Match of the Round
Warners Bay 2 (Tara Pender, own goal) drew Wallsend 2 (Libby Copus-Brown, own goal)
Sunday 30 June, 2.30 pm, John Street Oval
Warners Bay and Wallsend have left John Street Oval all locked up in a score-draw that even saw both sides share the indignity of conceding an own goal in the Herald Women’s Premier League match of the round.
It was a point apiece for the two sides after 90 minutes, but after Wallsend had been leading 2-1 right up until the 85th minute, travelling coach Brad Jones said his side came away from the locked result feeling like they’d been whacked with a loss.
Each side found the back of their own net to get the game into scoring territory, with Warners Bay taking the early lead in the 26th minute before Wallsend levelled off the Panthers deflecting the ball into their own net a minute later.
The away team then rose into the ascendancy off the back of a Libby Copus-Brown free-kick three minutes later, and Wallsend was able to hold on to their 2-1 lead for most of the match. Tara Pender popped up late with the game breaker, however, clinching a draw for Warners Bay with just minutes left on the clock.
The drawn finish leaves Wallsend four points adrift from the top four after it looked like they were set to clinch three points and move to within striking distance of the defending champions Merewether.
“It’s a hard result to swallow, and it hurts to lose two points – which is how we’re looking at this game – but it’s also a good testament to what we’ve been saying about being contenders for the run-in,” Jones said.
“I’m really proud of the girls, they played brilliantly. Whilst disappointing overall, it’s good to take a point away from this fixture, and if you’d told me ahead of the match that I could take a 2-2 draw from it I would have taken that.
“I would suggest Warners Bay’s coach would be really happy with Tara Pender’s equaliser to draw the game, and I think that would be the tale of the two teams. Now we’ve shown that no one can take us for granted. We’re just getting better and better as the season rolls on.”
Craig Atkins certainly was taking the positives of a locked result at John Street Oval, after the girls failed to fire into their usual dominating selves in the first half.
“We were extremely flat in the first half after not really getting out of the blocks at all, so there’s a lot for us to work on heading into Tuesday night against Adamstown now,” Atkins said of the four-goal draw.
“Wallsend were first to every ball, and we were just sitting back flat-footed. I think it was just one of those halves of football that pops up where nothing really goes right. We were much better in the second half, but we’re still below where we need to be.
“The girls reflected pretty hard on the game, and what we got out of it, and they know that they can do better than they did in this game against Wallsend. It wasn’t where we wanted to be at all, but the girls are all fired up to bounce back now in our next game mid-week.”
New Lambton 13 (Tara Andrews 8, Georgia Amess 2, Lauren Allan, Sophie Jones, Jenna Kennedy) def. Football Mid North Coast 0
Sunday 30 June, 2.30 pm, Alder Park
New Lambton were at their “absolute best” on Sunday afternoon against eight-placed Football Mid North Coast, with Tara Andrews leading the way to a 13-0 victory at Alder Park to bring the Eagles within touching distance of the premiership.
W-League star Andrews ran rampant in front of New Lambton’s home crowd in the Round 16 meeting, scoring eight of the thirteen goals on the day. Georgia Amess added to the landslide with a brace, while Lauren Allan, Sophie Jones, and Jenna Kennedy all added three more.
New Lambton now boasts a twelve point margin at the top, ahead of both Warners Bay and South Wallsend. Both chasing clubs currently sit on 31 points. As it stands, the Eagles are now within just two games of clinching their 2019 Premiership.
“It was a fantastic performance from us, and showed a lot of what we have been working on in recent weeks,” Keelan Hamilton said of his side’s rampage at Alder Park.
“For me, it was one of our best performances in my time at the club. Everyone was highly alert to the game, and their tasks, and we had a high standard from the start which we maintained until the final whistle.
“To get a complete performance this weekend and have a high level of execution is really pleasing. Our focus is to keep taking the competition head-on, and we want to make sure there’s no doubt come to the end of the season.”
While the Eagles boss may be celebrating one of the best games his team has played in his tenure, Mid North Coast coach Mick Grass was left shaking his head after the game got “out of hand” for his travelling northern squad.
“There’s nothing positive to take out of the game from our perspective, we started slowly and individuals didn’t stick to their jobs. Then, with about 20 minutes to go we just quit altogether,” Grass said.
“A mixture of New Lambton being class and playing quality football, and how poor we were, made the result in the end, unfortunately. They were great, New Lambton are head and shoulders above most of the teams in the competition at the moment.
“Every player just has to take stock after something like this and think about what they want to achieve with the team. It’s not easy, they’re a young side and something like this can knock them around for a while, but if they can come away with something that’s important.”