All games played August 2 at 2pm
Match of the Round
Merewether 2 (Sophie Jones, Ellie Withers) defeated Valentine 2-0. Half-time: 0-0; played at CB Complex
Merewether clinched their first Herald Women’s Premier League minor premiership with a 2-0 win over Valentine at CB Complex yesterday as second-placed Adamstown were shock 3-1 losers to Wallsend at Wallsend Oval.
The win elevated United to 48 points, seven clear of Rosebud with both sides having two games left to play in the preliminary season.
The score was locked at 0-0 at half-time but the visitors wasted little time before taking a 1-0 lead with a goal inside the first five minutes of the second stanza.
Sophie Jones scored after her first attempt on goal was parried away by Phoenix goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon and she buried the rebound.
United extended the lead to 2-0 eight minutes later when Ellie Withers’s shot from an acute angle crossed the face of goal and rolled into the far corner. A diving Sneddon got a hand to the ball but could not stop the shot.
Valentine had several clear chances on goal denied as they chased the match but Merewether shot-stopper Imogene Tomasone proved pivotal with an answer to every attempt.
United midfielder Jane McDonald said Tomasone proved the difference with some “outstanding saves” and it was an important win after losing to Adamstown in round 19 for their first loss of the year.
A frustrated Phoenix coach Cassandra Wright acknowledged Merewether capitalised on their opportunities where her side did not.
“I don’t think there was much in it except they wanted it more,” Wright said.
“We have to put the frustration aside because the girls know they can do it.”
Wright also lamented the fact she only had nine fresh first-grade players available for the match and acknowledged the absence of Hannah Brewer was telling.
Thornton 2 (Jenna Kennedy, Sophie Milton) defeated Mid North Coast 0. Half-time: 0-0; played at Fairmont Gardens
Thornton kept alive their top-four hopes with a 2-0 win over Mid North Coast. The win moved the Redbacks to 21 points and within two points of fourth-placed Mid North Coast.
Mid North Coast could have sealed their first semi-finals appearance with a win over the Redbacks yesterday but now fourth spot it set to be determined in the final round this Sunday.
Thornton host Adamstown on Wednesday night in a rescheduled match then take on third-placed Valentine on Sunday.
Mid North Coast finish the season proper with a weekend double-header – they play Merewether on Saturday then Warners Bay on Sunday.
The score remained 0-0 at the break but Thornton broke the deadlock when Jenna Kennedy headed home off a corner around the 55th minute.
Sophie Milton sealed the victory with nine minutes remaining when she received the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box and rocketed a left-footed shot into the net.
Thornton coach Alan Primmer said Mid North Coast dominated in the early stages but “we worked our way into the game nicely and repelled them well in the second half”.
Mid North Coast coach Matt Baker suggested they only had themselves to blame for keeping the Redbacks in the hunt for fourth spot.
“We had 90 per cent of the play in the first half and didn’t put the ball away, it’s our fault,” Baker said.
South Wallsend 2 (Laura Hall 2) defeated Warners Bay 0. Half-time: 0-0; played at Walker Fields
Laura Hall scored a brace as South Wallsend salvaged some pride with their first win since beating Warners Bay in round 14.
The score remained 0-0 at half-time but in the second half Hall scored from a free kick then from an individual piece of brilliance, beating three Warners Bay players before finishing from close range.
South Wallsend cannot make the semi-finals but coach Marc Hingston was happy to see his side play the kind of free-flowing football they are capable of.
“It has been the story of what could’ve been for us this season,” Hingston said.
“When we have had our strongest side, like today, we have played football that warrants a place in the top four.
“That was our grand final – we put a lot of emphasis on today because it will be the last time this season we have close to our full team as we lose a couple again for next weekend.”
South Wallsend goalkeeper Bec Saunders made some pertinent saves to stave off any attacking raids by Warners Bay, who had several shots on goal but could not convert.
Warners Bay assistant coach Darren Sylvester described his side as “the walking wounded” and paid homage to some gutsy efforts.
They went into the game without Airlie Davis due to injury, the Smith sisters Taylah and Maddie, were heavily strapped and strike weapon Tulia Palozzi has been playing through injury for several weeks and ended up having to come off. They were also missing Corinne Gale through suspension.
Wallsend 3 (Keely Gawthrop 2, own goal) defeated Adamstown 1 (Olivia Trinka). Half-time: Wallsend led 2-1; played at Wallsend Oval.
Wallsend captain-coach Keely Gawthrop said leading into this game that they were determined not to finish their first WPL season with the wooden spoon and yesterday they took the first step towards avoiding last place with a 3-1 upset over league heavyweights Adamstown.
Wallsend moved three points clear of Warners Bay on the bottom of the ladder with the win. They both have a similar goal difference and the events of the final round this weekend are set to determine the final placings.
Wallsend have another tough match to finish the season in ladder leaders Merewether on Sunday but Gawthrop said yesterday’s performance will give them confidence heading into their last match.
“We went out there with a relaxed attitude and went out with nothing to lose because these are the two biggest games of our season,” Gawthrop said.
“It worked for us today and we’ll take the same approach to Merewether and hopefully play some good football.”
Wallsend went ahead around the 15-minute mark when Adamstown scored an own goal after Ashlee Jones crossed the ball into the box.
Gawthrop extended the lead to 2-0 midway through the half when she chipped Adamstown goalkeeper Danielle Redding from the top of the 18-yard box. But there was only one goal in it at the break after Olivia Trinka got on the score sheet for the visitors.
Gawthrop completed a match double when she drove a shot into the net from range in the second half.
Adamstown coach John Jiggins was disappointed with the loss, especially after Rosebud became the first team to defeat Merewether this season in their previous outing.
“We just didn’t turn up to play, that’s the bottom line,” Jiggins said. “You’ve got to turn up each week, no matter who you are playing.
“To their credit they played very well and they deserved to win, but I still can’t fault my side.”
Lauren Allen, who has scored 27 goals this season, did not play yesterday and flies to the United States this week to play college football.
Points table: Merewether 48, Adamstown 41, Valentine 40, Mid North Coast 23, Thornton 21, South Wallsend 20, Wallsend 16, Warners Bay 13.