Match of the Round
Adamstown 3 (Olivia Trinka 2, Lauren Allen) defeated Merewether 1 (Sophie Jones). Half-time: Adamstown led 2-1. Played yesterday at Adamstown No.1 Oval
Adamstown put paid to Merewether’s goal of finishing the season unbeaten when they downed the league leaders 3-1 yesterday.
The result also kept open the race for the Premiership. Merewether would have gained an unassailable 10-point lead over Adamstown with a win yesterday but now hold just a four-point buffer over their nearest rivals.
There are just two rounds remaining in the season proper but both sides have three matches still to play, and Merewether are likely to play a weekend double-header either this weekend or next.
United coach Cassie Koppen was disappointed but adopted a philosophical attitude to the result.
“It was a good wake-up call for us,” Koppen said. “If it was going to happen I’m glad it happened now. We’ve got to step things up another gear now heading into the finals.”
Merewether dominated possession but Adamstown proved far more effective when they had the ball. Merewether also lacked their usual stability and composure at the back at times yesterday in the absence of skipper Lori Depczynski.
United took a 1-0 lead just shy of the 30-minute mark when Sophie Jones’ shot from range beat Adamstown goalkeeper Danielle Redding into the bottom left corner of the net.
But Adamstown replied straight away when Olivia Trinka ghosted into the box to meet a wide cross from Emily Frost and scored from close range.
Lauren Allen gave the hosts a 2-1 advantage going to the break when she scored from a free kick and took her individual season goal tally to 27 in the process.
Trinka extended the lead on the 70-minute mark with a long-range effort.
Adamstown coach John Jiggins was thrilled with the result and made special mention of Redding, who has been playing two games each weekend since they lost first-grade shot-stopper Bec Miller to a season-ending knee injury.
“She has stepped up big time and has really impressed,” Jiggins said.
“Kate Lindsay came in late and really gave the girls a bit of a boost today … and I think there was motivation there for Marley Harrison [in her last game before heading the US to play college football] too.
“Consistency was what I thought we showed today and the little things we haven’t been getting right in the past few weeks we did better.”
Photo: Warners Bay Coach Leon Davis with daughters Airlie, Cassidy and Greer (from left to right).
Valentine 4 (Cassidy Davis 2, MJ Mason 1, own goal) defeated Warners Bay 3 (Sass Seaborn 2, Maddie Smith). Half-time: Warners Bay led 2-1; played yesterday at Baxter Field
Valentine fought back from 2-0 down to beat an ever-improving Warners Bay side 4-3 in a see-sawing affair yesterday.
Warners Bay have lifted their game under the watchful eye of new mentor Leon Davis and there was added motivation yesterday with two of his daughters, Airlie and Greer, lining up against sister Cassidy in the hosts’ side.
The game was not even 20 minutes old when Warners Bay held a two-goal advantage after goals from Sass Seaborn and Maddie Smith.
But Cassidy Davis scored a header off a corner to put the hosts back within a goal in the final minute of the first half.
The score was locked at 2-2 when Warners Bay conceded an own goal after the break then MJ Mason got on the scoresheet and gave Phoenix a 3-2 lead.
But the lead was short-lived with Seaborn putting the teams back on level terms with the second of two classy long-range shots before Davis completed a match double late in the game to give Phoenix the win and to claim bragging rights over the rest of her family.
Valentine coach Casandra Wright conceded her players “got rattled” by Warners Bay’s early dominance and said “Leon has got them working to their advantage”.
But Wright was pleased to see her side, who were without integral players Hannah Brewer, Gemma Pearce, Serena Carter, Laura Austin and Marnie Parfitt yesterday, extend their recent winning streak to five matches ahead of their showdown with ladder leaders Merewether this weekend.
Davis thought “overall a draw would have been a fair result” and said his side “played some really good attacking play”.
He was forced to substitute key players Corinne Gale, Tulia Palozzi and Taylor Smith due to ongoing injury issues and was not yet sure what shape the squad would take for their rescheduled match with Thornton at Thornton Park on Wednesday night.
Mid North Coast 4 (Amanda Armstrong, Lauren Avery, Maddison Stockham, Olivia Burn) defeated South Wallsend 1 (Abbie Heffernan). Half-time: Mid North Coast led 2-0; played yesterday at Fairmont Gardens
Mid North Coast consolidated fourth place and extended their lead over the chasing pack to six points with a convincing 4-1 win over a depleted South Wallsend yesterday.
The hosts held a 2-0 lead at the break after Amanda Armstrong scored from a free kick and Olivia Burn got on the score sheet.
But South Wallsend, who again had just five fresh players starting the match, came out firing from the break and were rewarded with a quick goal through Abbie Heffernan.
But Mid North Coast found two more goals through Lauren Avery and Maddison Stockham to seal the win and to put six points between themselves and Thornton and South Wallsend.
It is unlikely South Wallsend will be able to overhaul Mid North Coast, who still have a game in hand as well as their remaining two matches of the season proper.
A frustrated South Wallsend coach Marc Hingston remained full of praise for his bare bones side.
“To be where we are on the ladder is a great credit to the players,” Hingston said. “We are just trying to finish as high as we can and take confidence for next year.”
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker was pleased with the result but knew Thornton were still lurking in the race for semi-finals spots and was expecting a tough showdown this weekend when they play the Redbacks at Wauchope.
Thornton 5 (Naomi Abbott 3, Maddison Dean 2) defeated Wallsend 3 (Kristy Haughton, Casey Lee Smith, Taylor Wilks). Half-time: Thornton led 2-1; played yesterday at Wallsend Oval
Naomi Abbott score a hat-trick as Thornton kept alive their semi-finals hopes with an exciting 5-3 win over Wallsend yesterday.
The win promoted them to 17 points, just six adrift of this weekend’s opponents Mid North Coast.
Wallsend took an early lead after Kristy Haughton scored from a free kick but by half-time Thornton were in front 2-1 after goals from Naomi Abbott and Maddison Dean.
Abbott added another two and Dean one in the opening 25 minutes of the second stanza to be ahead 5-1 before Casey Lee Smith scored a header off a corner and Taylor Wilks finished with a well-timed, close-range volley for the home side.
“We spoke at half-time … and I said we needed to be more aggressive to the loose balls,” Thornton coach Alan Primmer said.
“I thought 25 minutes in the first half when we scored our two goals was where we won the midfield battle, and the first 20-25 minutes of the second half.
“It gave us a bit of confidence after we probably let four points slip last week.”
Wallsend captain-coach Keely Gawthrop felt they dominated possession but “we just couldn’t finish, which has been the story of our season”.
They now face competition heavyweights Adamstown and Merewether in their final two games of the season and Gawthrop said they intend to play “with nothing to lose”.
Thornton back up against Warners Bay on Wednesday night before their Round 20 clash with Mid North Coast.
The Redbacks were without leader Sophie Milton yesterday but Primmer was expecting her back for their midweek clash.
Points table: Merewether 45, Adamstown 41, Valentine 40, Mid North Coast 23, South Wallsend 17, Thornton 17, Wallsend 13, Warners Bay 12.