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NJL Match Report: Royals make it six wins in a row with crucial win at La Trobe University.

The Essendon Royals picked up more vital points at fourth-placed LaTrobe University on Sunday, staying in touch with league leaders Brunswick Juventus.

Right from the outset Royals pressed high up the park but it was obvious from the early stages that La Trobe was keeping plenty of players behind the ball, sitting deep and hitting on the break.

The early dominance did provide the opening goal, albeit from a set-piece, in the 12th minute. A free-kick was whipped in by Rebecca Davies for Linda Sawa to drive home a bullet header at the back post from inside the six-yard box giving the keeper no chance.

The first half saw the Royals sustain the pressure on the LaTrobe goal but the hosts stayed strong, defending resolutely and keeping themselves in it by keeping the score 1-0 to Royals at the break.

The second half saw LaTrobe come out and try to play a bit higher up the park looking for an equaliser but their forays forward only left extra gaps for the clinical Royals to exploit and they doubled their advantage just 7 mins into the second half, Marie Rampal on one of her customary wide runs down the right, sent a perfect ball into the box for Rachel Alonso to volley home first time from inside the box; a goal of the season contender.

With La Trobe heads down, it didn’t take long for the Royals to add another, Alonso on the scoresheet again just 5 mins later after some outstanding pressing work from Mary Hubeek. The LaTrobe keeper played out to a defender, only for Hubeek to get a toe in, steal possession and slide the ball across for an unmarked Alonso to slot passed the hapless keeper unchallenged.

LaTrobe then went into damage control and sat deep compressing the space for Royals to play. Feeling secure with the points and with plenty of time to play, coach Vince Battiato took the opportunity to give bench players some well-deserved minutes with some big games to come in the coming weeks.

No more goals but a comfortable 3-0 victory secured.

The unbeaten Reserves had a scare that they eventually negotiated. After being held to 0-0 at the break, they took an early second-half lead only to be pegged back just minutes later from a free-kick having missed a penalty to double their advantage. And it stayed 1-1 until the last 7 minutes, where two goals by the league’s leading scorer Kiana Kyriazis added to Bruna Silva’s opener to finish up 3-1 winners.

A successful day all around for the Royals senior women program.