Warners Bay FC 2-4 Newcastle Olympic
Newcastle Olympic coach Paul Devitis believes the rest of the competition should be wary of his side following their impressive 4-2 victory over heavyweights Warners Bay on Saturday night.
It was Olympic’s second big scalp in a row following their surprise 5-2 victory over Maitland, with Olympic now starting to build momentum after a slow start to the campaign.
Olympic took the lead just before the half hour mark at John Street Oval when Jemma House charged down an Amy Gosling clearance and calmly slotted the loose ball past Ally Boertje.
The visitors doubled their lead seven minutes later when Georgia Little showed great desperation to head home after Boertje had fumbled a cross.
It was a fitting reward for Little who was celebrating her 100th first grade game across the NPLW NNSW and WPL competitions for Newcastle Olympic and Wallsend FC.
But Warners Bay refused to quit. Lauren Allen hit the post from distance shortly after before Adrianna Konjarski tapped home following a Tara Andrews shot to reduce the deficit.
House then turned provider 12 minutes into the second half when she broke into the penalty area before firing a cross that Jade McAtamney eventually volleyed home to restore Olympic’s two-goal advantage.
House then added her second and Newcastle Olympic’s fourth two minutes later when she beat Boertje with a fabulous effort from almost 35 metres out.
The hosts pulled a goal back with seven minutes to play when Elodie Dagg fired her own long range stunner into the top corner past Hilary Benson. But Olympic held on for their fourth win of the season which put them fifth, three points outside the top four.
Olympic have been without a host of players during the first half of the season through injury but the return of House has coincided with a change in fortunes.
The electric striker made just her second appearance and first start of the season since returning from a broken ankle against Warners Bay, with Devitis pleased his side were finally starting to build some momentum.
“It was a slow start to the season but I was never too phased by it,” Devitis said.
“We knew it was a long season and we had a lot of girls to come back. Obviously we were disappointed not to get a few more wins on the board but the win over Maitland and now Warners Bay means the confidence in the camp is extremely high.
“In sport confidence and momentum can go a long way to getting results. We need to keep building and improving on that now. It can shape the rest of our season and put us in a positive place.
“There was always going to be a time in the season where we could string three, four, five wins together in a row. Now we’ve got that opportunity because of the last couple of games.”
As well as House, Devitis has either welcomed back or expects to welcome back Keely Gawthrop, Chloe Hinde, Laura Hall, Natalie Wiseman and Keea Parish, giving him a full strength squad to choose from.
“It was a fantastic result for us [against Warners Bay]. I’ve been super proud of the way everyone has stepped up [but] we’re getting some big players back as well at a great time,” Devitis said.
“We had a game plan we wanted to follow. The girls were actually pretty confident going into the game. Once we got to the ground the vibe in the sheds was very positive and after the warm up I was very confident we’d get something out of the game.
“Spirits were high but we knew we had to start strong because Warners Bay can potentially win a game in the first 20 minutes.
“We kept them scoreless early and we built well into the game. The first two goals were great for us obviously. The only real disappointing thing was we let them back into the game a little bit. But we kept up our high tempo in the second half and were rewarded with a couple more goals.”
Warners Bay remain top of the table despite the defeat ahead of Broadmeadow on goal difference, though Magic have a game in hand.
Adamstown Rosebud JFC 1-3 Charlestown Azzurri
Charlestown Azzurri climbed to third on the NPLW NNSW table with a clinical 3-1 victory over Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday night.
Azzurri led 3-0 after 27 minutes at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility as they repeatedly punished Adamstown mistakes early on.
Charlestown took the lead in the third minute after Summer Taube was the quickest to react after Jayna Fraser’s shot was blocked.
It was 2-0 to Azzurri in the ninth minute when Charlotte O’Connor failed to deal with an awkward long ball, with Courtney Anderson making the most of the opportunity to fire home under Olivia Sneddon.
Charlestown went route one for their third goal when Fraser got on the end of a long punt downfield from Azzurri goalkeeper Mia Wallace.
Fraser, a short-term signing from the US College system, produced a wonderful finish from a tight angle to beat Sneddon at her far post.
Adamstown hit back almost immediately through a powerful Josie Morley header but Azzurri were able to weather the Rosebud storm to run out deserved two-goal winners.
Charlestown coach Niko Papaspiropoulos said he was pleased with the way his side stuck to its game plan.
“We’ve played Adamstown a couple of times now and they are really well drilled and organised but their way of playing doesn’t really change,” Papaspiropoulos said.
“They might change shape or formation occasionally but the way they go about things is the same way every time. We were aware of that and mindful that there was the potential to catch them out.
“I think every team realise that and are mindful of that but at the same time it’s important not to try and force it. Just because the keeper is up high or you know they’re going to press high doesn’t mean you go all out, you’ve got to wait and be patient and be ready to punish them.”
Papaspiropoulos was particularly happy with his side’s mentality. Whereas earlier in the season his side had let itself down with errors in key moments, Azzurri have shown great maturity in recent weeks to remain focused and put in 90-minute performances.
“Obviously we did very well to take advantage of some chances early in the first half to put ourselves three goals up. We were clinical in the first half. We had struggled to do that in some previous games,” Papaspiropoulos said.
“We took advantage of some chances and of some mistakes in fairness. It was good to see from our perspective. Every time we had a chance to go forward and punish them from a turnover we did.
“The game became a bit cagey and scrappy in the second half. We didn’t control the ball as we would like and for a 15-minute patch we had to absorb some pressure. Sometimes you’ll get games like that when not everything goes your way.
“The girls did well to defend and be desperate and make sure we didn’t concede. Sometimes you’ve got to do the hard work and our girls stepped up. Obviously there are some areas we still need to improve but across the whole game the girls did really well.”
Azzurri lost Carolina Cacic and Jess Terry to concussion with the pair taken to hospital before being released on Saturday night. The duo will be reassessed later in the week.
The defeat saw Adamstown slip to sixth, five points outside the top four. Fourth-placed Maitland also have two games in hand.
New Lambton FC 0-3 Mid Coast FC
Mid Coast recorded their first wins of the season against New Lambton on the weekend to climb away from the foot of the table.
Middies downed the Eagles 3-1 in their rescheduled round three match in Taree on Saturday before backing up with a 3-0 victory at Alder Park on Sunday.
At Alder Park on Sunday, Mid Coast took the lead four minutes into the second half when Evie Bobilak cut in from the left and fired in a powerful cross which Hannah Brewer eventually smashed home.
The visitors doubled their advantage five minutes later through Kirrilly Hughes’ fine effort from distance.
Bobilak completed the scoring in injury time when her effort was deflected past Larissa Stace to give Middies their second victory of the season and the weekend.
The win saw Mid Coast climb six points clear of New Lambton who remain last without a point from their eight games so far.
Mid Coast will look to build on the momentum of securing their first wins of the campaign when they host Adamstown Rosebud on Saturday, while New Lambton face the daunting task of taking on a resurgent Newcastle Olympic at Darling Street on Saturday.