Match of the Round
Newcastle Olympic 7-2 Charlestown Azzurri
The Newcastle Olympic juggernaut continues to roll on as the women from Darling Street recorded their fifth win of the season on Saturday.
Olympic proved too good for the visiting Charlestown, as Jemma House led an all-hands-on-deck attack with three goals. Georgia Little, Jade Mcatamney, Georgia Amess and Brooke Summers also got themselves on the scoresheet.
The Herald Women’s Premier League match of the round proved an end-to-end contest early as both sides threatened the opposing goal. The first goal came midway through the first half in favour of the visiting Azzurri.
The Lori Depczynski goal was quickly countered by Olympic’s Jemma House, before Depczynski again had Charlestown in the lead.
From that moment onwards it was all one-way traffic as Olympic countered before the break, with the half-time score 2-2.
As they have on multiple occasions in 2021, Olympic found another gear in the second half.
“The first half we had a lot of possession and we had a lot of ball and we had a lot of chances. To have so much possession and essentially concede was disappointing,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.
“In the end it is one of those things where if you don’t take your chances and you give the ball away, then a team like Charlestown will punish you.”
Saturday’s match was just the third this season that Olympic had conceded a goal, with Atwill delivering a simple half-time message to her squad.
“You’ve created a battle so you’re going to have to take it head on and we just needed to be better with the ball,” Attwill said.
Saturday’s loss rounded out a tortuous week for Charlestown, who confirmed a change at the helm following the previous week’s loss to Warners Bay.
Niko Papaspiropoulos, now first grade head coach, believes his “full-on and involved” coaching style will bring benefit to the Azzurri squad.
“It was disappointing to go up twice and concede dirt cheap goals quite quickly after each time we scored. We made a couple of little errors and Olympic are quite a good side, so they just punished us and got themselves back on level terms quickly,” Papaspiropoulos said.
Depczynski was a standout for Azzurri, who donned their former Merewether strip for the match. Jess Gentle and Ash Gavin also returned having been unavailable last weekend.
Azzurri will hope for better luck next week when they host New Lambton. The Eagles sit three points below Charlestown at the bottom of the table.
Olympic next face Adamstown at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
New Lambton FC 0-6 Maitland FC
Maitland made light work of New Lambton on Friday evening as the visiting Magpies piled on six unanswered goals against the last-placed Eagles at Alder Park.
Bronte Peel led the charge for the visitors with two goals, while Mercedes McNabb, Taleah Mountford, Ainsley Childs and Emmeline Pepper also found the back of the net.
“Overall, I was pleased with our performance, despite some wayward finishing. We totally controlled the match, and, on another day, it could’ve been several more,” Maitland coach Keelan Hamilton said.
“We created a lot of chances and dominated possession but we also defended well and stopped them from really creating any chances.”
Friday’s win was Maitland’s second this season, with Hamilton adamant the Magpies still have not shown their best, with his side fifth on the table.
“We need to be more consistent with our execution and application in all phases,” he said.
“Our approach for the next few weeks doesn’t change. We keep working methodically on improving our football both individually and as a squad.
“We have areas we need to improve if we are going to challenge the top teams.”
Hamilton remains hopeful Kaitlin Radstaak and Sophie Stapleford will return next week, with Friday’s win another important momentum booster as the competition enters the middle third of the season.
“It was important for belief and confidence. We’ve been competitive in every match without reward, so to play well and get rewarded is great for the girls,” Hamilton said.
The loss for New Lambton was its sixth this season, with coach Maddy Searl sending the squad home to do some soul searching.
“Our performance was below the standard we want to be producing each week. The squad will be questioned and asked to do some soul searching,” she said.
This week’s video review session could be a brutal one with the performance sub-par according to the coach. Searl’s next challenge will be to reinstall some belief in the young squad.
“My main focus will be to instil confidence and some mental toughness in the next coming weeks,” she said.
The Eagles next face the struggling Charlestown Azzurri, who are coming off a five-goal loss to the high-flying Newcastle Olympic. Maitland host Mid Coast FC at Cooks Square Park.
Warners Bay FC 7-1 Adamstown Rosebud JFC
John Street Oval was the place to be on Sunday as Warners Bay delivered a crushing six-goal win over the visiting Adamstown.
The heavy score was far from a reflection of the first half however in which both teams netted just one goal.
“We were a bit slow out of the blocks and then we kicked into gear for probably the first 15 to 20 minutes and scored a nice goal. It was pretty even then Adamstown scored one from wide out,” Panthers coach Craig Atkins said.
“We went into a bit of a slump for probably the rest of the half. We had some good combination play going through the middle but they were few and far between.”
The second half was a far different scenario as the Panthers delivered a clinic for the vocal home crowd. Elodie Dagg was a standout with three goals, while the surprise signing of Tara Pender also delivered instant results.
Georgia Cook, Mattiese Loretan and Alannah Russell rounded out the scorers for the home side.
“The message at half-time was pretty simple. We just had to adapt and modify a few things. And probably the first three minutes of the second half was still sluggish then we finally kicked into gear,” Atkins said.
“You know when you’re playing Adamstown they are going to be in your face and they’re going to be intense for the whole 90 minutes.”
Atkins described his side’s second half performance as being one where “we just got back to what we do best.”
“The ball movement, the speed of the ball movement, the communication picked up and our intensity. We went out after the break like we wanted that game,” he said.
“The response in the second half brings great confidence. We again just try and focus on the way we want to play and you’ve got to match that intensity.”
The Panthers donned pink socks for a Mother’s Day double header, which included the Zone Premier League men playing on the adjacent field. The day of football raised money for the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation.
Rosebud next turn their attention to the second-placed Newcastle Olympic, while Warners Bay face the tough task of a Friday night trip to Magic Park to take on top-of-table Broadmeadow.
“We’ve had a good string of wins now but we know that can change in one game. We’ve got to run with that positivity and keep trying to play to our strengths,” Atkins said.
The Buds sit fourth on the table on seven points with two wins, a draw and three losses to open the season.
Broadmeadow Magic 3-0 Mid Coast FC
Broadmeadow Magic remain the team to beat in 2021 after a sixth straight win on Sunday afternoon.
Magic looked a class above as they cruised to an early lead against Mid Coast, having controlled most of the early possession. The women in red had a three-goal ascendancy at half-time.
“I think performance versus capability we’re probably around 60 per cent. There are areas we can improve but that will take time,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.
Broadmeadow hold down top spot on the table by three points over Olympic.
“I think there’s always pressure when you are at the top. I think the girls are realising they’re expected to get results in each game and teams want to beat us because we are at the top and we have good players,” Curley said.
“It is a challenge for the girls to manage this expectation.”
Light showers on the Mid North Coast did little to dampen spirits at Taree, as the home side threatened to cause an upset. The Middies defence drew praise from Magic coaching staff, who commented it was hard to break down.
Mid Coast coach Mick Grass described the performance as a “scratchy” one from his side.
“Strategically we went in with a game plan which we were pretty comfortable with for about 25 minutes and then in just one moment we didn’t get our job done, which is where we conceded our first goal,” Grass said.
“Going behind we reverted to how we would normally play. We played a bit more conservative at the start then we got a bit more aggressive and conceded two more goals.”
The second half was far better for the home side, who did not concede despite a star-studded Magic attack.
“Our commitment to getting the job done in the second half was a lot better. Having said that, we still weren’t really able to get ourselves into the game,” Grass said.
“Strategically we were disciplined for 25 minutes but we just weren’t able to maintain that.”
The opportunities for improvement are limitless in the eyes of the Middies mentor, though specific focus remains on the individuals if his side is to match the competition’s heavy hitters.
“From a purely football perspective I take away that we’re not really close to the top teams right now,” Grass said.
“Individuals have a lot of work to do in our side to make sure we are more comfortable with the ball and making sure we’re not turning the ball over as much as we do.”
Mid Coast return to Match of the Round action next weekend when they travel to Cooks Square Park to play Maitland. Magic host Warners Bay.