Herald Women’s Premier League – Round 14 Review

September 28th, 2020

Jack Antcliff

 Sproule Sports Focus

Match of the Round

Adamstown Rosebud 3-3 Warners Bay

There was action aplenty at Adamstown Oval on Sunday as Adamstown Rosebud and Warners Bay played out an end-to-end six-goal spectacle.

It was a tough day to be a goalkeeper as both sides looked to play forward early. Rosebud keeper Olivia Sneddon and Panthers shot stopper Ally Boertje both made critical saves in the opening stages before the visitors found the opener through the precise touch of Jen Hoy.

The experienced Hoy continued to cause headaches for the Buds’ defence while at the other end the much younger Kimmy Trappett kept the Warners Bay backline on its feet.

With the score 1-0 after 42-minutes the floodgates seemingly opened as Elodie Dagg doubled the advantage from the penalty spot. Belle Hewitt then opened the account for the home side, with the half-time score 2-1.

Warners Bay were again ahead by two just after the break before, similar to the rapid fire of goals before the half-time intermission, Adamstown replied with a clinical finish from Hewitt.

Ellen Hughes later levelled the scores with the small crowd on hand treated to an end to end final hour half as both teams peppered the opposition goal.

“I thought it was pretty fair. I thought we created enough chances, they created a few chances as well,” Adamstown coach Ryan Campbell said.

“I was pretty happy with our reaction given we went 3-1 down just after half-time. I’d said to the girls at half-time we can’t concede the next goal and we did but they still reacted well.”

Rosebud head to end-of-season celebrations off the back of a mixed year. After four rounds Adamstown sat well inside the top-four but struggled through the middle part of the season. They finished the year with five wins, two draws and seven losses.

“I’m probably disappointed that we finished on the amount of points we finished on. I think we’re probably a better team than the amount of points we’ve got,” Campbell said.

Warners Bay will face Merewether in the minor semi-final, with the winner of that game to play the loser of the major semi-final between Newcastle Olympic and Broadmeadow Magic.

“We played far below our best on Sunday. Again, in patches there was some brilliant football and we did some really good stuff but lacked intensity,” Panthers coach Craig Atkins said.

“That’s nowhere near semi-final level. We need to step it up for next week that’s for sure.

“We’ll forget this one. No point dwelling on this one now. It’s all about us, we know what we can do and we’ve just got to put that together consistently as we’ve been trying to do week in week out.”

Merewether United 5-1 Thornton

Merewether United will head into next weekend’s minor semi-final fresh from a convincing win over last-placed Thornton.

Lori Depczynski led the way for the home side with three goals as the Llamas raced to a 5-0 lead at the break as Rhali Dobson and Nicki Jones also found the scoresheet.

The second half was far less polished as Thornton managed to keep Merewether scoreless. The visitors’ sole goal came via the boot of Sarah Whitley.

“We’ve gone, perhaps, a little bit back to our roots. Our strength is attacking and outscoring the opposition,” Merewether coach Scott Ellis said.

Jamee Ellis and Alison Logue both missed the game, while Ellie Butler came from the field with injury early in the match.

“Second half we technically lost 1-0 so a bit disappointing. But like the first half we had chances,” Ellis said.

“Some of the intensity dropped out of things. We still had plenty of opportunities, we just couldn’t quite finish them off.”

Polish in the final third will be a focus for Ellis, who now turns his attention to Sunday’s elimination final against Warners Bay.

“This is do or die, win or end of season. As a group, I don’t know what it is about them psychologically, Merewether have a tradition of rising to the occasion,” he said.

“The girls are just all keen to get down to the business end.”

The loss marked the end of an era for Thornton, with its WPL program heading west along the New England Highway to Maitland FC in season 2021.

“It summed up our season. We were competitive early then Merewether had three corners and the score was 3-0,” Thornton coach Al Primmer said.

Asked to describe the club through its time in the Herald Women’s Premier League, Primmer reflected on the many successes as a pathway for young female footballers.

“We finished as we started. All players are treated equally, from not the best player to the best players, they’re all the same,” he said.

“We always spoke about development of the women’s game particularly for the Hunter Valley, we always said we wanted a pathway for Hunter Valley girls.”

Newcastle Olympic 8-0 New Lambton

Newcastle Olympic made official its first Herald Women’s Premier League premiership on Sunday with a crushing 8-0 win over New Lambton.

Jemma House continued her incredible run of form with four goals, while Georgia Amess scored a double. Brooke Summers and Keely Gawthrop also found the scoresheet.

“Sunday’s win gave the girls a chance to be celebrated and give the club and committee an exciting atmosphere,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.

“To be presented with two premierships in our senior squads is an impressive feat.”

The women from Darling Street now switch their focus to next weekend’s major semi-final where they will face Broadmeadow Magic. The last time the two sides met just a week-and-a-half ago it was Olympic who scored a 4-0 win.

“We are definitely excited by winning the minor premiership but at the same time we know the season isn’t over and we still have some work to do,” Attwill said.

“We will celebrate the minor premiership and know it is well deserved but at the same time, we still have a challenge to overcome.”

Nat Wiseman in goals drew strong praise from the premiership-winning coach, while Stacey Day also returned to the field after suffering a knee injury earlier in the year.

“Nat was excellent in goals for us. It was a difficult game with the wind and she managed to keep a clean sheet,” Attwill said.

“Stacey Day came on off the bench, so we look forward to her playing a role in future games.”

Olympic’s reserve grade side also won the reserve grade premiership.

Sunday’s 8-0 loss marked the end of a torrid year for New Lambton, who finished the season with two wins and a draw.

The Eagles’ first grade and reserve grade sides finished top of the table last season but could not repeat the heroics this year.

“There’s quite a few factors that led into that. It wasn’t just one single thing so whilst it is disappointing from everyone’s point of view, this year as we know has been extra-ordinary,” interim head coach Cas Wright said.

“From that there’s a lot of positives we can take out of the past three or four weeks.”

Wright reflected on the year as being one of mixed emotions, with the focus now firmly on turning around the side’s fortunes in 2021.

“We’re going to recruit young, keen, enthusiastic players who want to be developed,” she said.

Mid Coast FC 2-4 Broadmeadow Magic

Broadmeadow Magic returned to the winner’s circle with an important momentum building win ahead of next weekend’s major semi-final against Newcastle Olympic.

The women in red were too good for Mid Coast FC who, despite taking the lead early, could not hang on for what would have been a memorable win against the second-placed Magic.

Lucy Jerram opened the scoring for the visiting Magic before Chelsea Lucas, Maddie Dean and Gemma Harrison all added to their respective season tallies in the second half.

“We played a new shape, so the first half was a bit hit and miss, the second half we were good,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.

“We scored three goals in the second half and played the game in our half, so I thought we were pretty effective.”

Next weekend’s qualifying final will be the second time in three weeks Magic have faced Olympic, with both sides well aware of their high calibre opposition.

“We need to clear our lines a bit better and we need to stay more compact,” Curley said.

“I’ve given the girls a session off this week. They’ll only train Wednesday and Thursday.”

Sunday’s result rounded out a successful year for Mid Coast who, despite not making the finals in first grade will feature in October football in both under-14s and reserve grade.

“We achieved probably more than what was expected of us at the start of the year, so everyone is pretty upbeat and happy with what we’ve done this season,” Mid Coast coach Mick Grass said.

“We probably didn’t put our best foot forward on Sunday [against Broadmeadow]. We got away to a reasonable start.”

Mid Coast had the visiting Magic on the back foot early at Taree thanks to a goal to Courtney Anderson, with the half-time score 1-1. Anderson finished the year with 10 goals.

“Defensively we didn’t have the same composure we’ve had the last few weeks,” Grass said.

“In the end the score was a reasonable reflection of the game. We’d been under the pump a lot during the first half.

“We played okay for periods in the first half so going in 1-1 was probably a reasonable reflection of the first half but we just couldn’t hold them out in the second.”


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