Herald Women’s Premier League Round 7 Review

May 17th, 2021

 Jack Antcliff

Valentine Sports Photography

Match of the Round

Maitland FC 5-0 Mid Coast FC

A trip to Cooks Square Park is quickly becoming a nightmare for visiting sides, with Maitland confirming its domination at the venue with another win, this time against Mid Coast.

It was an all-hands-on deck approach by the home side with five players adding their name to the scoresheet as the home side cruised to a 5-0 win. Coach Keelan Hamilton called it his side’s “most complete performance” of the season.

“We were very professional in what we did. I was really happy with how we just stuck with our process and we were very consistent with our application,” he said.

Maitland threatened without result in the first half with the match locked at 0-0 at half-time. The second half saw the Magpies attack step up another gear.

Madison Gallegos, Mercedes McNabb, Bronte Peel, Ainsley Childs and Kaitlin Radstaak ensuring three points were secured for the home side.

“We’d been well on top in the first half. We’d had some chances that we probably didn’t deliver on,” Hamilton said.

“The half-time message was we just have to keep sticking to the process. Keep believing in that process and just increase our quantitative action a little bit more.”

Maitland’s attention now turns to the competition leaders Broadmeadow Magic on Friday night. The short turnaround is of little concern to the Magpies mentor.

“In the first match of the season we did lots of good things against Broadmeadow but that little lack of consistency cost us and a good side like Broadmeadow punished us,” he said.

“It is going to be about process, being consistent. We go there believing we can match them.”

Mid Coast coach Mick Grass described the performance of his side as “poor,” with plenty of soul searching to do before the weekend’s double header against Charlestown.

“Our execution was poor from the start. I thought our effort to stay in the game was pretty good,” he said.

“The effort in attack in the second half become non-existent. If we can’t execute the basic skills like we couldn’t on Sunday then it is going to be a very long season.”

The weekend ahead presents its own unique challenges with the side to face a Charlestown outfit that has found form of the back of players returning from injury. Grass was adamant the key to getting his side back to its best was to get them “focused and really enthusiastic about their football.”

“We’ve just got to go back to some basics and try to get them operating how a first grade player needs to operate,” Grass said.

Middies are seventh with four points. Eighth-placed New Lambton are yet to claim a point.

“We were tipped at the start of the year to be wooden spooners. We hadn’t been playing like that up until Sunday and I made it pretty clear to the girls after the game that was where we are heading if that’s what we dish up.”

Charlestown Azzurri 2-0 New Lambton FC

The debut of mid-season signing Jenna Kingsley was not enough to inspire New Lambton to a win over Charlestown on Friday., with the visiting Azzurri 2-0 winners over the Eagles at Alder Park.

Despite the result, Charlestown coach Niko Papaspiropoulos noted his side was far from at its best with the return of more players in coming weeks to further aid the former Merewether outfit.

“It wasn’t as comfortable as I would have liked. We kept them in the game for longer than we should have,” Papaspiropoulos said.

“We managed to knock the ball around and control the possession a lot better. The biggest issue was just decision making and a little bit of ruthlessness in the final third.”

Olivia Tannock scored her first goal of 2021, while the recently returned Lori Depczynski added another goal to her tally. Depczynski has proved a vital cog for Azzurri having returned from injury in recent weeks.

“I thought our performance, especially in the first half when we were fresh was good and we were well in control of the game,” Papaspiropoulos said.

Fitness will prove crucial for Charlestown if they are to continue their winning form. Azzurri face Mid Coast FC at Lisle Carr Oval on Saturday before they again meet Middies on Sunday. The first match is a catch-up game after their round one fixture was postponed.

“We should hopefully have a couple more girls back this week which will help us with the double header. We definitely need a few more boots and legs when you have back-to-back games,” Papaspiropoulos said.

Improvement in the final third remains a key focus for Azzurri, with the need to convert more attacking chances into goals critical to three points at the weekend.

“We need to keep working on our shape, especially in the middle of the park in terms of how we set up and then in transition moments from attack to defence and vice versa.”

Despite the loss, New Lambton coach Maddy Searl was overall impressed with her side’s improvement in recent weeks.

“The performance was a much more positive one. To see the girls not give in and to come out in the second half the better team is really encouraging,” she said.

“We need to take the positivity from the second half performance and run with it.

“Macy Anthony was a key player for us and really stepped up. Working on combinations with herself, Jenna and Adriana Jones will be a big focus for us.”

New Lambton are away to Adamstown in round eight.

Broadmeadow Magic 2-2 Warners Bay FC

The margin at the top of the Herald Women’s Premier League table has narrowed after Warners Bay earned a draw against top of the table Broadmeadow Magic.

The result means Newcastle Olympic are now within striking distance of the top, two points behind Magic who, up until Friday night, were yet to drop a point in 2021.

“Our focus this week will be working on maintaining possession and making better choices with the ball. Generally, we’re good but sometimes we just turn it over too easily,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.

Nadja Squires led the way for the home side with two goals, including a penalty, while Curley described the performance of Kalista Hunter as “absolutely outstanding.”

“What impressed me was the attitude of the girls,” he said.

“We had two girls get concussed who had to come off, Kobie hurt her ankle, Lucy hurt her back and they also had to come off.

“We had to play the last five minutes with 10 players and we were still pushing for the win.”

The final third proved the biggest challenge for the women in red, with Warners Bay goalkeeper Ally Boertje ensuring goal scoring proved difficult.

“I thought we were pretty good. We created a lot of chances and just didn’t capitalize. Finishing was our issue,” Curley said.

“We created enough chances to win the game but we just didn’t finish.”

Warners Bay remain third on the table following Friday night’s draw, with the Panthers now six points clear of Adamstown. Newcastle Olympic, who they meet next weekend in round eight, are five points clear of the Panthers.

Tara Pender was a standout for the visitors with two goals, while the spirited intensity from the opening whistle proved pleasing for coach Craig Atkins.

“We got off to a flying start with an early goal there. The girls got themselves well and truly in the battle and I thought we were very unlucky not to win it in the end,” he said.

Pender’s brace made it three goals in two weeks for the former W-League player, while defensively the Panthers block did well to nullify Magic’s attack.

“Ally made some great saves there in the first half and denied them. We showed really great character and that fight was really amazing when we were defending at their end,” Atkins said.

Next week’s match against Olympic proves another challenge for the Panthers, with Atkin’s approach simply to be the best, Warners Bay need to beat the best.

“The girls have kept setting the bar for themselves. Our training has been really intense and there’s just a really good vibe amongst the girls so just keep that rolling and keep working on those little things,” Atkins said.

“Let’s just hope we can start like we did against Magic. We generally start a little bit slow against Olympic. I know they are going to come out of the blocks very quickly.”

Adamstown Rosebud JFC 2-3 Newcastle Olympic

Newcastle Olympic are now just one point behind Broadmeadow Magic at the top of the Herald Women’s Premier League table after a narrow win over Adamstown Rosebud.

“We knew the game would be physical and on the day they pressed our midfield which made it difficult for us to gain momentum,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.

The visitors were forced to battle for much of the match with 10 players after Jemma House was shown two yellow cards. Keea Parrish was also sidelined after she sustained a hamstring injury.

“The resilience of players after going to 10 players for a large portion of the game was impressive,” Attwill said.

“No one on that field would have been satisfied with a draw and they took it upon themself to ensure we walked away with three points.”

Georgia Amess bagged a brace for Olympic, while Elise Mamanu-Gray, who joined the side in recent weeks, scored her first goal of the campaign.

“It was always going to be a challenging game as we had five first graders out of the starting line-up,” Attwill said.

“As a coach you attempt to prepare the team each session but ultimately it’s up to each player to execute this on game day. This was a battle we weren’t prepared to lose and credit to all players, they took that on board and fought all game.”

The Buds will be hoping for more luck next weekend when they face New Lambton at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility. Olympic are away to Warners Bay.

Kiarra Lewis and Leia Puxty led the way for the Buds in attack, while it was the performance of a star on the rise which drew praise from coach Ryan Campbell.

“Molly Salvador who is 15 had her first start in first grade and got an assist and the players’ player [award] which was great to see,” he said.

The loss was Adamstown’s fourth this season, although none have come through a lack of effort.

“I was really happy with the girls overall,” Campbell said.

“We lack a bit of composure to go on and win games at this stage but the girls did all the things I asked of them in the match.

“Our intensity and defensive pressure were very good and helped us ensure we were always in the game.”

Saturday night’s result saw the Buds drop out of the top four, with Maitland’s win over Mid Coast ensuring the Magpies leapfrogged Adamstown into fourth spot.

“This week we will be working on ensuring we can create better chances in moments of the game where we are on top,” Campbell said.

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