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Gaffney Match Preview: Essendon Royals out to close gap on front runners Clifton Hill

Essendon Royals will complete a trifecta of tough games in the Women’s State League 1 North-West competition when they welcome top-of-the-table FC Clifton Hill to Cross Keys Reserve on Friday night.

Clifton Hill, who like the Royals were promoted to the division from State League 2 in 2019, has taken three wins from three to start the season, plundering 10 goals past their opponents and conceding just two.

Those wins have come against three of the bottom four teams – Bundoora United, Keilor Park and Craigieburn City – suggesting that the clash with Royals will most likely be Clifton Hill’s most demanding test this season.

The Royals enter the game off the back of a brilliant performance against league favourites Moreland Zebras in a game that finished 1-1, becoming the first team in three years to take league points off the Zebras since 2019.

The Royals had their chances to win the game as well and will be hoping to be more lethal in front of goal should the opportunities present themselves on Friday night.

With the new-look Royals boasting some incredible talent, coach Vince Battiato has done a fantastic job of cultivating a strong sense of cohesion amongst the group of new players and he will be hoping that helps secure what will be a vital three points – even at this early stage of the season.

Given the difficulty of fixtures dished up thus far, a return of four points from games against Elwood City, Spring Hills Stallions and Moreland Zebras will be viewed as par for the course, but with five points to make up on the top two already, one of those being Clifton Hill, three points at Cross Keys Reserve will be vital to the Royals cause.

The Royals should have a full complement of players to choose from, with a number of reserve players staking their claim at the selection table following continuous quality performances.

In the earlier kick-off, the Royals Reserves will look to build on a hugely impressive 4-0 win over Moreland last week.

The Royals are one of three teams in the reserves with three wins from three, with Friday’s opponents Clifton Hill being one of the others.

Clifton Hill currently sits second courtesy of a slightly better goal difference than the Royals.


Football Victoria Women’s State League 1 North-West | Round Four

Essendon Royals v FC Clifton Hill

Friday 13 May

Cross Keys Reserve, Woodland St

Reserves: 630 PM | Seniors: 830 PM


Elsewhere in the competition, Elwood City will welcome Moreland Zebras to Elwood Park in the round’s other Friday night game.

North Geelong Warriors will be out to continue their solid start to life in State League 1 when they take on Bundoora United at Elcho Park.

Keilor Park will play host to Craigieburn City whilst La Trobe University will take on Spring Hills.