Herald Women’s Premier League Round 5 Review

May 3rd, 2021

 Jack Antcliff

Match of the Round

Maitland FC 0-4 Newcastle Olympic

Jemma House led the way for Newcastle Olympic as the defending champions held onto their position in second on the Herald Women’s Premier League table with a win over Maitland on Friday night.

House was instrumental for the visitors as she netted a hat-trick to ensure Olympic remain three points shy of table toppers Broadmeadow Magic. Laura Hall scored the side’s opening goal.

“We sort of had to work our way into the match. It was only 1-0 at half-time. We sort of had to tidy a few things up in the midfield and put a little more pressure on their front three players,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.

“Once we did that it all started to fall into place and everyone started to look a bit more comfortable.”

A vocal crowd did little to deter Olympic, who went on with the job in the second half to record a comfortable win.

“We just stuck to our game plan. We modified our formation a little bit so that probably contributed to how the girls settled into the first half,” Attwill said.

“I gave them the option of changing back if they felt uncomfortable. But they all said let’s keep going with it. To their credit they just pushed on.”

Olympic were again without the pairing of Georgia Little and Georgia Amess. Little’s return to the field remains under a cloud awaiting medical results after suffering a series of concussions.

At the other end Maitland coach Keelan Hamilton was proud of his players but “very frustrated” with the performance of match officials.

Maitland looked the more likely to score in stages though could not break through before the break.

“Overall, it was a very even match for the majority but we made a key error turning the ball over just before half-time which led directly to the first goal,” Hamilton said.

“Then after starting the second half well and looking threatening we made a defensive error on halfway which led to the second goal on 65 minutes which took the game away from us.”

Bronte Peel, Mercedes McNabb and Ainsley Childs drew praise from the Magpies mentor, who believes his side has shown they can match it with the competition’s best.

“Our work ethic was much improved and we stuck to our process much better. If we can replicate the majority and remove some key errors, we will improve our results,” Hamilton said.

“Our ball retention on transition and under pressure is still a work in progress. Our one v one defending is still a work in progress and our final pass to create chances is still a work in progress.”

Maitland face last-placed New Lambton at Alder Park on Friday night, while Olympic host Charlestown Azzurri in the match of the round on Saturday.

Charlestown Azzurri 1-2 Warners Bay FC

Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins declared Saturday’s match against Charlestown Azzurri a “game of two halves” as the Panthers walked away with a one-goal win after a much-improved second half.

Azzurri’s Nicki Jones had the home side in the lead early thanks to a spectacular strike, with the early running favoring Charlestown.

“We knew Charlestown would come out pretty strong and we were pretty slow out of the blocks,” Atkins said.

Mattiese Loretan led the recovery for the Panthers. Her fourth goal for the year brought the score level, before Alannah Russell found the match-winner.

“Half-time was a good chance to have a chat to the girls and give a few simple instructions and the second half was completely different. I think 2-1 could have easily been a lot more,” Atkins said.

“The tempo was there, the intensity was there, the ball movement was a lot more thorough and that’s where the opportunities were created.

“We had to make a couple of changes at half-time due to a couple of injuries. The girls who came on knew their role and played really well.”

Ryley Field, Sian Keating and Elly Cook headlined a list of bruised and battered bodies following the match. All three will seek physio advice before they are cleared fit to play.

Atkins believes the key for his side will be standing up in the opening stages if they are to knock over the top sides.

“We’ve got Adamstown and then Magic coming up, so you have got two very tough games ahead,” he said.

“We know what we can do but it is about coming out and matching the other team especially in the first 20 minutes.

“We want to come out and dominate the game, not have to chase the game.”

Charlestown mentor Michael Lee stood down during the week for personal reasons, with Lori Depczynski taking the helm at Lisle Carr Oval.

Depczynski will be well known to many having played a key role in Merewether’s recent successes.

The WPL regular has been working with Lee closely and will fill the void until a more permanent solution is determined.

Azzurri are sixth on the Herald Women’s Premier League table with just one win.

Adamstown Rosebud JFC 0-1 Broadmeadow Magic

Broadmeadow Magic remain clear at the top of the Herald Women’s Premier League table after a narrow win over Adamstown Rosebud.

Coach Jake Curley described the match as “one of those games,” as Magic pressed forward to create good scoring opportunities but could not convert in the crucial moments.

The women in red are averaging more than three goals per game, with the side’s only goal on Saturday the work of Kalista Hunter.

“They [Adamstown] didn’t really create a lot of chances. We probably created more chances but we were just a bit flat,” Curley said.

Magic keeper Alison Logue was rarely challenged by the Adamstown attack, who possessed strong field position but could not convert close to goal.

At the other end, Adamstown keeper Olivia Sneddon was forced to work overtime as the women in red peppered the Adamstown goal. Sneddon was later shown a red card for a challenge.

The drive and determination of the Buds drew strong praise from the Magic mentor.

“The good thing about Adamstown is that they are really competitive and have good energy,” Curley said.

“Considering how young they are, they drive really hard and it is good to watch. It is good for the competition.”

“It was hard for us to match their energy at the start. In the end it is just one of those games where you get the three points.”

Despite training on the synthetic turf at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility, it took Magic time to find their timings on the far quicker surface, with Adamstown also training at the facility.

“We were still not finding passes and we were just a bit flat. It is always an interesting game to play against Adamstown and it is very competitive,” Curley said.

Magic travels north to face Mid Coast FC next week with Nadja Squires a likely scratching having sustained a knee injury in the one-goal win.

The loss was Adamstown’s second this season, with the Buds now third on the table with seven points. They next face Warners Bay at John Street Oval.

Mid Coast FC 1-0 New Lambton FC

Mid Coast FC returned to the winner’s circle on Sunday afternoon with a tight win over visiting New Lambton.

The Eagles headed north hoping to score their first win of the 2021 campaign, while Middies were out to restore some pride after a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Newcastle Olympic.

Middies coach Mick Grass described the performance as “a bit hot and cold,” though was grateful to secure three points at a time the side desperately needed to bounce back.

“There were periods where the quality of our football was where we need it to be and then other periods where it deteriorated into a shamble,” Grass said.

Evie Bobilak scored the home side’s only goal, with Grass impressed by his side’s effort to shut down the Eagles attack, which includes former W-League player Adriana Jones.

“I thought our ability to spoil their efforts to play was the difference between the two sides. We did not really allow them to create too many scoring chances,” Grass said.

Mid Coast now sit fifth on the table with one win, one loss and a draw. Their round one and round three matches were both postponed to later in the season due to wet weather.

“Based on Sunday’s performance, we really need to be more ruthless in front of goal and be more consistent with our execution of some of the basics of the game,” Grass said.

“Those are areas we can definitely focus on to find improvement.

“With players out with injury and even though we weren’t at our best, we found a way to win. Getting the result when we really had to was what impressed me.”

Without the service of several key players, New Lambton were up against it from the start with coach Maddy Searl left to reflect on what could have been in the first stanza.

“We knew it was going to be a hard game for us without key players,” she said.

“We started slowly and unfortunately it hurt us. The second half was much more positive.”

Sunday’s defeat was the fifth straight for New Lambton. The last time the Eagles tasted success was September last year.

“The team needs to stand up and keep working together. We will review the game and get ready for our next battle,” Searl said.

Mid Coast next host leaders Broadmeadow Magic on Sunday, while it is a short turnaround for the Eagles who host Maitland in the match of the round on Friday night.

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