Match of the Round
Newcastle Olympic 5-2 Warners Bay FC
Defending champions Newcastle Olympic showed no signs of slowing down on their crusade towards a second-straight premiership with a 5-2 win over last year’s grand finalists Warners Bay.
The home side wasted no time at Darling Street Oval with Jemma House handing the women in blue the ascendancy inside the opening 20 minutes of play.
House, the competition’s top goal scorer, was again in the action minutes later as she turned provider for teammate Brooke Summers.
Olympic wasted no time building on their 2-0 lead in the second half as they extended it to three. That quickly became four just a matter of minutes later when Georgia Little slotted a contender for goal of the year.
It did not deter 17-year-old Alannah Russell who gave the Panthers hope of a comeback with her long-range effort enough to bring the travelling Warners Bay crowd to its feet.
Both coaches rang in the substitutes with 20 minutes remaining as Harmonie Attwill injected Keea Parrish into the match, while Craig Atkins called on Riley Field.
Field quickly returned provider with a pinpoint pass to Alannah Russell, allowing the 17-year-old to slot a second long-range effort, though it was far too little far too late as a fifth Olympic goal put the result to bed.
“It was not ideal to concede if I was to be picky. I said last week that we can’t be complacent against a team like Warners Bay,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.
“We did a good job at controlling the game and we certainly had a lot of opportunities early on.”
Olympic tackle Broadmeadow Magic on Friday in their cross-town derby. The match also doubles as a clash between first and second on the table.
“It is really important for the girls to understand the history of our club and to take that onboard and to understand they are representing a rich history of football,” Attwill said.
The performance of Alannah Russell was a highlight for Warners Bay coach Atkins, who could be forgiven for looking the other way in patches.
“We wanted to score goals and we scored two good ones. Though we just couldn’t maintain that intensity for the full 90 minutes,” he said.
“There were some really good patches. I thought we started the game really well which was important and for a fair amount of time it was a pretty even contest.”
New Lambton FC 0-2 Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Adamstown Rosebud moved to third on the table after a far from convincing 2-0 win over New Lambton on Friday night.
Kiarra Lewis bagged a brace on an evening that would have been better suited to flying a kite than playing football, with high winds proving a treacherous challenge at both ends.
“The performance was inconsistent but the conditions were very challenging and affected how we were aiming to play,” Adamstown coach Ryan Campbell said.
“The main positive of the game was keeping a clean sheet and gaining another three points.”
The road ahead does not get any easier for Adamstown, who next week face Mid Coast. That match is followed by a trip to Maitland and a clash with Charlestown.
“Our aim this week is to have a hard week of training and get three points on Saturday evening, hopefully setting us up for a tough six-week period,” Campbell said.
Friday’s loss proved another tough one to take for New Lambton coach Maddy Searl, with the side yet to record a win this season. Their closest result was a 1-0 defeat to Mid Coast in round five.
The Eagles’ for-and-against also makes for tough reading with just seven goals scored, while they have conceded 60. Adriana Jones has four to her name.
“We had plenty of chances but unfortunately couldn’t take them. The second half was a lot more positive for us,” Searl said.
Brooke Miller was again impressive despite the result, with the final third a focus for Searl.
“The squad, including reserve grade is responding to what [we] are building,” Searl said.
“We will work on the front third coming into Wednesday night against Charlestown.”
Maitland FC 1-5 Broadmeadow Magic
Broadmeadow Magic were too much for Maitland on Saturday, as the women in red extended their winning streak to five with a 5-1 victory at Cooks Square Park.
Ashlee Brodigan added two to her season tally while Lucy Kell, Maggie Quinn and Bella Carlisle found the scoresheet on a blustery day at a ground affectionately known as Windy Hill.
“In the first half the conditions were challenging for the girls and they had to adjust. The girls showed more urgency in the second half which is a good sign,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.
Magic carry one of the competition’s most dangerous attacking lineups with Curley grateful to see the side deliver close to goal.
“We finished the chances we created in the second half and the girls kept pushing for more goals,” he said.
Maitland looked a chance of an upset at half-time with the score just 1-0 in favour of the visitors. But the second half proved one to forget for the Magpies.
“We performed ok. We limited Broadmeadow’s chances well in the first half and had a couple of moments on the counter which we could’ve made more of,” Maitland coach Keelan Hamilton said.
“Between the 55th and 60th minute we conceded two goals in quick time. Two long range strikes off second balls which we didn’t defend well.”
Chelsea Gay scored a late consolation goal for the home side, though by that stage the result was already beyond doubt.
“Overall, we couldn’t really get ourselves a foothold in the game in terms of possession to build any sustained pressure,” Hamilton said.
“Credit to Broadmeadow I thought they were quite good on Saturday, particularly defensively and didn’t allow us much space.”
The Magpies face Charlestown Azzurri away from home next weekend.
“We take some positives from a few aspects in the first half,” Hamilton said.
“The top two are a bit ahead of the rest of the competition. So we just keep working away and keep trying to bridge the gap.”
Mid Coast FC 0-4 Charlestown Azzurri
Charlestown Azzurri remain within reach of finals football after an important win away from home over seventh-placed Mid Coast.
The win leaves Charlestown sixth, though importantly, they are just three points shy of fourth-placed Maitland who were hammered at the hands of Broadmeadow on Saturday. Fifth-placed Warners Bay also suffered a loss to Olympic.
Freya Clifton handed the visitors the advantage early at Taree Zone Field before Imogen Tusek doubled the margin.
“We had a bit of a shaky start especially in our defensive shape in the back third,” Charlestown coach Niko Papaspiropoulos said.
“We absorbed a little bit of pressure and Middies had one decent chance. From there on in we did a good job at managing the game and controlling where Middies had possession.”
Second half goals to Bella Ramzan-Levy and Lori Depczynski were enough to secure an important four-goal win for the visitors.
“The structural awareness and tactical discipline are starting to get better. We are starting to look more composed,” Papaspiropoulos said.
“On the ball we’re showing a little bit better ability to hold possession.”
Charlestown now switch focus to Wednesday evening’s catch-up match against New Lambton, before hosting Maitland on Saturday.
Mid Coast coach Mick Grass was forced to lament lapses in possession with the side “still making far too many simple errors.”
“I was pretty confident going into the game but we just didn’t put our best foot forward,” Grass said.
“We are turning the ball over. We’re attempting to play with some kind of control of possession but the errors we are making, we are just turning the ball over way too often.
“Our general play we were making far too many simple errors and our decision making was just far too slow.”
Grass placed his side on notice post-match with changes likely ahead of next weekend’s clash with Adamstown.
“I thought our reserve grade team, despite losing on Sunday, were equally the better team and there were some quality performances so there could be some changes in personnel,” he said.