Match of the Round
Charlestown Azzurri 1-4 Broadmeadow Magic
Three goals in 23 minutes ensured Broadmeadow Magic remained at the top of the Herald Women’s Premier League table as the women in red proved too good for a depleted Charlestown Azzurri on Sunday afternoon.
The home side was the first to find the back of the net on a winter-like afternoon at Lisle Carr Oval. A long-range cross from Nicki Jones fell at the feet of rising star Isabella Ramzan-Levy. The young talent was able to twist her way past former Merewether keeper Alison Logue.
Charlestown’s third minute goal was eventually countered by Magic’s Chelsea Lucas just minutes into the second half.
“I wasn’t happy with how we played in the first half. We were a bit loose on the ball but in the second half it was definitely the best we have played this year,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.
Curley did not mince his words at half-time, with the message clear on what was needed to deliver points in the second half.
“I told them what they need to do to win the game and I said if you don’t do it, I will go and get new players to do. To their credit, they went out and they did it,” he said.
There were chances aplenty as both sides threatened to slice open the match. The deadlock was eventually broken thanks to the work of Ashlee Brodigan close to goal.
“The girls picked up after half-time. We got on the ball in the second half and we were effective,” Curley said.
From there it was all one-way traffic as Lucy Jerram and Nadja Squires put to bed any hope of a Charlestown revival. Magic are now three points clear of Newcastle Olympic at the top of the table.
“The reality is that we have good players across the park so they should perform. I didn’t know if we would get four goals but I certainly knew we could keep the pressure on,” Curley said.
Despite the defeat, Charlestown proved they would be no walk-over in 2021, despite the loss of several experienced players from last year’s Merewether side.
The turning point in the match was a moment coach Michael Lee described as a “dumb mistake,” referring to Magic’s first goal.
“The last thing I said at half-time was don’t do that and we did that and that was it,” he said.
“The more it went on without the girls getting a goal the more they were going to get frustrated. And to give them such a soft introduction was pretty bad.
“First half of the game we were alright. They didn’t cause us any trouble and our keeper didn’t make any serious saves.
“The second half, after we gave them that goal, we just gave away the ball way too much, we did not look like penetrating at all.”
The three-goal defeat was salt in the wounds for Lee after a tough day on the injury front. He will now be left to collate what is left after a horror day in the casualty ward.
“One of the girls did a quad in the first five minutes but stayed on. One of the other girls called me an hour and a half before hand and said I am sick but I will play. And another one said my knee is stuffed but I will play,” he said.
New Lambton FC 0-3 Newcastle Olympic
Newcastle Olympic returned to the winner’s circle on Friday night with a three-goal win over the last-placed New Lambton.
Olympic mentor Harmonie Attwill was forced into a late reshuffle on the morning of the match with Keea Parrish ruled out.
“We had to bring up a couple of reserve grade players, so we were in a way just trying to manage against adversity,” she said.
“I said to the girls before kick-off that we just have to dig deep and work with what we’ve got.”
Georgia Amess opened the account for the visiting Olympic, before Laura Hall doubled the advantage from the penalty spot. Olympic’s final goal was a perfect first-touch for reserve grade player Callie Thomas, who Attwill had only moments earlier chosen to inject into the contest.
A bursting run from Herald Women’s Premier League regular Emily Frost provided the perfect platform for Thomas, who tapped in for the third and final goal of the night.
Olympic were unlucky not to have a fourth, with a goal disallowed for offside.
“I would say we dominated possession but New Lambton certainly made it hard for us,” Attwill said.
“We still created chances and we still scored so I am happy with that.”
Olympic next face Mid Coast FC, before a trip to Cooks Square Park to face Maitland.
“It is a long season so if we can iron out all these niggles early on, hopefully we will hit our straps later on in the season,” Attwill said.
“I am happy with our defensive formation. They tend to work together well, they shuffle well. It was really disappointing last week [against Magic] to get two goals scored against them.”
The three-goal defeat rounded out a tough week at Alder Park, in which first grade coach Greg Lowe departed New Lambton. His assistant, former Herald Women’s Premier League player Maddy Searl, is now at the Eagles’ helm.
“I think my approach will just be bringing some self-belief back into the squad. I think that was a good start against Olympic,” Searl said.
“I think everyone expected us to get absolutely smashed but they won 3-0 but probably only had one goal from the run of play.”
Having taken over late last week, Searl was impressed with her side’s ability to execute an established game plan “almost to perfection.”
“There were so many positives to take from the game into the next one,” she said.
Searl’s first up challenge is a daunting one. The Eagles travel to Magic Park on Friday night to face the high-flying Broadmeadow Magic.
“I say for the first few weeks we just need to figure out who we want to be as a team. What we sort of want to identify ourselves as,” Searl said
Maitland FC 6-2 Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Maitland secured its first points of the 2021 season on Saturday as the Magpies cruised to a confidence building 6-2 win over Adamstown Rosebud.
Having welcomed back defensive maestro Kaitlin Radstaak and Bronte Peel, Maitland declared themselves no easy opponent for sides making the trip to Cooks Square Park.
According to Magpies mentor Keelan Hamilton, his side delivered a “mixed” performance, with plenty of opportunity to improve.
“In the first half we were second best but to our credit we hung in there and defended well,” he said.
“In the second half we tweaked a couple of things and got more of a foothold in the game and then took our chances when they came.”
Chelsea Gay bagged a hat-trick for the Magpies while Mercedes McNabb found the scoresheet on two occasions. Kate Heap scored Maitland’s other goal.
“We scored some attractive goals in the second half with some quality counter-attacking. It was nice to see things we have worked on come off,” Hamilton said.
“After two losses it was nice for the players to get the three points. It will give us a nice boost moving forward.
“There is still lots of areas of improvement for us. We need to be better in possession when we are put under pressure and we need to be much more proactive with our positioning and decision making with and without the ball.
“For the week ahead, we just go back to work and keep trying to get better.”
Rosebud coach Ryan Campbell was left to reflect on what could have been on a day where the Buds showed promise at various stages.
“Overall, we actually did a lot of good things with the ball, especially in the first half. However we still need to be better at creating chances,” he said.
“Our ball retention in the first half was better which is a positive.”
Kimmy Trappett and Kiarra Lewis both found the back of the net for the visitors, who will go into the week ahead with a focus on the small improvements.
“We just need to keep on getting better at individual actions to win more games. This is both offensively and defensively,” Campbell said.
“We need to ensure we are not so open defensively. That will be key, as we gave away way too many chances for a game that we had a fair share of possession in.”
The road forward will be no easy task for Adamstown, who face Charlestown Azzurri, Broadmeadow Magic and Warners Bay over the next three weekends.
Saturday’s loss leaves them third on the table, two points behind Newcastle Olympic.