Competitions

Herald Women’s Premier League Round 9 Review

May 31st, 2021

 Jack Antcliff

Valentine Sports Photography


Match of the Round

Newcastle Olympic 1-0 Broadmeadow Magic

A Jemma House penalty saw Newcastle Olympic move to the top of the Herald Women’s Premier League table after a nail-biting 1-0 win over Broadmeadow Magic on Sunday.

“We had a pretty simple game plan which was not to complicate things and just go out there and do the simple things,” Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill said.

“If we could execute passes to feet, just playing our normal game, then we could be successful.

“Defensively I though the girls did really well. [Broadmeadow] put pressure on us and they make people make mistakes. Credit to the players they just stayed calm.”

Broadmeadow goalkeeper Alison Logue did everything bar score a goal to keep Magic in the derby as she made a number of important saves.

At the other end, Emily Frost, Danielle Nicol and goalkeeper Nat Wiseman proved stoic in defence for the home side. Frost heads to Melbourne in less than a month, with Attwill now looking to her younger generation to fill the void left by the experienced defender.

In attack, Sophie McDonald proved she was well and truly at home in the top grade.

“She played a really good game in reserves and scored a couple of cracking goals, so I thought why not give her a chance,” Attwill said.

“We didn’t have a fresh reserve today. We are kind of battling against things but we were still able to win the game.”

It was not all good news for the victorious Olympic with Laura Hall and Georgia Little brought from the field with injury. Scans will reveal the extent of both injuries, with the pair unlikely to feature against bottom-of-the-table New Lambton next weekend.

Magic turn their attention to Charlestown Azzurri, with coach Jake Curley reflecting on Sunday’s loss as a case of “the team that took their chances won.”

“The second half we were chasing so we changed our shape a little, so we were a little bit open. We wanted to win the game,” he said.

Star goalkeeper Logue nearly did not make kick-off thanks to work commitments, with the former Merewether keeper crucial to Magic’s final line of defence. Logue saved at least six dangerous attacking raids from Olympic.

“This is why we signed her. She kept us in the game,” Curley said.

Chelsea Lucas was unavailable for selection, while Lucy Kell is expected to return next weekend. Erin Wilson should return the following week.


Maitland FC 3-1 Charlestown Azzurri

Maitland have drawn level with Charlestown Azzurri on the Herald Women’s Premier League table after the Magpies scored a 3-1 win on Saturday.

Headlined by goals to Sophie Stapleford and Kaitlin Radstaak, Maitland had to work for the result having been forced to come from behind after Lori Depczynski gave the visitors a 1-0 advantage.

“I thought the first half was just a tight contest and a bit of an arm wrestle and we made an error for the goal,” Magpies coach Keelan Hamilton said.

“I just said to them at half-time that the game hasn’t been lost. You’re not behind because the other team is better than you.

“If they want to win the match they need to play with a little more purpose and a little smarter and lift their intensity in all phases and they really did that.”

Madison Gallegos proved crucial for Maitland with the side’s second goal, while also drawing strong praise for her continued effort in attack. Gallegos has three goals to her name this season.

“It is nice that we have goals coming from all avenues. We had our two leading scorers out in Bronte Peel and Mercedes Mcnabb so without our two leading goal scorers to go and come back from 1-0 down was pleasing.”

Charlestown are now sixth on the table, still eight points clear of seventh-placed Mid Coast.

“It was a bit disappointing. I thought we did quite well in the first half. We restricted Maitland to no real chances and managed to take the lead,” Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos said.

“The second half unfortunately we conceded two cheap goals off corners early and then they scored a decent goal later on.”

Match fitness is proving ultra-critical nine rounds into the competition with a number of sides struck down by heavy injury tolls. Papaspiropoulos believes his side’s level of fitness has contributed to its concession of goals.

“I guess it is a little bit of mental lapses at times and match fitness at times. It is the little things that build up in a game,” he said.

“We just need to keep working on the simple things, when in possession making sure we don’t turn over the ball cheaply, trying to be a little bit sharper and quicker and be a little more focused through the whole game.”

Despite not heading home with three points, Papaspiropoulos noted the strong performance of the Azzurri backline, with specific focus on Nicki Jones and Carolina Cacic.

“It was a good sign to see that we were quite tight in defence. Unfortunately, we didn’t have our best game going forward especially in the second half,” Papaspiropoulos said.

Azzurri face Broadmeadow Magic next week while Maitland travel to the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility to tackle Adamstown Rosebud.


New Lambton FC 1-5 Warners Bay FC

Warners Bay bounced back from a disappointing fortnight with a convincing win over New Lambton at Arthur Edden Oval on Sunday.

It was not all smooth sailing for the visitors who held a 1-0 lead at the break after a first half performance coach Craig Atkins described as “scrappy.”

“It definitely wasn’t our best performance and we had to work hard. We had a number of chances there in the first half but generally it was a really patchy performance,” Atkins said.

“We knew that we just had to take our chances and put them away. They had one of their players sent off in the second half which helped us. We converted the penalty and went on with the game.”

Tara Pender missed the game through injury, while Elodie Dagg starred for the visitors with four goals, three of which came in the second half.

“You just watch her and she is about three plays in front of everyone else. Her ability to play a ball and have that expectation that someone is going to run onto it or be there in that space is just so good to watch,” Atkins said.

The Panthers’ final goal came at the hands of 15-year-old Mia Cook, the younger sister of first grade regulars Georgia and Elly Cook.

“We had a corner and she had come on for the last 10 minutes. Two minutes in and she scored a header,” Atkins said.

The Panthers face Mid Coast at home next, while New Lambton head across town to Darling Street Oval to take on top-of-the-table Newcastle Olympic.

“Sometimes you just have to forget some performances. We will look at the video and check it all out,” Atkins said.

“The girls know they need to be 1000 times better than that.”

New Lambton remain winless in 2021, though coach Maddy Searl noted the side’s performance as being “a much better one for us,” while raising confusion over the sendoff of Brooke Miller.

“We were right in the game at 1-1 until Brooke Miller got sent off,” Searl said.

“The girls were disappointed and angry which was good to see.”

Warners Bay capitalised on the Eagles’ misfortune, running away with the game in the second half.

“Credit to Warners Bay, they took their chances once we were down a player,” Searl said.


Mid Coast FC 0-3 Adamstown Rosebud JFC

A three-goal win over Mid Coast has returned Adamstown into the top-four on the Herald Women’s Premier League table.

Leia Puxty bagged a brace for the visitors, while Jenna Doyle scored in her first game in the top league this season. Doyle has been a regular at Adamstown Oval in recent years, having featured in first grade in both 2019 and 2020.

Rosebud has three wins, a draw and four losses to start their 2021 campaign.

If you had to describe Mid Coast’s season so far, the best word may be ‘injured’.

The Mick Grass-coached side has a casualty ward almost half the size of its senior squad with just fielding two starting sides each week a challenge.

Goalkeeper Xanthe Parsons become the latest to join that list on Sunday after she sustained an ankle injury. Middies’ reserve grade keeper was also injured in her respective fixture with the side forced to use a field player in goals.

Chelsea Hall’s season may well be over with scans to confirm the extent of her ACL injury, while in a glimmer of good news, Josie May could return as early as next week.

“I just have to assess what numbers we have got and how we are going to get teams on the park next weekend,” Grass said.

Down 2-0 at half-time, Middies showed signs of strength in the second half, with the performance of 14-year-old Jorja Holborow drawing praise from Grass. The coach left to lament lapses in defense.

“We are just having trouble getting into games early on. We struggle getting onto the ball cleanly in the early stages of games,” he said.

“Going deeper into the games we tend to get better and we compete a lot better and can take something out of there. We’ve got to make sure we start the games better.

“If we’re not going to be in it in the early stages of games we need to be a lot more focused defensively. If we just switch off in moments then we will concede goals.”

Mid Coast face another tough challenge next Sunday when they meet Warners Bay at John Street Oval while Adamstown host Maitland in the Match of the Round.

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