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Doyalson Wyee 0 – 4 Southern & Ettalong

Our match of the round this week returned to James Browne Oval, where third-placed Doyalson-Wyee Wolves faced off against second-place Southern & Ettalong United in Women’s Division One action.

The prior two meetings between these sides were tight affairs, and both went Southern’s way 3-2 and 4-3, so the scene was set for a close contest, and in the first half, that’s exactly what played out. However, in the second half, Southern’s quality would shine through, and they would end up winners by a clear margin.

In the opening stages, both teams steadily got into their shapes and laid out their game plans. Doyalson set up to strike with counterattacks down their wings, while Southern played a more fluid approach, allowing their talisman, Letisha McCormack, to roam along the front three and pick her moments to strike.

This meant the majority of the first half was played with Southern on the front foot, and despite a handful of flurries from the Wolves, it was United that took the advantage.

The opening goal came when McCormack positioned herself down the left flank, driving towards the goal line; she skilfully kept the ball out of reach from the Doyalson defenders before putting in a picture-perfect cross onto the head of Elaine McConaghey unmarked in the middle of the box, who headed it home smartly into a corner leaving Tru Parker no chance in the Doyalson goal and making it 1-0.

Doyalson would almost instantly strike back when Levi Cameron used her pace to get in behind the Southern high defensive line, but their keeper Morgan Ross would rush to meet her just on the edge of the box and safely clear the ball before Cameron could strike. 

This warning sign showed precisely what the Wolves wanted to do: they wanted to use their speed to get into positions where Southern couldn’t keep up. 

But on the other side of the ball, McCormack was causing all sorts of issues for the Doyalson defence, as did a series of corners taken by Southern’s Emily Trengrove that both sides battled to get onto around the 6-yard box.

This pressure led to one of the most captivating performances of the game from Doyalson’s left-back, Hannah Moreau, who marked up against McCormack any time she ran down the right wing. Their match-up was an entertaining one within the game itself, as they both got the better of each other on different occasions. 

In the midst of this, McCormack would almost add her name to the scoresheet when her teammate Madison Waddle got behind the Doyalson line and into the box where she met Parker, who prevented her shot with her feet but before she could scramble to it with her hands, McCormack chipped the ball just over the bar keeping the scoreline 1-0.

The Wolves played better in the back end of the half, primarily through Heidi Smidt down their right wing, who managed to get the better of the Southern line more than once. Unfortunately for them, however, they struggled to find the final ball into the box, leaving their striker, Ashely Sweetnam, isolated for the most part.

This saw no further clear-cut chances fall anyone’s way, ending the first half 1-0.

From the resumption of the game, Southern came out even more aggressive in attack. Beginning the half, back-to-back shots from McCormack and Trengrove both went just over the crossbar, leaving Doyalson looking slightly shellshocked.

As a result of this start, McCormack finally got the ball into the back of the net herself. It happened when she got the ball cutting inside from the right wing, she beat her defender and dribbled into the centre of the box, where she made no mistake in sending the ball to the bottom corner finishing off a spectacular goal and making it 2-0. 

With the halftime plan now out the window, Doyalson decided to change their approach, dropping Sweetnam back and playing with what looked to be two strikers instead of a front three, and it almost instantly paid off. 

Sweetnam, now playing in more of a ten role, found herself much more involved, allowing her to pull the strings brilliantly in the midfield. She pulled off a 1-2 with Smidt and unleashed her down the right, ultimately leading to a shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and somehow stayed out of the goal.

It may not have gone in, but for this brief period, Doyalson’s attack looked sparked to life, which made what happened next all the more unfortunate for the Wolves.

In an attempt to keep up the pace in transition, the Doyalson defence attempted to dribble the ball out of the box, where it was pinched by an ever-aware McCormack, who punished the mistake with her second of the afternoon, running from halfway into the half towards the box where she smartly curled it home making it 3-0 and securing her brace. 

At this point, it felt that anything Doyalson did, Southern instantly found the answer to. Even with the Wolves finding ways to break their lines and get through, they never panicked and always managed to get back and maintain their clean sheet. 

With this confidence from playing so well at the back, they spurred themselves forward for one final goal, this time with Hannah Davidson breaking the Doyalson line on a counterattack. 

It was tight, but no offside was called, leaving her clean through on goal. There, she encountered Parker, who not long before made an excellent save to keep Davidson out, but not this time around, as it became 4-0 with another cool finish from Southern.

This was enough to see the game out, with Southern ending up clear victors as they cemented their status in second place on the ladder, the game ending 4-0.

Talking to Southern coach Emmanual Papi, he noted his team’s composure and credited his captains for ensuring his team could play out as well as they did for the entire match.

“I think Doyalson came out of the blocks strong and played a decent pressing game, but unlike last time we played them, we held our composure and executed the gameplan to the letter”, Papi said.

“I think our leadership group led by captain Bonnie Hoye and Elaine McConaghey as the vice-captain have done a fantastic job in keeping the girls piling on the pressure for the full ninety”.

While Doyalson coach Ryan Tanti rued that his side couldn’t take their chances but paid respect to his opposition for playing a great game. 

“We are much better than the scoreline says today” Tanti began.

“But congratulations to Southern, they played great football especially their number 5 (McCormack) 

“She played great and scored a screamer of a goal”.

Match Official – Janakan Seemampillai

Written by Mark Goodyear

Women’s Division 1 Results 

Men’s Division 1 Results