MATCH OF THE ROUND
Kanwal v East Gosford
WPL Round 8 Match of the Round will see two top competitors Kanwal and East Gosford clash at Wadalba Sports Complex.
Kanwal will enjoy their 5th consecutive home game this weekend as they welcome tough competition once again. Although the Bulls are currently sat in 7th place, they have the opportunity to jump East Gosford if they can come out victorious over the Rams this weekend. These two sides faced in the Association Cup earlier this year and on that day, it was a stalemate between the two sides when the game finished 0-0. Expect another close encounter as Kanwal are desperate to regain a spot at the upper end of the competition.
Kanwal’s Hayls Ballard expects an extremely resilient East Gosford side this weekend. “We know East Gosford will be tough, we played them in the cup, and they had a lot to give, so we need to make sure we focus on our own game and execute well. They will be looking for points and at the moment so are we! The 7 rounds so far for us have been good although we don’t believe we are a 7th placed team. Jen and I are happy with the last four performances, but we have only gotten one win, but some solid football was played and at the end of the day our execution in front of the goal is what’s holding us back. It’s something we are working on and hopefully, we can turn it around this weekend!”
East Gosford will be hoping they can put together back-to-back wins for the first time since the opening 2 rounds with a win come Sunday. East Gosford have not had the best of luck this year as they have had to deal with multiple injuries to multiple key players, this has caused inconsistency of results and a lack of confidence between the squad. Jorge Chavez will be hoping his team and continue on last week’s clean sheet performance but knows how dangerous this Kanwal side can be.
“Two massive games this weekend, but with some inconsistent results from Kanwal this year, it’s difficult to know what to expect this Sunday. What I do know is that they have some dangerous players and have the potential to play some great football, hence we will have to be on the top of our game if we want to walk away with the six points on offer. Our squad is almost back to full strength, so we are slowly looking to gain some momentum going into the second half of the season. Besides the overly talented Gosford squad, the rest of the team are so evenly matched and it’s such a great season for the rest of the teams fighting for those top four spots hence why the six points this weekend is huge.”
Woongarrah v Southern & Ettalong
Both Woongarrah and Southern & Ettalong are coming off a 4-0 loss in Round 7 as these clubs look to get back to scoring ways when they clash on Sunday.
It’s been a far from ideal start for Dave Hurley’s Woongarrah side who are still yet to pick up any first-grade points after the opening 7 games. It wasn’t until round 6 that the Wildcats got their first goals of the year with all 3 goals on that day coming from Nyah Small as they lost 5-3 to Wyong. After facing tough opposition in Umina, the following week, Woongarrah could not keep that momentum going as they remained scoreless for the 6th game this year, but Dave’s side will be hopeful they can find the back of the net this week in front of a home crowd as their opponent Southern possess the most goals conceded out of the top 7 clubs.
A win for Southern this weekend could see them go as high as 3rd on the ladder as they only sit 3 points behind 3rd place Terrigal. The Southern WPL side is coming off the first loss that they haven’t been able to score in since all the way back in round 1. This Southern side will be confident they can get back to scoring ways this weekend as they come up against the statistically worst defence in WPL, as Woongarrah have conceded 30 goals so far this year and are yet to keep a clean sheet. Southern have also beaten this week’s opposition 3 times in the last year including a win over the Wildcats in the Mate Association Cup earlier this year.
Umina v Terrigal
With only 1 point currently separating these two teams, this weekend is a battle between 2nd and 3rd place as Umina hosts Terrigal in round 8.
Umina bounced back strong after their first loss of the year came by the hands of Gosford in round 6, with an almost flawless 4-0 win over Woongarrah the following week. This week is going to be no easy challenge for the E-Gals as they come up against Terrigal who boasts the leagues 2nd best defence behind Gosford, only conceding 6 goals total this year but Umina will enter the match with Golden Boot leader Kate Styles who has already scored 13 goals in the competition so far, outscoring 5 total clubs in the league. Umina has Kate to thanks along with others as they enter the match up with the 2nd best-attacking record.
A win this weekend will see Terrigal overtake Umina and put the O’lasses clear in 2nd place. Terrigal’s last loss of the year also came on the road as they fell short to Kanwal 3-1. Terrigal enters the match not picking up a win over Steve Donaldson’s Umina side in their last 3 fixtures as they look the put an end to Umina’s run. Terrigal currently sits alone in 3rd place on 15 points but with 3 sides only 3 points behind them, a win for Terrigal will go a very long way in their hopes to play finals football again this year.
Gosford v Kariong
Round 8 will witness a battle of 1st vs equal last when unbeaten Gosford host winless Kariong at Gavenlock Oval.
Gosford have remarkable still not conceded a single goal since the opening round of the year against Wyong. The Dragons have recorded an exceptional 6 consecutive clean sheet in the competition and 7 if you add the Mate Association Cup Final. This is a testament to how good Pete Edward’s Gosford side truly is. Gosford currently sits 5 points clear of the rest of the competition as they remain unbeaten with a perfect 7 wins from 7 rounds. Gosford have the brilliance in their squad to remain the whole year unbeaten as they came so close last year but fell short on the final match of the regular season, no doubt the Dragons will be looking to make last year wrong, a right.
An injury-riddled Kariong side will have their hands full once again this weekend as they look to pick up their first points of the season and upset the 1st placed Gosford side. Kariong is coming off a 1-0 loss to East Gosford, that loss marks the 3rd time this year that Kariong have gone down by only 1 goal to the opposition so you can sense that their initial points aren’t far away. Kariong is yet to play with a full squad so their true potential as a squad has not be reached yet. Coach Haylie Eyers will be hoping it all comes together for her side this weekend as they look to hand Gosford their first loss.
Wyong v Killarney
Wyong will be on the lookout for their 3rd win of the season as they welcome a Killarney side who will look to retain a top 5 spot with another win come Sunday.
Wyong was held scoreless for the first time this year last weekend as they came out second-best to Terrigal in a 4-0 loss. Despite being 6 points behind their opposition this weekend, Wyong have scored almost double the number of goals that Killarney have recorded this year with Wyong registering 13 goals total compared to Killarney’s 7. Wyong will be hoping to follow up on their last home game when they came out 5-3 victors with another win in front of a home crowd in round 8.
Killarney’s remarkable stat to the start of the season continues after 7 rounds. Adam Tait’s side has kept a clean sheet in every match they have won (4) but in every one of their losses (3), they have failed to record a single goal for in those games. It seems the key for Killarney this year is to score first if they want to walk away with the 3 points. Killarney currently sits on 12 points along with 2 other teams (East Gosford, Southern) and another win this weekend will help the Terriers to solidify a finals spot. Although despite the fact they are sitting in the equal 4th spot, Killarney have the 3rd least number of goals scored in the WPL competition this year, having only scored 7 goals in 7 rounds.
Written by Adam Blunden.