Match of the Round
Charlestown Azzurri 2-0 Mid Coast FC
Charlestown Azzurri played their best get out of jail card against Mid Coast on Saturday after a disappointing performance saw them narrowly escape with three points.
Azzurri looked well below their best in front of goal with coach Niko Papaspiropoulos describing some of the opportunities they failed to take as criminal to miss in the 2-0 win at Lisle Carr Oval.
“The girls and I were a little bit disappointed that we were not clinical in the final third. We hold ourselves to a high standard and expectation,” Papaspiropoulos said.
“I think we were a bit disappointed that we did not manage to be better in front of goal.
“We had a few good chances and a fair few half chances that you would usually make something of which we just did not take advantage of.”
Despite the lack of conversion at one end Papaspiropoulos was quick to note the importance of not conceding at the other end.
“The positive was that that we got a clean sheet and controlled the game. We only allowed one shot on goal,” he said.
Courtney Anderson impressed against her former club, while Georgia Brown drew strong praise from her first-grade mentor.
“[Brown] had her first grade debut at right back [and] had a really strong performance as well. It was great to see from one of the younger girls in our squad,” Papaspiropoulos said.
Azzurri will now prepare to take on Newcastle Olympic at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility. The match is one of two being played at the ground next Saturday night to celebrate Female Football Week.
“We will do a bit of analysis and video review. Also working on chemistry and finishing in the final third will be two key areas,” Papaspiropoulos said.
Mid Coast mentor Mick Grass described his side’s performance as “probably the best performance of the year.”
“We controlled the game for the early passages. It was really just a moment of an individual error defensively and Charlestown went length of the field and scored,” Grass said.
“I thought our defensive effort was really good. We were under the pump for long periods and the girls just kept turning up.”
Hannah Brewer made her debut in black and white, with the impact of the experienced campaigner evident for all to see.
“I thought that her influence was incredibly large for the first game. It was basically the first time she had met all the girls as well,” Grass said.
“I watched young players put their bodies on the line more than they have before, just because of what she does and how she competes.
“If that is what she can do for us first game, I have no doubt we are going to get better from here.”
Broadmeadow Magic 3-1 Newcastle Olympic
Broadmeadow Magic moved itself three points clear at the top of the NPL Women’s NNSW table with a 3-1 win over rivals Newcastle Olympic on Friday night.
Lucy Jerram scored a double for the home side at Magic Park, with Broadmeadow coach Jake Curley believing his side could have easily let the match slip after a slow start.
“I thought Olympic started better and created good pressure,” he said.
“We started to get more into the game around the 30-minute mark but we were still untidy with the ball.”
A much improved second half led Magic to three points, with the hosts’ defensive collective drawing praise from the championship-winning mentor.
“I thought our entire backline was solid and limited Olympic’s chances. Jannali Hunter is becoming an outstanding player,” Curley said.
Lucy Kell scored the Magic’s third goal, ensuring the women in red head into the middle third of the season with the best for and against record in the competition.
“I thought the first half we were below where we have been but the second half was much better particularly with energy and movement,” Curley said.
“Our finishing in the second half was solid and defensively we were really strong.”
But it was not all bad news for Newcastle Olympic coach Paul DeVitis.
“I thought the first half we were really good. We were really happy with our performance and we followed our game plan well without getting a result,” he said.
“Our shape has been really good of late. We have just got to eliminate some basic defensive errors.”
Injuries and unavailability left DeVitis scrambling to fill a starting 11, with DeVitis impressed with the effort of those who did take the park.
“In an ideal world, I like to rotate my squad. At the moment we cannot really afford to do that. Players will be asked to back up and deliver another two 90-minute performances this week,” DeVitis said.
Numbers will be another challenge on Tuesday night when Olympic take on Warners Bay in their postponed round three fixture at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
Georgia Amess will be unavailable, with DeVitis seeing the battle being fought in midfield.
“We know Warners Bay are going to be coming out firing after their result against Adamstown. Defensively we are going to have to be on our best against their attack,” DeVitis said.
“There midfield is fantastic. Our midfield is fantastic. I think both teams will be great to watch and super attacking.
“I am quietly confident we can get the job done.”
Adamstown Rosebud JFC 4-4 Warners Bay FC
Warners Bay let slip a two-goal lead to be left with just a point after Saturday night’s clash with Adamstown Rosebud at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
The 4-4 draw, which sees the Panthers hold onto third place on the table, was far from Warners Bay’s best performance according to coach Craig Atkins.
“We have got to be better than that. Leading with a two-goal advantage with not long to go we have got to be able to close games off,” Atkins said.
“It is about playing smarter football and finishing those really high intensity games off in the right manner.”
Adriana Konjarski scored a brace for the visitors, with Lauren Allan and Tara Andrews also finding the back of the net. Of more concern to Atkins however was the four goals in the against column.
“We gave them up very cheaply. And you can’t do that in football, no matter who you are playing,” he said.
“That is the time of the game where you have to lift that intensity.
“You need to be more urgent. You need to be first to the ball and you have got to be getting your foot on the ball, or clearing the ball. We didn’t do that on Saturday night.”
It was the first of three games in quick succession for the Panthers, who play Newcastle Olympic in a rescheduled fixture on Tuesday night, before heading to Arthur Edden Oval to play New Lambton on Saturday.
The congested schedule is proving to be an operational challenge for Atkins, who brought Allan from the field early, while Tara Pender started from the bench.
“We rotated a couple of players and I took a couple of players off that I probably would not have normally,” he said
“It is all about player management and rotating. We have depth in our squad so we can do that.”
The focus now at John Street is deleting the lapses in concentration.
“We can’t afford to have those lapses which is what we are having. We need to get that 90-minute performance happening all the time,” Atkins said.
Maitland FC 11-0 New Lambton FC
A tough season took another turn for the worse for New Lambton on Sunday, thrashed 11-0 by a rampant Maitland.
The Magpies hammered home 11 goals at Cooks Square Park, seven of which came in a dominant second half in which the Eagles defence was dismantled by Maitland’s attack.
In a further blow for the Eagles, goalkeeper Kirra Smith was hospitalized after she suffered a back injury on full-time. Smith has since been discharged.
Maitland coach Dave Walker described the performance as solid with the focus still on a complete 90-minute effort.
“We had a few key objectives that we wanted to try and hit in and around movement of the ball and maintaining our standard,” Walker said.
“The first half was okay. I thought it improved as the match went on and the players executed what they needed to.”
Sophie Stapleford led from the front for the home side while Bronte Peel, Mercedes McNab and Ainsley Childs also shared in the goalscoring.
“The final third was an area that we wanted to work on. It was not about the quality of goals we scored but how they were scored,” Walker said.
It is a tricky few weeks for both sides with rescheduled fixtures to test the depth of even the most well-prepared outfits, though Maitland may be better positioned than most.
“I believe next week I expect to have a full squad of 30 available and fit. Barring something unforeseen we are actually looking quite good as far as numbers are concerned,” Walker said.
“For where we are at this point, we are certainly comfortable with what we have achieved.
“The squad has started and capitalised on as many games as they could.”