Match of the Round
Wallsend v Mid North Coast
Sunday 2pm at Wallsend Oval
Encounters this season: Mid North Coast won 3-0 in Round 3; 1-1 draw in Round 10
Last start: Wallsend beat South Wallsend 4-1 on July 1; Mid North Coast defeated Adamstown 2-0 last Sunday
Position on ladder: Wallsend sixth (12 points); Mid North Coast fourth (17 points)
Both of these sides are coming off big, possibly season-defining, wins and will be eager to continue gathering points to stay in the hunt for a semi-finals berth.
Mid North Coast became just the second team to beat Adamstown last weekend and another victory on Sunday will keep their confidence high ahead of a looming weekend double-header against competition front-runners Merewether and Rosebud.
“They’re a tough side to play against and just because we beat Adamstown doesn’t mean we’ll go down and beat them,” Mid North Coast’s Matt Baker said.
“They are a physical team and it will be a completely different game.
“If we could get a win and a draw out of the next three games then that could really set us up for fourth spot.”
Wallsend broke through for their first win since Round 9 when they came from behind to beat South Wallsend 4-1 in a midweek clash last week.
Captain and stand-in coach Keely Gawthrop said the Red Devils were keen to pick up when they left off.
“If we go out how we did against South Wallsend, I think we’ll be right,” Gawthrop said. “We’ve just got to keep the ball and be patient.”
Gawthrop said Jets youth coach Jason Harris put them through a helpful session on Tuesday night and hopes it translates to the field.
Mid North Coast will be without midfielder Courtney Anderson (unavailable) but welcome back Niki Bestwick.
Wallsend are without midfielder Shanae Stengord (unavailable) and Jasmine Wellings gains promotion into the first-grade squad.
Adamstown v Warners Bay
Saturday 2pm at Adamstown No.1 Oval
Encounters this season: Adamstown won 4-0 in Round 3, 2-2 draw in Round 10
Last start: Adamstown lost 2-0 to Mid North Coast last Sunday; Warners Bay drew 0-0 Merewether last night
Position on ladder: Adamstown second (32 points); Warners Bay seventh (12 points)
At a glance this looks like a forgone conclusion with competition pace-setters Adamstown taking on Warners Bay.
But as this competition has shown many times this season, any team is capable of a win, regardless of their positioning, on any given day.
Warners Bay have shown a new lease on life since former Northern NSW State League coach Leon Davis took over at the helm.
They downed Wallsend 2-1 on Davis’ first watch then held unbeaten competition leaders Merewether to a scoreless draw in a rescheduled Round 11 match last night.
“I have only had them for five or six training sessions but they have improved with every session,” Davis said.
Davis said his side stuck strong to the game plan of pressing high and pressuring United last night and were rewarded for their “team effort” by taking a point.
“We high pressured them and we pressed them all over the park, which upset their rhythm,” Davis said.
“It was a team effort and they continued to do what they were asked for the 90 minutes.”
It was a vast improvement from the seven-goal loss Warners Bay recorded against Merewether the last time the two sides met.
The draw put Warners Bay on level terms with Wallsend and Thornton on 12 points, five adrift of fourth-placed Mid North Coast, but Davis said he was “not worried about the table”, rather he was focused on ensuring the team kept improving.
They face another tough outing on Saturday against Adamstown, who will be eager to bounce back from just their second loss of the season.
Merewether v Thornton
Sunday 2pm at Myamblah Oval
Encounters this season: Merewether won 3-0 in Round 3; 1-1 draw in Round 10
Last start: Merewether drew 0-0 with Warners Bay last night; Thornton lost 3-2 to Mid North Coast on June 14
Position on ladder: Merewether first (33 points); Thornton eighth (12 points)
This match will be Thornton’s first in four weeks and Coach Alan Primmer said he would be looking upon the match as “a reboot” as they prepare for a tough schedule of eight games still to be played with four weeks remaining in the season proper.
Merewether similarly face a tough run into the finals with eight games also to be played.
Untied seized the outright competition lead by one point from Adamstown last night but Coach Cassie Koppen was frustrated to walk away from a scoreless draw with Warners Bay.
Merewether were missing midfielders Jane McDonald, Sarah Halvorsen and Leticia Quinlan and defender Sarah Hartree but Koppen said she was “not making any excuses”.
“We were probably a bit blasé about the game … they came out fast and strong and unsettled us a bit,” Koppen said.
“They’ve improved a lot since we last played them and are playing a lot more positive football.”
The match was the first of five Merewether have in a punishing 12-day schedule and as they push for the Premiership Koppen admitted they had a target on their backs and would be “a prized scalp”.
“We have got to lift our game and take it to another level,” Koppen said.
“The Premiership is now either ours to win or lose.”
Koppen expects to have McDonald, Halvorsen and Hartree back on deck this weekend.
Thornton will be without defensive midfielders Jacinta Gilchrist and Sophie Morgan, who are both unavailable, and possibly utility Jennifer Joengblod.
South Wallsend v Valentine
Sunday 2pm at Walker Fields
Encounters this season: 3-3 draw in Round 3; Valentine won 5-3 in Round 10
Last start: South Wallsend lost 4-1 to Wallsend on July 1; Valentine beat Mid North Coast 4-0 on June 28
Position on ladder: South Wallsend fifth (16 points); Valentine third (28 points)
South Wallsend coach Marc Hingston said starting positions will be on the line this weekend as he asks his charges for a strong 90-minute performance.
South Wallsend have played some quality football this season but consistency has been their downfall and Hingston was disappointed last week to watch as they forfeited a 1-0 half-time lead against Wallsend to lose 4-1.
“The effort just wasn’t good enough in the second half against Wallsend,” Hingston said.
“The first 45 against Wallsend was as good a performance as any I have seen this season but we just didn’t back it up.”
South Wallsend have similarly led Valentine in both previous encounters but have “shot ourselves in the foot twice against them”. Last time South Wallsend led 3-0 after 20 minutes before conceding five unanswered goals.
Hingston believed his side were capable of beating Phoenix if they turned in a strong performance.
Phoenix women’s football manager Terry Campbell expects the visitors to be at full strength this weekend but remained wary of South Wallsend.
“They gave us a hell of a game both times and we’ve been lucky to get through them,” Campbell said.
“They are a good young side and we won’t be taking them lightly.
“I think it will come down to who takes their chances.”
South Wallsend will be missing strikers Abbie Herffernan and Georgia Amess and defender Danielle Nicol due to unavailability.
Points table: Merewether 33, Adamstown 32, Valentine 28, Mid North Coast 17, South Wallsend 16, Wallsend 12, Warners Bay 12, Thornton 12.