34' Alishia Sultana, 39' Kim Parnis, 43' Kim Parnis, 61' Rachel Cuschieri, 71' Alishia Sultana, 75' Rachel Cuschieri, 89' Rachel Cuschieri (Birkirkara), 21' Rodianne Zerafa (Raiders).

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