Match of the Round
Wallsend 1 (Laura Hall) def. by South Wallsend 3 (Ash Brodigan 2, Maryjane Mason)
Sunday 12 May, 2.30pm, The Gardens
It was a “tale of two halves” at The Gardens according to Wallsend coach Brad Jones, as his side tumbled from a 1-nil lead to a 3-1 defeat against arch-rivals South Wallsend in the BarTV-televised match of the round.
The home side started off strongly against their traditional local rivals, taking the lead through Laura Hall 25 minutes into the game as the Red Devils’ forward slotted home a free-bouncing ball. Wolves goalkeeper Jess Sanderson was caught in the space of the 18-yard box after a clearance deflected back towards her own goal, and Hall was on hand to slam it home.
Wallsend kept control for much of the first half through Hall’s effort. It wasn’t until Gabby Deacon went down for more than five minutes injured, and was eventually pulled from the game and sent to the hospital, that the game began to teeter the other way.
A tap-in for Maryjane Mason between the extended stoppage and the half-time whistle on the 46th minute sent the Wallsend rivals into the sheds locked at one goal each. It was a moment in the match that took the wind out of Wallsend’s sails and may have decided the clash.
“We completely controlled the first half, had a few shots hit the post, then after the injury stoppage, we conceded right before half time,” Jones said.
“I didn’t feel like we deserved to go into the sheds at 1-1, but we’d let our heads get away from us while we were just waiting on the pitch.”
Ashlee Brodigan – who herself was taken from the field late with a concussion concern – had all the answers in the second half. A strong five minute period from South Wallsend’s leading striker switched the advantage, as she scored twice between the 51st and 54th minute to put the contest back into Southy’s hands.
Despite the eventual two-goal defeat, Jones believes on reflection there were positives to take from a “disappointing end” to their first-half control.
“We’re matching these teams, and we really took it to South Wallsend, and it’s just those key moments that win or lose us the match that we’re not winning at the moment,” he said.
“The whole team is showing what they have in a football sense, but we’re just not getting there with that game sense. We have fifty/fifty decisions go against us, and that’s the difference because we can’t keep our momentum when we don’t get in the mix for those.”
Victorious Wolves boss Cas Wright has now seen her side win four straight, and move just three points behind Warners Bay. There was a moment in the first half, Wright admitted, that she thought the streak may end.
“We were a bit rattled when they came out pretty hard in the first half, and that’s our weakest half for sure, so we tried to make some changes and it didn’t work,” she said.
“We regrouped at half time and resettled, however, and the girls went back out with better play, better possession, and I even felt like Brodigan could have got a third on the day too.
“It was a really good sign that when we had those injuries [Deacon, Brodigan, and Maddie Thornton] that we had a few reserve graders come on and play really well in their places.
“In particular Sam [Lazrovski] came on and played nearly two full games on Sunday, so I’m pretty stoked with her massive efforts. These injuries put a dent in our team, but it is encouraging to see that we have the depth to deal with any problems this year.”
Adamstown Rosebuds 0 def. by New Lambton 7 (Tara Andrews 4, Lauren Allan 2, Sophie Jones)
Sunday 12 May, 2.30pm, Adamstown No.2 Oval
Both coaches were in agreement after New Lambton’s 7-0 victory over the Rosebuds – Eagles striker Tara Andrews’ “touch of class” was the game-breaking factor at Adamstown No.2 Oval on Sunday afternoon.
“Tara was influential on her return, she had some really good touches and even laid a really good one out for Lauren [Allan],” New Lambton coach Keelan Hamilton said after his side’s ninth win in a row.
“She had a good day, and when she does that everyone around her is better too. We were great across the park, but Tara’s touch of class always helps.”
After two games away from the Herald Women’s Premier League with a mid-season break, Andrews could have been forgiven for having a quiet game, as she slotted four home against Adamstown. Lauren Allan added two of her own alongside Andrews, while Sophie Jones rounded off the seven-goal win.
“She’s so influential to the outcome of any game, and it’s a strange feeling for us because we felt right in it, and were in control of long periods of the match, but then Tara put on a clinic in scoring,” Adamstown Coach Paul Devitis said after his side’s loss.
“In the end, only the scoreline really felt lopsided I feel. It was a very weird feeling to lose by such a big score, but to come away feeling that we matched them playing football.
“It was frustrating too, because on another day without Tara taking control of the game herself it could have been a battle and finished 2-all or something close like that.”
While Hamilton was happy with Andrews’ four-goal, five-star return to his side, he said he was most pleased with the “very professional job” the girls delivered at No.2 Oval.
“Apart from one scramble off a corner in the first half where we nearly conceded we felt very professional and comfortable, and on a tough and poor pitch we did our jobs well,” he said.
“It’s nice to get the win, and it’s one of those games on a dodgy pitch against a motivated team that needs a result where things can get away from you, so we asked the girls to show the right amount of desire and focus to be a successful team.
“They answered in kind, and that gives us complete confidence going forward that we can keep this run going.”
Warners Bay 6 (Cassidy Davis 2, Jenna Kingsley 2, Tara Pender, Nadja Squires) def. Thornton Redbacks 1 (Ainsley Childs)
Sunday 12 May, 2.30pm, John Street Oval
The Redbacks have continued their struggles with “small mistakes” at John Street Oval, falling to a 6-1 defeat at the hands of second-placed Warners Bay on Sunday afternoon.
It’s beginning to feel like the same run-out every week, Thornton coach Alan Primmer said, but the “commitment and effort” of the girls means there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel in the tough season.
“We always knew it was going to be a hard, tough season coming back, and you cannot doubt the commitment and effort of the girls every game,” he said.
“We’ve set a path forward on how to improve, and it’s just about the girls taking to that now.
“In the game against Warners Bay we gifted them three of their first four goals off poor clearances and side passes that got intercepted, and it’s disappointing to see us concede like that because they’re things we just simply should not be doing.
“I’ve sat the girls down now though, and we had a bit of a chin-wag about it all, and the theme was mainly just keeping the attitude from gameday and training the same so we can iron out any kinks. If we can get those problems out, we can fix the results moving forward.”
While the Redbacks are continuing on the road of improvement, this weekend Warners Bay pounced on their backline mistakes and took the 6-1 win to stay just three points clear of a rampaging South Wallsend outfit.
Jenna Kingsley and Cassidy Davis both combined for four goals between them to put the Panthers in the lead, while goalscoring regulars Tara Pender and Nadja Squires also notched one apiece for the six-goal haul.
Thornton’s Ainsley Childs scored the Redbacks’ lone effort of the match, but it was an unstoppable shot from thirty yards out that Davis admitted was “just simply unavoidable.”
“We’ve been working on keeping our clean sheets, but Thornton scored a really decent goal so we’re not too worried about that this week, it was a great finish from 30 yards out,” she said.
“For us, it was a good performance, and we got some good team goals so that’s what we’re taking out of the match. We did exactly what we’ve been looking to do.
“There are three tough games for us on the horizon, so we had a lot of preparations for those. That said, we didn’t have any expectation of three points against Thornton because of how well they’ve improved in 2019, and it was the tough game we expected.
“It’s good that we’ve come out the other side with three points against them because we need to be winning in the lead-up to these three games ahead of us. We’re performing well, and winning, and that’s what we needed for this next run of games.”
Merewether United 8 (Rhali Dobson 3, Leah Giuffre 3, Nicki Jones, Alison Logue) def. Football Mid North Coast 0
Sunday 12 May, 2.30pm, Myamblah Oval
Merewether United were back to their offensive best on Sunday afternoon, as they knocked eight past a travelling Football Mid North Coast (FMNC) outfit at Myamblah Oval to move into fourth place and a potential finals position.
Rhali Dobson shone in the home match, collecting a hat-trick for the Llamas. She was matched in her goalscoring efforts by midfielder Leah Guiffre, while Nicki Jones and goalkeeper Alison Logue both added one more to round out the 8-0 victory.
After weeks of being adrift in fifth place, and struggling to find the back of the net, United seem to have clicked once more. It puts a smile on coach Cass Koppen’s face, who said she was pleased to see both attack and defence come together in a “very dominant display.”
“We needed to reproduce our strength from last week and string decent performances together, and we’ve done that,” she said.
“The team has been struggling to score goals, and struggling to keep clean sheets, and we got both of those this weekend so that was really important for us as we continue forward.
“It was also really good to only have one change across the park after so many forced changes this season, getting players out there for 90 minutes across the park and getting that consistency is a real confidence booster.”
As Merewether celebrated their pile of goals at home, Mick Grass was left looking to reassessments after the loss. While it’s not exactly back to the drawing board for FMNC, something has to give in the coming weeks, the away coach said.
“We conceded a few goals early that we could have avoided, their first and second goals may not have happened and that hurt us,” he said.
“We knew Merewether are really good, and that they can hurt us if we let our guard down. That’s a problem we’ve had in the last few weeks, so now we just have to focus on that, reassess, and prepare for the next one.
“It’s disappointing to see so many get past us, but that said the girls are putting in 100 per cent on the pitch and throughout the whole game, they’re a hardworking group, and it’s just that class Merewether had that really changed the game.
“The team and I have spoken about this over the last few weeks, but if we keep focus we’ll start to see improved results.”