MATCH OF THE ROUND

Gosford 2 – Umina 0

WPL Round 6 Match of the Round saw a replay of last year’s grand final and in this instance, it was Gosford who came out victorious with a 2-0 result over Umina.

Both teams came into the match with good form and looking to take an early advantage in the league. The first half was very cagey from both teams as neither Gosford or Umina could take a stronghold in the match early on. As the first half went on, Gosford managed to win a penalty when Laura Mah was brought down in the box. Brittni Nicol stepped up for the Dragons as she rifled home the spot-kick to put Gosford 1-0 up. Instantly from kick-off, Umina caught the opposition defence napping and played a ball in behind Gosford’s defence and after a clumsy recovery tackle, Umina were awarded a penalty of their own to equalise. Current WPL leading goal scorer Kate Styles stepped up for the E-Gals, but her effort hit the post and Gosford held on to their lead at the break.

The second half saw Umina come out with a bit more intensity with the intention of taking it to the Gosford side. Both teams continued to frustrate one another with few chances being created and limiting any space. A big moment in the game occurred when Gosford’s Laura Mah was sent off for bad language and her side was forced to play the last 35 minutes with a player down. Umina’s attack missed a handful of chances with some poor finishing a decision making in the opposition’s final third. Being a player down, Gosford was forced to make a quick adjustment in formation and suddenly, they decided to lift their game. As Umina pushed more bodies forward in search of an equaliser, this allowed Gosford to find more space as they counter-attacked every time Umina came forward. Despite only having 10 players, Gosford started to dominate and after a string of chances, they finally found the second goal of the game through Tahlor Thackray, a brilliant shot from the edge of the box fired into the far corner as Gosford kept their perfect start to the season going with 6 wins from 6 games.

Umina’s Steve Donaldson was discouraged with the result for his team and felt another day the result may have been different but gives full credit to Gosford. “Congratulations to Gosford! They’re a tough team to beat even when they’re not at their best, they rallied well and played better when they went down to 10 players. A disappointing result for my girls, any other day we would convert the penalty and put a few more away but that’s football. The Whole crowd would agree we need to work on finishing this week at training.”

“Massive defensive efforts from my players and Narissa Dolbel, our goalkeeper, who made some key saves to stop any chance of Umina finding a way into the game. The girls really put in a huge effort with only 10 players and in the end, thoroughly deserved the win. As predicted, it was always going to be a close game, but a huge 3 points early on gives us some breathing space at the top of the table.” Commented Gosford coach Pete Edwards when reflected on the game. 

Kanwal 3 – Terrigal 1

Kanwal finds themselves in the top 5 after coming out triumphant over the O’lasses 3-1.

Kanwal came into their round 6 clash against Terrigal looking to secure points after being handed a loss and draw in their last two games despite solid performances. Kanwal started well and came out strong with plenty of intensity. Both teams searched for goals in the early stages, but Kanwal was dominant in possession through the majority of the first half. Despite a few half chances, neither side could find an opening goal in the first half as the score remained level at the break.

The Second half was much of the same for Kanwal as they looked to continue to dominate possession, but Terrigal remained very dangerous on the counterattack as a few close calls from long-range shots almost saw the O’lasses take the lead against the run of play. The Kanwal defence scrambled well to keep Terrigal scoreless. The first goal of the match came from a wide build-up play through Maddi Dunlop and Casey Cooper who found the feet of Hayls Ballard who cut inside beating her player and plotted a long-range shot from 30 yards out to give Kanwal a 1-0 lead. Kanwal’s lead did not last long after Terrigal were awarded a penalty and Georgah Shearim stepped up for the O‘lasses who slotted the penalty and took the game back on level terms.

Searching for the 3 points, Kanwal made some key substitutions with Courtney Smith and Alisha Dudman entering the game. After multiple attempts from Hayls Ballard and Hayley Green, it was substitute Alisha Dudman who was able to get herself on the scoresheet with a nicely placed shot after some impressive build-up play from the midfield from the Bulls. Kanwal’s third goal came only 3 minutes later as a through ball from Courtney Smith was chased down by Hayley Green who crossed the ball which was met by the Terrigal defence, unfortunately, their effort to clear only went as far as Hayls Ballard who was waiting outside the 18yard box. Ballard was able to grab her second of the match with a nice strike that took Kanwal’s lead to 3-1. Ballard thought she got her hat-trick late in the game only to be called offside while Alisha Dudman also had multiple chances to extend Kanwal’s lead only to be denied by great goalkeeping, the result remained 3-1.

“Travelling away to Kanwal was always going to be a tough match, it was entertaining throughout. Lots of good quality football was played and we had our chances but congratulations to Kanwal who took their opportunities at critical points in the match to seal the win,” stated Terrigal team manager Desley Brooks.

Kanwal coach Hayls Ballard was thrilled with her team’s performances over the last 3 weeks as they look to keep their momentum going into round 7. “Our biggest focus this weekend was to back up two solid performances with a third and we did exactly that. We walked away with 6 points this week and are proud of the quality of football we played. We’ve set a benchmark for ourselves now and the girls are keen to keep raising that as we move into round 7 against Killarney.”

Kariong 0 – Southern & Ettalong 2

Kariong continues to struggle with injuries to their squad as they fall to Southern 2-0, who now sit just 1 point behind 2nd place.

The game was started strong by both sides although early rain made it hard for both teams, with the ball skidding off the ground and both teams had to make sure of precision passing and getting behind the ball. Kariong had some strong 1-on-1 chances at goal in the first half and were unfortunate not to make the most of their opportunities. Southern also created multiple chances of their own as they attacked down the right and left-hand flanks but great defending from Kariong in the middle of the ark denied Southern multiple times. Southern was eventually able to open the scoring after a well-worked play saw Tatum Ansiewicz played through 1-on-1 with the Kariong goalkeeper which Tatum did well to convert to give her side a 1-0 lead that they would carry into halftime.

The second half saw Kariong start strong once again and on top with a few balls getting through the Southern defensive line but were unfortunate not to get any shots on target as they pressed hard for the equaliser. Towards the back quarter of the game, Southern started attacking more fluently as they looked to double their lead but once again the Kariong defence stood strong. Southern was able to find that elusive second goal when Tatum found herself unmarked at the far post from a corner as she was able to capitalise on her chance and double Southern’s lead, Tatum has now scored in back-to-back games for the first time this year as she led her side to a 2-0 victory.

Kariong coach Haylie Eyers stated post-match that her side was unlucky not to find the back of the net as they now look to next week. “It’s always a competitive game against Southern & Ettalong. We still have many players out with injuries, however, this week showed we are starting to connect well with each other. We were unfortunate not to score in the game but we are looking forward to next week.” 

Wyong 5 – Woongarrah 3

Wyong got the second win of their returned WPL campaign, edging out Woongarrah with a 5-3 win.

It was very much a game of two halves this past Sunday at Baker Park as Woongarrah had their best start of the season so far with Nyah Small breaking Woongarrah goalless start to the season with goals in the 9th and 11th minute to give the Wildcats an early 2-0 lead. Wyong started the game very slow and could not find a grove at all in the first 45 minutes as they went into the break 2-0 down in front of a home crowd.

Woongarrah did not commence the second half with the same level of intensity as Wyong came out a different team and were able to find themselves on the scoresheet early after the break thanks to Piper Menteith who took the game to 2-1. Woongarrah looked to reassemble as they created plenty of scoring opportunities to increase the lead once again. It was Nyah once again who got the Wildcats back their 2-goal cushion after getting her first-ever hattrick 13 minutes into the second half. From then on, Woongarrah experienced a defensive lapse in concentration and the opposition to full advantage of this. Wyong got their second of the match when Jess Peachey scored off a corner. Moments later, Wyong were handed a golden opportunity to level the game after attacker Piper Menteith was fouled in the box and awarded a penalty. Sarah Whitehouse stepped up for her side and converted to take the game back on level terms at 3-3. Wyong would take their lead for the first time of the match when Georgia Davis scored for her side before Piper Menteith would go on to score her second for the day and put the game to bed at 5-3.

“Although the final score was disappointing, we need to draw on a positive point, that we are now converting our scoring opportunities into goals, which is something we have struggled with for the first 5 rounds,” added Woongarrah coach Dave Hurley post-match.

Wyong coach Paul Halton was happy with the way his side fought back after a very substandard first half. “I was disappointed in our first half, but the girls showed their quality with some great football in the second half.”

Killarney 2 – East Gosford 0

Another clean sheet win over the Rams 2-0 ensures Killarney remain within touching distance of the top 4.

With the sun setting in East Gosford’s face in the first half, Killarney looked to take full advantage as they created great opportunities to take the lead. Killarney had multiple corners in the first half where they looked very dangerous but to East Gosford’s credit, they defended extremely well to keep the Terriers out. The first 45 minutes of action remained 0-0 as the halftime whistle sounded.

East Gosford started the second half a lot stronger as they had multiple early attacking raids, but the Killarney defence held strong. 20 minutes into the second half, Killarney found their opening goal through Jess Andrews whose great strike gave Killarney a 1-0 advantage. East Gosford continued to attack in search of finding an equaliser as the Rams pushed more bodies forward, this allowed Killarney to have success on the counterattack and would double their lead through Bethany Hogg who was able to find the back of the net for her side. Killarney saw out the rest of the game as they were awarded with a 2-0 win and 3 crucial points.

“It was a hard-fought win by Killarney who are yet to reach their full potential,” stated Killarney’s Adam Tait after full time.

WPL Leading Goal Scorers –

11Kate Styles (Umina)
9Taylor Thackray (Gosford)
8Madelene Yates (Gosford)
5Hannah Batten (Umina), Piper Menteith (Wyong)
4Jessica Dominello (Gosford), Hayls Ballard (Kanwal), Tatum Ansiewicz (Southern)

WPL Reserve Grade Results –

WPL Points Table –

WPL Club Championship –

WPL Round 7 Fixtures –

Written by Adam Blunden.