By LARRY ANDREW
A CHARLIE Marip hat-trick helped Bara beat rivals Poro 3-2 to take the top spot of the Women’s National Soccer League Northern Conference at 11-Mile outside Lae on Saturday.
The top-of-the-table clash went down to the wire at the Papua New Guinea Football Association Education Centre with Poro captain Meagan Gunemba leading her reigning conference champions.
Bara captain Kesai Kotome took command of the midfield, and was assisted by Eunice Nabalu.
Marip opened the scoring of the round-seven fixture when she beat Poro goalkeeper Betty Sam.
She then used her speed and stamina to extended Bara’s lead to 2-0 with her second goal before halftime.
But Poro came back strongly in the second half with Gunemba, Rakele Seka, Raynata Samuel and Karen Kalapai searching for their opening goal.
Troy Gunemba-coached Poro finally got their opportunity with a free kick that saw Meagan pull a goal back. But Marip killed the contest when she completed her hat-trick to continue her goal-scoring form.
Fifteen minutes from fulltime, Poro re-grouped and scored their second goal through Kalapai as they looked to salvage something from the match.
But Lae Biscuit Company-sponsored Bara held on for the win.
In the other conference matches, Lahi Power beat Rainy Lae 3-0 and Madang’s Tusbab Laidamon shut out LFA Originals 7-0.
In the round-eight matches on Sunday, Bara continued their winning form to edge Laidamon 3-2, Rainy Lae rebounded to crush Originals 10-0 and Poro bounced back to shut out Power 3-0.
Bara are leading the conference ladder on 21 points, followed by Poro (16), Lahi (14), Laidamon (10), Rainy Lae (9) and winless rookies Originals. The conference will complete their games with triple-headers on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, Poro will meet Originals, Lahi will face Laidamon and Bara will battle Rainy Lae.
On Sunday, Poro will play Rainy Lae, Bara will battle Laidamon and Lahi will meet Originals.
By LARRY ANDREW