MATCH OF THE ROUND
CHARLESTOWN AZZURRI 13-0 FC NEW LAMBTON FC
Charlestown Azzurri further strengthened their grip on fourth place with a comprehensive 13-0 thrashing of New Lambton on Sunday.
It was a much needed three points for Azzurri as they bounced back from their embarrassing 10-1 hammering at the hands of competition leaders Warners Bay last weekend.
Summer Taube and Lori Depczynski shone for Azzurri at Lisle Carr Oval, scoring four and three goals apiece respectively.
After their unexpectedly heavy loss to the Panthers last week Azzurri coach Niko Papaspiropoulos said his team’s focus was concentrating on how they were going to approach New Lambton.
“I thought we put on a very good performance and beyond the score line itself, the most important thing for us this week was what reaction and what response do we have this week as a team and as individuals when we take the pitch,” Papaspiropoulos said.
“The mentality and approach of the girls was exceptional. [The squad] was obviously hurting after last week’s result and they responded positively because sometimes you can respond poorly but we came out and were very strong from start to finish.
“We held each other to a high standard and that’s what we want to do now at every session and at every game for the rest of the year.”
Papaspiropoulos is keen for his side to climb even higher on the table, with Azzurri moving to 23 points in fourth place and opening up a four-point gap to Maitland in fifth.
Charlestown’s goal difference (+15) is now also better than the Magpies’ (+13).
“We obviously want to finish as high as we can,” Papaspiropoulos said.
“We take it one game at a time and we want to win every game we’re playing. The expectation we have of ourselves is to always be competitive and always look for a win and that’s not going to change.”
It has been a disastrous season so far for New Lambton, with the Eagles on zero points after 11 games with a goal difference of -107.
Eagles coach Mackenzie Davis knows how hard the coming weeks will be for her squad and is under no illusion as to the toll the season so far has taken on her players.
“It was a really hard game and playing Charlestown a fortnight ago worked against us unfortunately,” Davis said.
“Azzurri had a great plan of attack and punished us consistently. This weekend tested the squad’s resilience but we look forward to next week to improve and work hard.”
Despite the crushing loss, there was a bright spark for New Lambton in Freya Clifton walking the squad out as captain with Emily Ridgeway unavailable through injury.
Azzurri face Mid Coast in Taree on Saturday while New Lambton host finals-chasing Maitland on Sunday.
BROADMEADOW MAGIC 3-0 MID COAST FC
Broadmeadow Magic re-joined the winners circle with their 3-0 win over Mid Coast on Saturday.
The win sees Magic remain in second place on the table, three points behind leaders Warners Bay but with a game in hand.
Mid Coast remain seventh on seven points with two wins under their belt. Mid Coast also have a game in hand.
Magic coach Jake Curley was happy with his squad’s performance, especially against Middies who always put up a fight.
“I thought defensively we were solid,” Curley said.
“We created a number of good chances but our finishing was a little off. Overall I’m happy with our performance as Middies are always well organised.”
Mid Coast coach Mick Grass was proud of his team’s efforts despite the loss.
“I thought we played pretty well in denying them,” Grass said.
“Obviously they’ve got some good speed in the wide areas and that’s what they were trying to play and I thought we did pretty well in denying them for the most part.
“Both goals we conceded in the first half were kind of scrappy, so I don’t think we really gave them anything. I think it was a couple of simple goals that could have gone either way.”
Although it was not the result they were hoping for Grass said his squad fought hard and put in a decent effort.
“We could have done better but I was happy with the way the girls fought hard to the end and I thought their effort was really good,” Grass said.
Magic take on Newcastle Olympic in round 14 while Mid Coast host Azzurri in Taree.
ADAMSTOWN ROSEBUD JFC 1-3 NEWCASTLE OLYMPIC
Newcastle Olympic continued their midseason revival on Saturday night when they took down Adamstown Rosebud 3-1 at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
The sixth straight win sees Olympic retain their third-place position on the table, sitting on 24 points.
Tori Johnson opened the scoring for the visitors before Josie Morley got an equaliser to make it 1-1 at half-time.
Alesha Clifford gave Newcastle a 2-1 lead in the 47th minute before Sophie McDonald sealed the win nine minutes from full-time.
To add to their defeat Rosebud were also reduced to 10 players in the 74th minute when Tara Cousins was shown a red card following two yellow card offences.
Olympic coach Paul Devitis was thrilled to keep his team’s winning momentum going.
“Picking up wins is obviously very important for us at the moment,” Devitis said.
“For us to get six in a row after the first round when I think some people may have written us off is great. The girls’ mental strength has been fantastic this year.”
Despite taking the three points Devitis acknowledged how tough it was to come up against Adamstown.
“It was a very hard game, a very physical game,” Devitis said.
“The first half was pretty disappointing for us. We had a lot of turnovers and a lot of bad passes and we didn’t really stick to our game plan which was disappointing from a coach’s point of view. We sort of played into their hands because we knew they were trying to press our midfielders.”
While a cohesive team performance certainly aided in Olympic’s win, Devitis gave the credit to his debutants and substitutes throughout the game.
“We had five first graders out so we had to give a debut to one of our under-17s players Tori Johnson and she scored the first goal which was great,” Devitis said.
“I think our substitutes had a massive impact on the game for us. I brought on Georgia Little at half-time and she was a massive improvement for us and we had young Sophie McDonald come on and score the match winner, so they were very important to us.”
It does not get any easier for struggling Adamstown who take on competition leaders Warners Bay on Sunday while Olympic will face Broadmeadow at Darling Street Oval on Saturday.
MAITLAND FC 1-6 WARNERS BAY FC
Warners Bay proved why they are top of the competition when they took down Maitland FC 6-1 at Cooks Square Park on Sunday.
The Panthers put in a dominant display against top four contenders Maitland, scoring six goals to take the three points.
Warners Bay came into the game following their huge 10-1 win over Azzurri while Maitland were also coming into the match off the back of a 6-2 win over Adamstown.
The league’s leading goal scorer Adriana Konjarski opened the scoring for the visitors with a free kick in the 19th minute. Cass Davis found the back of the net just two minutes later to make it 2-0 going into the break.
The two opening goal scorers combined in the 62nd minute to set up Tara Andrews who took the score to 3-0. Davis then got her second of the afternoon a minute later before Konjarski won a one-on-one battle with Maitland goalkeeper Imogene Tomasone in the 64th minute to take her team’s total to five.
Davis made it a hat-trick with a stunning strike in the 73rd minute to take the score to 6-0 in favour of the visitors. Maitland scored a late consolation 11 minutes from full-time through Maddy Howard who made her Magpies debut after arriving from Adamstown.
The win keeps Warners Bay clear competition leaders on 31 points, three points ahead of second-placed Broadmeadow Magic.
While happy to take the three points Panthers coach Craig Atkins knows there is work to be done to maintain his side’s winning streak.
“I thought the girls came out strong and managed those battles early on and finished a couple of quick goals which was really important to get off to a good start,” Atkins said.
“I think the score line could have been a lot more but we weren’t clinical enough and that’s something we can take back to the training ground and work on.”
Atkins knows there are still plenty of games left to play before things are cemented as the season approaches the business end.
“Obviously the goal is to finish in the top two but we’ve still got plenty of games to go so we’re not getting too carried away,” Atkins said.
“We’re just taking it week by week.”
The Magpie’s loss sees them remain in fifth place on the table on 19 points but they are eight points clear of sixth-placed Adamstown and still within touching distance of the top four with a match in hand.
Warners Bay next face Adamstown Rosebud while Maitland will look to bounce back against struggling New Lambton FC with both matches to be played on Sunday.