VALENTINE SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Match of the Round
New Lambton Eagles 0 defeated by Merewether United 1 (Rhali Dobson) at Alder Park on Saturday. Half-time: 0-0.
Merewether United coach Cassandra Koppen described it as a game where they “didn’t play anywhere near our potential” in an end-to-end battle that resulted in a 1-nil victory for the visitors.
Heading into the match, both teams knew it would come down to finishing chances which they struggled to do in the first half.
The Eagles’ first clear-cut opportunity came early, when midfielder Joey Burgess had a solo effort and struck low with her right foot, but clinical keeper Alison Logue denied Burgess with her boot.
Merewether had a chance shortly after, when Lori Depczynski sent a cracking free-kick sailing into the box and Rhali Dobson nearly found the back of the net.
Dobson found the match winner five minutes into the second half after a miskick from Eagles keeper Taylah Bryde landed at her feet and she slotted it in behind her.
Hannah Batten played potentially her best game of the season, continually threatening United’s defence and unlucky not to put her team on the scoresheet.
The home side pushed for the equaliser in a frantic finish but came up short, setting the stage for a mouth-watering second leg next Saturday at Myamblah Oval.
After a lacklustre opening half, United coach Cassandra Koppen said her side lost track of their game plan in periods throughout the match.
“As much as New Lambton had possession, they didn’t really create too many goal scoring opportunities but I guess that’s finals football because nobody wins playing pretty. Our defence did really well in taking Tara out of the game which is a huge achievement for us and that limited their attack a lot, especially in the second half. I think their inexperience showed in key moments and they kept pushing for their goal which allowed us to expose them towards the end,” Koppen said.
“Heading into next week, there will be a few things for us to improve on and depending on next Saturday’s game, we may need to weather a ferocious attack or push more players up front to score so there will most likely be positional changes.” Koppen added.
Eagles coach Keelan Hamilton said the difference was winning the big moments.
“We were definitely the superior side and we had three times as many shots on goal. I don’t remember them having any real clear-cut chances which is a credit to our defence and on another day, we would have been two or three up at half-time and in a comfortable position. They had more chances in the second half but you can never keep a team like Merewether completely quiet because they are such a strong side,” Hamilton said.
“In semi-finals, it’s about taking chances and winning big moments which we were unable to do yesterday, but there are definitely more positives than negatives. The good thing for us is that we know what we need to do to win next Saturday and we are looking forward to another great game.” Hamilton added.
South Wallsend Wolves 1 (Panther’s own goal) defeated by Warners Bay Panthers 2 (Nadja Squires, Toria Campbell) at Walker Fields on Sunday. Half-time: Warners Bay led 2-0.
South Wallsend showed plenty of heart and spirit to push Warners Bay to the final whistle but it wasn’t enough, with the Panthers claiming a narrow victory on a breezy Sunday afternoon at Walker Fields.
Spectators had barely taken their seats when Nadja Squires found the back of the net after her trademark long-range free kick curled into the top right corner.
Ten minutes later, Beth Kermode had a chance to equalise when she sent an absolute cracking free-kick towards the goal but it found the crossbar instead.
Warners Bay central defender Toria Campbell added her name to the scoresheet for the second time this season, after she capitalised on a loose ball in the box and slotted it in the bottom left corner to extend their lead.
In the second half, a Panthers own goal breathed life into the Wolves attack, who looked dangerous when in possession and were incredibly unlucky not to bag a couple of goals.
Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis said it wasn’t pretty, but they got the job done.
“Obviously they are going to throw things at us when they are 2-nil down so naturally, we became more defensive and I thought our effort was great. Parking the bus means you are inviting them into your attacking third which means more shots and possibly more goals which we didn’t want, so at half time, we said to keep going and pushing forward. I think we are a better team when we keep attacking no matter what the score is and that’s something we will have to keep in mind for next week,” Davis said.
“Matching their physicality and beating them to the ball are the two key areas we need to work on in preparation for next week’s game. We are confident in our ability and hopefully we can play better football than we did today.” Davis added.
South Wallsend coach Brad Parkes was pleased with his sides performance and said there are a lot of positives to take from the game.
“Our girls played fantastic and I thought we created enough chances to at least get a result out of the game. We are very happy with our performance and if we can play like that next week, we will give ourselves every chance of making the Grand Final.” Parkes said.
U20’s, 17’s, 14’s Results:
20s: Adamstown 1 beat Warners Bay 0, Mid North Coast 0 drew Merewether 0.
17s: Adamstown 2 drew Thornton 2, Mid North Coast 2 beat Wallsend 0.
14s: Merewether 3 beat Adamstown 2, Mid North Coast 1 beat Wallsend 0.