Herald WPL Round 13 Review

June 12th, 2019




Match of the Round

Adamstown Rosebuds 0 def. by Thornton Redbacks 1 (Sophie Milton)

Sunday 9 June, 2.30pm, Adamstown No.1 Oval

Adamstown and Thornton locked horns at No.1 Oval on Sunday afternoon for the Women’s Premier League match of the round, and for 92 minutes both sides were deadlocked at nil-all.

Not that there hadn’t been any drama in the match. Twice young Redbacks striker Ainsley Childs stepped up to the spot for a penalty chance, and twice Buds ‘keeper Olivia Sneddon denied her. One even required a push onto the post to get it clear, with Sneddon’s heroic efforts keeping the home team level with the visitors.

Although the penalties were the clearest cut chances of the contest, both Thornton and Adamstown had their times rattling the crossbars too. In fact, Adamstown coach Paul Devitis said after the match he thought it could have been just as fair for the game to be “4-all at half time” considering how much each side peppered the other’s goals.

In the end, there was only one thing that split the two sides. As the seconds drained away, Sophie Milton pounced on a free-kick lofted into Adamstown’s box, chipping it into the top right corner. It was a “heartbreaker” for the Buds, but absolute joy for the travelling squad.

“I’m so, so happy for the girls, they just kept pushing and turning up for each other, and in the end, they got the result. Adamstown were probably gutted, but I’m looking forward to getting into the shed and singing the song loud,” Thornton coach Alan Primmer said.

“I think to get the three points shows where we’re at as well, we just kept going, and going, and after creating so many chances it was great to close it out.”

Although it was leader Milton that eventually notched the winner, Primmer said he had “nothing but praise” for young striker Childs, despite her missing both the penalty opportunities for Thornton.

“I heard someone say “What happens if we get another one [a penalty],” and I said that it would be her regardless. After missing she didn’t go stand over on the sideline, she’s just 15 years old but she kept her head and stayed in the battle,” Primmer said. “That’s fantastic, yes she’d missed the penalties, but she brought everything regardless.”

Primmer said he would have been gutted, but on the other side of the dugout Adamstown boss Devitis, and all the home supporters had to watch Milton strip away a result from them on Sunday afternoon. It was a “very, very hard loss to take,” Devitis said.

“This was a game we’d pinpointed as one that we wanted to win considering the standings, so that makes it all the harder,” he told Northern NSW Football. “Last kick of the game too, so hard to watch after all the girls had done in the game up to that point.

“Makes it feel a little worse because we could have easily got one, and should have got three [points]. On another day we could have been up a few at half time, so to know that we could have led the game, and got three points, makes it hurt even more. Tough pill to swallow.”

Rewatch the battle at Adamstown No.1 Oval courtesy of BarTV Sports on YouTube.


Warners Bay 3 (Jenna Kingsley 2, Cassidy Davis) def. Merewether United 2 (Leah Guiffre, Ellie Withers)

Sunday 9 June, 2.30pm, John Street Oval

After leading for most of the match, Warners Bay were given a late scare as they closed out a 3-2 victory over Merewether at John Street Oval.

The Panthers took a 1-nil lead into the sheds thanks to captain Cassidy Davis, before Jenna Kingsley added two in the second half to make sure Warners Bay kept the lead against their table rivals. United were able to get one back in the mix late, before their second in the dying minutes of the match gave both sides a grandstand finish in Round 13.

In the end, “time was good for us,” Davis said after the one-goal victory. With Leah Guiffre and Ellie Withers both scoring for the defending champions in the second half, Davis said it was about “keeping nerves” as the final whistle closed in for the home side.

“We had to play smart, in the end, and making sure we saw the lead out [after they got a second],” Davis said. “The two losses have hurt us recently, and we lost to them last time out, so to get over both those things and get the result against a very tough team was pleasing for us, especially considering the ending.

“It was a good team performance for us, and we worked super hard for each other. That’s what made the difference today. We’re all pretty happy, and we’ve got a lot of confidence from the game that we can take going forward.”

Warners Bay copped a major blow as Nadja Squires was unable to see out out the match due to a pre-game foot problem. After playing half a match, she was hooked to keep the injury managed.

“If we want to keep up our performances it’s going to be a lot about managing players now,” Davis said. “That, and building on our recent performances. There are still things we need to work on and manage with players out, so we’ll focus on that going forward.”


Wallsend 4 (Laura Hall 2, Georgia Little, Keea Parrish) def. Football Mid North Coast 2 (Layni Fens, Sam Bestwick)

Sunday 9 June, 2.30pm, The Gardens

Wallsend have returned to the Women’s Premier League winner’s circle after a month away, claiming a 4-2 win over Football Mid North Coast at The Gardens on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Devils’ first-half haul clinched the victory, in the end, after converting three of their chances and keeping Mid North Coast out of the back of the net. The second half was a closer affair, however, as the northern side won the 45-minute battle 2-1 with Layni Fens and Sam Bestwick both finding their way into the match.

In the end, it was Laura Hall’s double, as well as Georgia Little and Keea Parrish’s additions to Wallsend’s pile, that got the job done for Brad Jones’ outfit. The much-needed win now puts the Devils back on the right track midway through the season and moves them back just six points behind Merewether in fourth.

After four straight losses to the top four sides, Jones revealed his squad issued the summons for a midweek team meeting. The team focused on “showing desire, and confirming execution,” Jones revealed. It paid off against Middies.

“I was really pleased with how the girls answered the meeting call, they said that we needed to get this result this weekend and show that desire and the girls came out and did a really good job of all of that,” Jones said. “Middies had a lot more chances in the second half after we went 3-nil up, but overall it was a nice performance for us and an important one.”

Jones said he was “over the moon” with how his team kept their heads up after their 0-4 month and pointed to Red Devils trio Danielle Nicol, Jess Evans, and Sophie O’Brien as three “outstanding” keys to the 4-2 win.

“They were just amazing, their determination was first class in the game and that’s what I wanted to see. They really led us to that result that we have needed,” he said.

“All in all, the responses from all my girls after the last few weeks was brilliant. I’m over the moon with how they all played, we wanted to execute simple football and they did a really good job of that. These are what we discussed as a group, and they’ve responded perfectly.”


South Wallsend 1 (Kirstyn Antoni) drew. New Lambton 1 (Tara Andrews)

Sunday 9 June, 2.30pm, Walker Fields

It may have taken nearly half a century of games in this year’s Women’s Premier League season, but the competition has finally seen a draw as South Wallsend became the first club to deny New Lambton all three points in a fixture in 2019.

The Wolves came from behind after a first-half Tara Andrews goal put the Eagles into the lead at Walker Fields. After 65 scoreless minutes, a foul on Ash Brodigan just outside the box gave South Wallsend a chance from the set piece.

Kirstyn Antoni stepped up to the ball and slotted it home with a beautiful kick to the top right corner. It levelled the scores and gave the Wolves a sniff at taking the lead over their premiership rivals. The chance nearly came, too, when Imogene Tomasone was forced to make a save right in front of her goalmouth.

After multiple chances, and a series of Tomasone chances, the top of the table clash finished at one goal apiece, with shared points for the first time in New Lambton’s season. Despite not claiming all three, Wolves coach Cas Wright said she was “very happy” to keep the leaders to a draw at Walker Fields.

“Taking points off the top team is definitely always a positive, I don’t think we can look at it is anything but that, even if we had like fifteen shots on today, and they had one,” she said.

“We took it to them, and we’ve been one of the first teams to really do that, so now we’ll regroup after coming out with the points. It was unfortunate we couldn’t get over the line, in the end, but can’t be too disappointed with the result overall.”

After Andrews clinched the Eagles’ first goal with her almost-trademark turn and shoot play, Wright said her defenders knuckled down, especially defensive players Gabrielle Brodie, Gemma Harrison, Kalista Hunter, and Alice Munro.

“After [Cody] Ferguson went down, those four really stepped up for us and were instrumental in keeping them out and shut down,” Wright said. “There was only one real opportunity where Tara was able to shoot, and once all that happened our defence said “Nup, we’re not having that,” and made sure she couldn’t do it again.”

While the Eagles have collected less than three points for the first time this season, coach Keelan Hamilton said he was “very, very happy” to score a point against a “tough team.”

“Just based on where we both are on the table, a draw is a good result for us for sure,” Hamilton said. “Walker Field is a really tough place to go and play, and we’re really happy to get a result after heading out there. It keeps us in a strong position in the competition.

“We were a little disappointed, of course, we felt like we didn’t play as well as we can, but a draw is a fair result considering the chances each side had in the match. South Wallsend had a big amount of territorial advantage, but their chances never felt too major for us to handle. A point is a good result for us from the game, I definitely think that.”

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