Herald Women’s Premier League Round 13 Review

June 28th, 2021

 Jack Antcliff

Match of the Round

Adamstown Rosebud JFC 1-0 Warners Bay FC

Warners Bay slipped to fourth on the Herald Women’s Premier League table after they went down 1-0 to Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday night.

Under lights at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, it was end-to-end action as neither side could find the finishing touch. The deadlock was eventually broken nearing half-time thanks to the boot of Kiarra Lewis.

Lewis’ goal was her eighth in 2021, though Saturday night’s effort could be one of the most important of the season.

The loss was Warners Bay’s third in a row with the Panthers’ mid-season slump proving a tough task to overcome for coach Craig Atkins.

“We played some good football. We are not playing bad football but that final third is just eluding us at the moment,” he said.

“It is the same old story three weeks in a row. It could have been a game where we were three or four up early though we just can’t get the ball in the back of the net.”

The lack of conversion in the final third is a simple problem, though the question remains for Atkins, does it have a simple solution?

“We’ve been speaking about it, working on it, but it is just that little bit more patience and relaxing a little bit,” he said.

“Our general play was good, there were some brilliant pieces of play. We got a little bit flat in a couple of different areas in the second half.”

As expected, Adamstown proved a “very physical” opponent for the Panthers who walked away nursing an array of injuries.

Sian Keating came from the field early after she rolled her ankle, while Lilly-Jane Babic continues to recover from a niggling leg injury.

“We’ve got to have a look at everything we do as a whole. Maybe we need some adjustments there from a structural point of view,” Atkins said.

Adamstown climbed level with Warners Bay on points thanks to the victory.

Maitland FC 7-2 New Lambton FC

Maitland bounced back from a disappointing loss to Newcastle Olympic with a convincing 7-2 win over last-placed New Lambton at Cooks Square Park on Saturday.

Bronte Peel led the way for the home side with a hat-trick, while Ainsley Childs also added three goals to her season tally. Lisa Cochrane scored the Magpies’ seventh goal.

“Overall I was pleased with the performance. I thought we were positive in possession and patient when we needed to be. We created a lot of clear chances with some well-constructed football,” Maitland coach Keelan Hamilton said.

The Magpies led by four goals after just 25 minutes, though conceded two before the break to go to the sheds with the score 4-2.

“I thought the game was won with our positive intent with the ball,” Hamilton said.

“We talked about areas where we believed we could get some joy during the week and the girls executed fairly well.”

Hamilton will now switch the side’s focus to this weekend’s State Cup, which is followed by a trip north to take on Mid Coast.

“Whilst we were positive in possession I was a little disappointed with our work defensively,” he said.

“We conceded off two long bomb free kicks but at times our individual defending was poor and our distance between lines was too big.”

It was another luckless afternoon for New Lambton who continue to struggle for consistency in season 2021.

The Eagles’ last win came against Thornton, who transitioned its WPL program to Maitland at the start of the year, in the second last game of last season.

Following this weekend’s State Cup, New Lambton host Charlestown at Alder Park.

Charlestown Azzurri 0-1 Newcastle Olympic

It may not have been a win for Charlestown but for Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos it appeared a seismic shift in what his side was capable of as Charlestown went down 1-0 to leaders Newcastle Olympic.

“The girls were really disciplined and we worked really hard off the ball,” he said.

“We were effective going forward and when we had it we were disciplined and we weren’t creating as many problems for ourselves as previous weeks.

“We were conceding a lot less chances than our previous game and the girls fought really hard for the full 90 minutes.”

Neither team could find the back of the net early with the edge of your seat battle seemingly destined for a draw as the clock neared full-time. The match winner in the end fell to the visitors thanks to the boot of Keely Gawthrop.

“The way in which the girls have presented themselves on the pitch the last two games has been very impressive,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“As a unit we are learning how to fight for 90 minutes, how to scrap, the attitude and mentality to keep working hard and the match fitness coming back for a few is really showing.

“Everyone I have spoken to from Charlestown and Olympic said it was a very good game and very tight. To be fair, you could of flipped a coin for who would have won it.”

Gawthrop’s goal in the 89th minute ensured Olympic remain clear at the top of the table with eight rounds remaining in the regular season.

“I put Stacey Day on in the last 15-20 minutes and just sat her as number nine. She got the ball, held it off a little and played it off to Keely who struck a bomb from outside the 18,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.

The Olympic mentor praised her side’s ability to maintain mental control in a match that on paper many expected the women from Darling Street would win convincingly.

“I am always impressed by the girl’s ability to be patient and mature. The message at half-time was we just need to stay positive and be patient and it will come,” Attwill said.

“There was an element of frustration from players and probably understandably so. We controlled the game and had plenty of opportunities, so it is easy to let that take over.

“When people get frustrated, they stop playing their game.”

Saturday’s win was also the last match in the Herald Women’s Premier League for defender Emily Frost, who will move to Melbourne.

“I definitely think we have got the depth in the squad to fill the void. But it is not as easy to fill the person of Frosty,” Attwill said.

“She’s such a lovely girl and she adds a lot to our club. We’ll miss her.”

Broadmeadow Magic 10-0 Mid Coast FC

The Broadmeadow Magic juggernaut continued to power its way through season 2021 of the Herald Women’s Premier League on Saturday, as the women in red hammered Mid Coast 10-0 at Magic Park.

Lucy Kell returned in a big way for the home side with three goals, while the return of Erin Wilson proved another positive for coach Jake Curley.

“You kind of forget how good Erin actually is and then you watch her for five minutes and you’re like yep, she’s got it,” Curley said.

Kalista Hunter and Ashlee Brodigan both bagged a brace, while Nadja Squires, Kobie Ferguson and Sunny Mitchell found the back of the net as Magic hammered home 10 unanswered goals.

Mitchell’s goal was her first in the top grade, with the rising star one to watch from Magic’s under-17s side.

“Middies had to use a lot of younger players and I thought for the first 20 minutes they were quite good which is a credit to them,” Curley said.

“I think it’s important to put the game into perspective. I was talking to [Mid Coast coach] Mick Grass after the game and he told me how many players have been unavailable and that they haven’t been able to train which makes playing against us super difficult.”

With the State Cup scheduled for this weekend, Magic’s next league match will be against Warners Bay at John Street Oval on Sunday 11 July.

“I think for us our focus will turn to individual performance and player improvement,” Curley said.

The loss was a further blow to Middies’ remote hopes of finals football, with the travelling side still seventh having recorded just one win and a draw. They trail sixth-placed Charlestown by 11 points.

“To be honest, I thought our first half was pretty good. We were down 3-0 at half-time and the way we conceded in that first half we weren’t disgraced,” Grass said.

“At times I thought we played some of our better football but our second half was diabolical.”

The second half was one to forget as the visitors conceded seven goals, with Grass describing it as “once things started to go downhill it just snowballed.”

“Everyone was embarrassed by the second half performance. We didn’t turn up and it got worse as the game went on,” he said.

Middies escaped injury free from the thrashing, while Grass noted the lack of experience as a contributing factor to the result.

“We’re working with players at the moment who are talented players but just haven’t had experience at any kind of level. We try and give them that experience now,” he said.

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