BY RENEE VALENTINE
Match of the Round
Merewether v Adamstown
Sunday 2pm at Myamblah Oval
Thornton v Wallsend
Sunday 2pm at Thornton Park
Valentine 4 (Cassidy Davis, Toria Campbell, Nadja Squires pen, Maddy Searl) defeated Warners Bay 2 (Sass Seaborn, Nicole Carter) at John St Oval yesterday
Valentine Phoenix consolidated third place on the league ladder with a 4-2 victory over Warners Bay at John St Oval yesterday.
The win moved Phoenix within six points of joint competition leaders Merewether and Adamstown and nine points clear of nearest rivals South Wallsend. Phoenix play Wallsend in a rescheduled fixture at Wallsend Oval on Wednesday night.
Phoenix played a dominant passing game despite the slippery conditions but Warners Bay caused some trouble with their pace on the counter-attack at times and both had plenty of chances on goal.
Valentine took an early lead yesterday, scoring two goals through Cassidy Davis and Toria Campbell in the opening 15 minutes of their match.
Warners Bay had a chance to get on the score sheet around the 35-minute mark with a free kick on the edge of the box but Taylah Smith’s shot sailed just wide of the goals.
But the hosts closed the gap to one goal just shy of half-time when an unmarked Sass Seaborn slotted the ball past visiting goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon from close range.
Valentine regained a two-goal advantage on the 65-minute mark when Nadja Squires scored from the spot but Nicole Carter headed home off a corner five minutes later to move Warners Bay back within a goal.
Maddy Searl sealed the three points with a goal from outside the 18-yard box with 15 minutes left in the match but Warners Bay showed tenacity right until the final whistle.
Warners Bay coach Jason Daniluck was not disappointed with how his side fared and felt they were showing improvement.
“They smashed us [6-2] last time we played so it was a good return match,” Daniluck said.
“We’re in a better position now. I think the Thornton game [a 5-1 loss in Round 8] was our lowest ebb and I think since then we’ve come back pretty well.”
Warners Bay were missing regular players Maddy Smith and Mel Porter. New signing Lauren Rapley had her first outing at the back for Warners Bay yesterday and looked a handy acquisition.
Valentine women’s football manager Terry Campbell said it was pleasing to see Phoenix starting to “get a bit of a roll on now”.
Warners Bay back up against South Wallsend at Walker Fields on Wednesday night.
Mid North Coast 4 (Lauren Avery pen, Niki Bestwick 2, Hayley Burn) defeated South Wallsend 0 at Walker Fields yesterday
Mid North Coast reignited their semi-finals hopes with a convincing 4-0 win over South Wallsend yesterday.
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker has repeatedly rued his side’s failure to finish this season but was relieved to watch his charges turn in a strong 90-minute effort and hammer four goals past the hosts.
The win elevated Mid North Coast to eight points and on level terms with Warners Bay. Just two points separate South Wallsend (10 points), Wallsend (9), Thornton (9) and Warners Bay and Mid North Coast.
“I think his girls must have had in the backs of their minds that they were going to have the game off because they just didn’t turn up,” Baker said.
“But we played a lovely passing game and we finally finished.”
Baker was also pleased that “everyone played their role”.
“I have been saying all season that across the park I need everyone to put in for the whole 90 minutes and today they did that,” Baker said.
South Wallsend coach Marc Hingston described his side’s performance as “pathetic” and the worst he has seen this year.
But Hingston gave full credit to Mid North Coast, who he said played stylish football despite the wet conditions.
“Our attitude in the warm-up was like they didn’t want to be there,” Hingston said.
“Pathetic is the best way to describe the performance.
“We have to see if we can redeem ourselves on Wednesday night [against Warners Bay] now.”
Mid North Coast took a 1-0 lead early after Lauren Avery scored from the penalty spot then Niki Bestwick extended the lead to 2-0 around the 20-minute mark.
Bestwick put the visitors up 3-0 early in the second half with a sweetly struck left-footed drive from just inside the 18-yard box.
Substitute Hayley Burn scored the fourth with about 20 minutes left on clock, taking the ball with her back to goal before turning and scoring past South Wallsend goalkeeper Rebekah Saunders.
Baker was also full of praise for South Wallsend and the officials who worked hard to get the game to go ahead in wet conditions yesterday.