Match of the Round
Thornton Redbacks 3 (Kirsty Powers 2, Ainsley Childs) def. Football Mid North Coast 0
Sunday 19 May, 2.30pm, Thornton Park
For the first time in 2019, the Thornton Redbacks have put competitive points on the Herald Women’s Premier League (WPL) table. For the home side, their 3-0 win over a travelling Football Mid North Coast side (FMNC) was even sweeter, as they celebrated the departure of star player Kirstie Powers as she moves to Adelaide to pursue study opportunities.
“There were a few winning soft drinks being partaken after the game I think, we were all pretty happy,” Thornton coach Alan Primmer said after the three-goal win.
“Kirstie scoring two goals makes her last home game even sweeter, so it’s hard to say goodbye.”
Powers beat two FMNC defenders with a half volley in the first half, before cracking the ball into the net to put the Redbacks ahead. Ainsley Childs doubled the home side’s lead in the second half after converting a penalty, before Powers added her second moments from the full-time whistle to crown her home-field goodbye.
“It was everything we could have asked for in terms of results this weekend,” Primmer said.
“We had a really positive attitude from the start and after twenty minutes we’d had eight shots and nearly as many corners. Once we went up 2-0 you could see the wind go out of Middies’ sails a bit, as it has for us a few times this season.”
Thornton’s coach also pointed to on-field commander Sophie Milton, who he had issued a “call to action” for mid-week. The Redbacks star had slotted in as a defensive midfielder on Sunday afternoon and played her role perfectly according to Primmer.
“I asked Sophie ahead of the game to step up and provide that extra spark, and she was huge,” he said. “She played the ‘six’ role, and her performance allowed our five offensive-minded girls to keep pushing forward. She was so good [on Sunday].”
While it was all smiles for the Redbacks, Mick Grass said he was disappointed that “things didn’t go [his side’s] way at Thornton Park on Sunday afternoon.
“It was a tough day at the office for us, in the first half the effort wasn’t really there and we were outplayed, then once we got back into it in the second half we had the momentum taken away from us,” he said.
“The stop-start nature of the game for whatever reason didn’t allow us to get into the rhythm of our ascendancy and that meant we just couldn’t score.
“That said, it was a positive for me that the girls came together in the second half, I had challenged them at half time to give more effort and they came out and gave it in spades.
“The effort they did give should have been enough to get a result in the end, but we unfortunately just can’t control everything that happens in a game.”
Adamstown Rosebuds 0 def. by Merewether United 6 (Rhali Dobson 4, Tamara Nash, Jamee Ellis)
Sunday 19 May, 2.30pm, Adamstown No.1 Oval
Merewether swept aside local rivals Adamstown 6-nil at No.1 Oval, with Rhali Dobson continuing her shining form with four goals against the Rosebuds on Sunday afternoon.
The Round 11 clash had all eyes on it after Adamstown nearly knocked over the defending champions in a cagey 3-2 battle at Myamblah Oval earlier this year. After United took control of the game, it was clear Adamstown were facing a different beast than their tight conflict seven rounds ago.
“We’ve really progressed, the girls have put their hands up after that loss to New Lambton and shown they want to be there, and want to be one of the top teams in the competition,” Cass Koppen said of her outfit’s renewed form.
“On and off the field everyone has lifted in their performances and commitment, and I’m so proud of how they’ve responded.”
“Last time we played Adamstown they gave us a really good run for our money. Credit to Adamstown this time, their intensity kept up through the 90 minutes and they started to get on top of us at the end. That’s our focus now, to keep our strong control for the full match.”
The 6-nil loss is a tough pill to swallow for Adamstown coach Paul Devitis, especially against his side’s bitter rivals, but considering it comes at the end of a run of short turnarounds and tough fixtures, the Buds boss said it was one “to just move on from, and keep going.”
“We’re disappointed in ourselves, we definitely weren’t at our best and had a lot of cheap errors and giveaways,” he said.
“The girls came off the field pretty frustrated, but considering we’ve played a fair few games in the last week and a half I think it’s one where we just move on.
“To Merewether’s credit they had a really good game, and their experience really shone through. Added to that Rhali [Dobson] had a field day, and that makes it hard for us. To our normal standard, we just weren’t there, and everyone knows that. We will go again.”
Warners Bay 1 (Jenna Kingsley) def. by South Wallsend 2 (Maryjane Mason, Ashlee Brodigan)
Sunday 19 May, 2.30pm, John Street Oval
South Wallsend edged out a second-half comeback against fellow second-placed contenders at John Street Oval this round, moving level with the Panthers after their narrow 2-1 win which was decided in the second half.
Warners Bay were the first to score in the battle for second, with Jenna Kingsley – who now sits just a single goal behind the top spot Tara Andrews (New Lambton) in the goalscoring battle – opening the Panthers’ account in front of their home fans.
Maryjane Mason and Ashlee Brodigan, who has scored 15 goals already in 2019, both netted in the second half to cancel out Kingsley’s efforts then put the Wolves in the lead, however. The rapid-fire double from South Wallsend’s forwards decided the game and saw the travelling side depart with three vital points tucked into their kit bag.
“We had our usual slow first half, but at half time we regrouped, changed our structure and formation, and Maryjane and Ashlee both put us ahead,” Wolves boss Cas Wright said.
“We stuck to our game plan despite going down and that definitely paid off in the end. Now that we have this win it’s just a matter of cementing that top two spot, and then we just have one stop left – New Lambton.”
Warners Bay may still be in second place on goal difference, but after the 2-1 loss, South Wallsend have the chance to take the silver-slot away from them with their game in hand. It’s a problem the side is well aware of, captain Cassidy Davis said, but for now, she said their main concern was the fact they “gave them control” in the second-vs-third battle.
“We let them get on the front foot, and come at us, and we just shouldn’t have been doing that,” Davis said.
“We didn’t play to what we can, and our passing game wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been in that game.
“First half we were on top I felt, and then we just fell apart and it hurt us. A lot of it is mentality though, we have to push ourselves in those hard parts of the game, and we have to push each other when it comes to it. It’s something we’re already talking about and will continue to, and we’ll see what happens moving forward.”
Wallsend 1 (Georgia Little) def. by New Lambton 5 (Lauren Allan 2, Tara Andrews, Stacey Day, Georgia Amess)
Sunday 19 May, 2.45pm, The Gardens
After falling to a 1-nil deficit against Wallsend in the late game on Sunday afternoon, Keelan Hamilton revealed he served his undefeated Eagles some “home truths” to his girls that he felt hadn’t turned up with “the right amount of work ethics.”
As it turned out, it was just the song New Lambton needed to hear after Georgia Little had put the home team ahead in the opening half of the game at The Gardens. The league leaders came storming out of the sheds and, led by midfield metronome Sophie Jones’ four assists, powered to a 5-1 win to keep them six points clear in first place.
“In the first half Wallsend were always first to the ball, won all the fifty-fifty battles, and just out-worked us in the 45 minutes,” Hamilton said.
“Then, to my girls’ credit, they showed that mental swing in the second half and accepted the first half hadn’t been up to our standards.
“There was a concern from us that we had been outplayed, and even after hitting the post twice we were down. By the balance of play they had been the better side and had earned it. We knew if we didn’t lift there was every chance Wallsend would win the football match.”
Off the boot of Jones, New Lambton found five goals in the second half. It was a corner nodded home by Tara Andrews that started the win, before Lauren Allan added a brace alongside Stacey Day and Georgia Amess’ second-half goals.
The 5-1 win put the Life Without Barriers Cup into the hands of the Eagles in its inaugural year. While Hamilton and his side walked away from the game with the spoils, the travelling coach said the main praise had to go to the Red Devils for their “excellent occasion” at The Gardens on Sunday afternoon.
“The club should be thoroughly commended for the event they put on, it was excellent,” he said.
“I want to congratulate Wallsend for the day, the game was played in high spirits, the event was run really efficiently, and it all gave the football match a lot of great meaning