Match of the Round
Adamstown 2 (Lauren Allen 2) defeated Mid North Coast 1 (Abbie Watson); Half-time: 1-1. Played yesterday at Taree Zone Fields
Lauren Allen scored a brace as an understrength Adamstown battled out a 2-1 win over Mid North Coast.
Adamstown coach John Jiggins said Rosebud started the game with eight first-grade players and under-16 player Jorja Rocteur was given her top-flight starting debut.
Allen put the visitors ahead early in the first half but Abbie Watson scored from an obscure angle to put the teams back on level terms going to the break. Allen slipped in behind the Mid North Coast defence to seal the win in the second half.
“It was a battle,” Jiggins conceded. “All of the Mid North Coast teams play good football and it was a quality game.
“They kept coming at us and it was a credit to my girls to get the win and I think the three points should cement our semi-finals spot but we are going to have to dig deep now.”
Rosebud started the match without injured first-grade players Mikaela Howell, Kate Lindsay, Lucy Hewson and Bec Miller.
Jiggins hopes to have Howell back at training this week but loses key players Allen and Marley Harrison before the semi-finals. Allen and Harrison are headed to the United States for college.
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker was full of praise for his charges, who backed up for the Adamstown clash after going down 4-0 to league leaders Merewether in a rescheduled fixture on Saturday.
“We would’ve loved to get a draw out of it but we probably didn’t do enough to win it,” Baker said.
“After a tough game against Merewether yesterday, to only go down 2-1, and we weren’t far out it, was a great effort.
“We came out strong after half-time but we just lacked a bit of spark up front. They took their chances and they defended well … but we’ll take a lot out of that.”
Merewether 5 (Sophie Jones 2, Shannon Day, Sarah Halvorsen, Jamee Ellis) defeated Warners Bay 1 (Sass Seaborn); Half-time: Merewether led 4-1. Played yesterday at John Street Oval
Merewether look poised to capture the Herald Women’s Premier League Premiership after taking a seven-point lead over nearest rivals Adamstown with maximum points from a weekend double-header.
United beat Mid North Coast 4-0 in Taree on Saturday then backed up to defeat Warners Bay 5-1 yesterday. Sophie Jones bagged doubles for Merewether in both matches.
The weekend completed a punishing 12-day schedule in which United played five games.
United go head-to-head with second-placed Adamstown in a much-anticipated top-of-the-table showdown this weekend.
Merewether skipper Jamee Ellis gave the visitors an early ascendancy yesterday, scoring with a well-taken corner that curled into the net. Sarah Halvorsen extended the lead then Jones scored from the penalty spot.
Sass Seaborn bridged the gap to two goals when she scored to make it 3-1 but Shannon Day, who had bagged a double against Mid North Coast a day earlier, fired a bullet-like shot into the net from the edge of the box to have United up 4-1 going to the break. Jones completed her match brace with the only goal of the second half.
Merewether coach Cassie Koppen had urged her side to be ruthless in front of goal and not let other teams into the match and was happy with the two strong wins over the weekend.
“I was stoked to put away goals, that was something that we have been talking about a lot, our conversion rate,” Koppen said.
“And we didn’t let either team into the game over the weekend whereas in the past we have.”
Koppen rotated her squad over the weekend and was happy to come away from the tough 12-day period “unscathed”.
Warners Bay coach Leon Davis said his side needed to “cut the errors in critical areas” but was much happier with the second-half performance and said they continued to show improvement.
The home side had a high injury toll before the game then Corinne Gale and Tulia Palozzi were both forced from the field with groin injuries.
Valentine 8 (Cassidy Davis 3, Heidi Weimer 2, Gemma Pearce, Georgia Cook, Tyler Radovanovic) defeated Wallsend 2 (Kristy McNaughton, Brooke Langford); Half-time: Valentine led 4-0. Played yesterday at CB Complex
Cassidy Davis scored a hat-trick as Valentine overpowered Wallsend 8-2, sending a clear warning they intended to hit the finals flying.
Phoenix led 4-0 at the break and added another four goals in the second stanza to continue their recent good form. They have not dropped a point since losing 4-0 to Merewether in Round 14.
Wallsend got on the scoresheet in the second half through Brooke Langford and Kristy McNaughton but Valentine, who were without Hannah Brewer, Marnie Parfitt and Serena Carter yesterday, never looked in doubt.
They play Warners Bay this weekend before going head-to-head with Merewether, who remain the only team Phoenix have not beaten this season, in the penultimate round of the season proper.
Wallsend captain-coach Keely Gawthrop said it was a disappointing result yesterday but that they will “take a lot from that game” and intended to use the remainder of the season to keep developing.
It has been a baptism of fire for Wallsend, who have been without a coach for several weeks. Gawthrop has stepped into the breach but was looking forward to relinquishing the role next season.
They play Thornton this weekend before battling the league’s two top teams, Adamstown and Merewether, in their final two round matches.
“We were in it but with a team like that, we can’t really let them have time on the ball, which we did,” Gawthrop said.
“We’ve got three games to go, hopefully we can get a bit of an upset and play decent football.”
South Wallsend 2 (Gabbie Deacon, Mikaela Tilse) drew Thornton 2 (Katie Smee, Maddison Dean); Half-time: Thornton led 2-1. Played yesterday at Walker Fields
Thornton coach Alan Primmer was left to rue another missed opportunity to turn a game lead into three points after they forfeited a 2-0 advantage to draw 2-2 with rival semi-final contenders South Wallsend yesterday.
The Redbacks similarly led Wallsend in a midweek match last week before the game ended in a 2-2 stalemate.
Primmer had targeted those two matches to take maximum points to keep alive their semi-finals aspirations.
They are still in the hunt with two games in hand over most of their rivals but face a tough two-week period in which they play all five remaining matches.
“We weren’t clinical in front of goal … and we probably let ourselves down,” Primmer said.
“We led both of those games and could’ve had six points and those could have put us on 18 points.
“But all we can do now is turn up against Warners Bay and Wallsend in our next two matches and make amends.”
Thornton were without attacking weapons Sophie Milton and Naomi Abbott yesterday while South Wallsend were missing several key players, including inspirational captain Laura Hall.
“We had just enough fresh players for a relay team,” South Wallsend coach Marc Hingston lamented.
“We had four fresh first-grade players to start the match and the effort to come back from 2-0 down under those conditions … all things considering, we’ll take the draw.”
Thornton led 2-0 after goals from Katie Smee and Maddison Dean but Gabbie Deacon scored for the hosts in the dying stages of the first half to have Thornton ahead 2-1 at the break.
The game sea-sawed in the second half before Mikaela Tilse found the equaliser with around 20 minutes remaining.
South Wallsend face a possibly season-defining match against fourth-placed Mid North Coast this weekend in Wauchope. Just three points separate the two sides.
Points table: Merewether 45, Adamstown 38, Valentine 37, Mid North Coast 20, South Wallsend 17, Thornton 14, Wallsend 13, Warners Bay 12.
Round 19 matches – Sunday, July 26
Match of the Round
Adamstown v Merewether
Sunday 2pm at Adamstown No.1 Oval
Valentine v Warners Bay
Sunday 2pm at Baxter Field
Mid North Coast v South Wallsend
Sunday 2pm at Fairmont Gardens
Wallsend v Thornton
Sunday 2pm at Wallsend Oval