Match of the Round
Charlestown Azzurri 3-2 Maitland FC
There were glimpses of the Merewether of old as Charlestown Azzurri started its campaign with a narrow ‘get out of trouble’ win against Maitland on Sunday afternoon.
Tamara Nash starred for Azzurri with a double, despite backing up from a futsal competition just 24 hours earlier as coach Micheal Lee described the win as “determined.”
“The girls had really had it at half-time because we had all those girls playing futsal up until Saturday,” Lee said.
“The second half, I don’t know where they got it from but it was really gutsy. They had all had it, we pinched one at the end. It was pleasing for them to win.”
Nicki Jones also found the back of the net for Charlestown, with Ashleigh Gavin drawing strong praise from Lee.
“We changed a few things at half-time and we got that second wind. We had a few decent chances and we thought, we can really have a go here.
“You could see that they were had it. But they just kept forging ahead.”
Azzurri face Broadmeadow Magic next in what will be the first time the former Merewether side has faced former long-term goalkeeper Alison Logue. She made the switch from Myamblah Crescent to Broadmeadow during the off-season.
“Defensively we have got to improve. We let a goal in early where we shouldn’t have and that’s where defensively we just need to be bit tougher,” Lee said.
Magpies’ coach Keelan Hamilton could justify feeling hard done by after his side conceded late to fall agonisingly short of its first points in the Herald Women’s Premier League.
Mercedes McNabb and Madison Gallegos had the visitors on track for a strong result with first half goals, though in the end it wasn’t the Magpies’ day as Azzurri netted a late winner.
“It was a tough result to take considering for the vast majority of the match we controlled it. We created the better chances,” Hamilton said.
“[Charlestown] only had four shots on target and unfortunately they scored three times.”
Maitland still has nothing to show for two-strong performances to start the year, with the side’s next opponent Adamstown Rosebud.
“We were the team that were looking the more likely to score for the majority of the second half,” Hamilton said.
“At 2-2 we had two really good chances that we didn’t take. And unfortunately, late on we conceded a second free kick to lose the game.
“We pushed really hard in the closing minutes after conceding the third one [but it] just wasn’t our day.
“The big positive for us is we’ve now played two games against Broadmeadow which on the balance of play was really even and today I thought we were much the better side for longer periods.”
Warners Bay FC 8-1 New Lambton FC
Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins called on his side to impress with a “90 minute” performance on Friday against New Lambton, something the Panthers then delivered as they demolished the Eagles by seven goals.
“The girls definitely turned up and went from the first minute the whole way. A complete performance which was definitely what was asked for,” Atkins said.
Mattiese Loretan and Alannah Russell grabbed two goals each as the home side cruised to a dominant win, sending a strong message to the remainder of the competition in the process.
Elodie Dagg, Zoe Horgan and Sian Keating also found the scoresheet, with Atkins most impressed by his side’s effort.
“During the week we worked on some simple things, structure and positioning, but the biggest thing for me was the effort the girls put in,” he said.
“We were very lacklustre in the first half of the Olympic game [in round one] but the effort that they put in on Friday was excellent.”
The only minor slip up was a goal conceded late in the first half, in what was otherwise a performance that saw the “teamwork return” according to Atkins.
“They weren’t waiting for someone to do something. Everyone just did their role. It was nice to bang away a few goals as well,” he said.
Annika D’Amico returned for the Panthers, having been a regular for the side last year.
“Annie is one of those people you need around your club. When you talk about club culture, Annie is central to that. She’s just a great person to have around the club,” Atkins said.
The focus at John Street Oval now is for “continual improvement”.
“We just need to keep improving. Friday was one good performance, we know what we can do but there’s still room for improvement,” Atkins said.
New Lambton will hope for better fortunes when they meet Newcastle Olympic on Friday.
Adriana Jones gave the travelling fans something to cheer about with her first half goal in what was otherwise a night to forget for the Greg Lowe-coached Eagles.
Broadmeadow Magic 2-0 Newcastle Olympic
Broadmeadow Magic delivered a strong statement to the remainder of the competition on Saturday afternoon as the women in red overpowered cross-town rivals Newcastle Olympic.
“It was good to get a win against Olympic who are a good team so the girls should take confidence out of the game,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.
Magic now sit two points clear at the top of the Herald Women’s Premier League table, with Olympic fourth with three points.
“I thought we were scrappy in the first half and Olympic started well. Second half was better and we sort of grew into the game,” Curley said.
Ashlee Brodigan, Alison Logue and Kalista Hunter all drew strong praise from Curley, who described their individual performances as “outstanding.” Brodigan and Maggie Quinn both found the back of the net for the home side.
“The difference was we capitalised on our chances and Alison made two great saves,” Curley said.
“Our approach will be to work on a few things at training that I think we need to improve.
“At the weekend we had six new players in the starting 11 and the girls need to work together on combinations.”
The loss for Olympic was their first since round nine last year. But despite the result, coach Harmonie Attwill described the match as a “really entertaining” game.
“For us we still played some really positive football. Unfortunately, we just didn’t take our opportunities,” Attwill said.
“When it is a bigger game and you’re playing against a quality opposition, if you get a chance you have to take it and if you don’t you can expect to be punished for it.”
There was no shortage of hype in the build up to Saturday’s clash, with the traditional derby always a crowd pleaser. According to Attwill, her side now needs to regroup with a focus on execution in the final third and finding the creative spark which made them the team to beat last year.
“A couple of things I was disappointed with was our set play execution. We had plenty of set plays and opportunities. And I just thought we weren’t very creative,” she said.
“We still managed to shut down some of Magic’s attack pretty well. Obviously two goals is disappointing but they were against the run of play.
“We were able to give a couple of the young players an opportunity to have some minutes in first grade which is once again another positive for us.”
Olympic face New Lambton in round three, while Magic is away to Charlestown.
Adamstown Rosebud JFC 3-3 Mid Coast FC
Adamstown Rosebud now sit second on the Herald Women’s Premier League ladder after walking away with a single point from Saturday’s clash with Mid Coast FC.
According to Rosebud coach Ryan Campbell, his young side was “not even close to being average,” on a night that he hopes will be a “learning experience” for the Buds.
“I was very disappointed with the performance. We lacked composure, struggled when the opposition put us under pressure and were not clinical with our finishing,” Campbell said.
Kimmy Trappett, Ella Spicer, and Leia Puxty all found the back of the net for the Buds, who were left to chase the game at varying stages.
“The positive to take from it was that we were behind three times and came back each time which showed good character,” he said.
“We need to improve in all areas and it will start with ensuring we take care in everything we do.”
The focus for Campbell now switches to Saturday’s match up with Maitland FC.
“We have a lot of work to do in order to be playing and performing how I would like to be. We have the ability to improve in all areas but we need to take training into the weekend matches,” he said.
It was a different story at the other end, with Mid Coast coach Mick Grass impressed by the performance of his young side, despite a disrupted pre-season.
“We are probably in better shape than I expected. We haven’t played a game in nine weeks and our training has been disrupted massively so starting off like that wasn’t a bad performance,” he said.
Early predictions that Middies would lack goal scoring capability in 2021 were put to bed early as Kirrily Hughes, Chelsea Hall and Jess Watts all added their names to the scoresheet.
“I’ve got every faith in the players we’ve got. I didn’t think it was going to be a massive problem going forward,” Grass said.
“We found the back of the net a few times. And to be honest we could have found the back of the net a few more times.
“We sort of ran out of legs with 15 minutes to go and [Adamstown] jagged one back.”
The focus for Middies now is to try to find some routine after a wet weather interrupted build up to this year’s campaign.
“Hopefully with a bit of dry weather ahead we can find some consistency and some routine again. And be able to work on the things we need to work on,” Grass said.