2023 National Youth Championships for Girls Under-14s Semi-Final Wrap

Northern NSW Football’s under-14s girls' team put up a strong fight but were downed 4-0 against Victoria in the under-14s semi-final on Thursday in Wollongong.

The squad had an overall successful week but was unable to continue their winning momentum in the final stages of the tournament.

Victoria came out of the blocks with a score to settle, after going down to Northern NSW 3-0 earlier in the week.

Alexis Pantazopoulos from Victoria opened the scoring in the sixth minute, after breaking through Northern NSW’s defensive line and going one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Northern NSW had their chances but were unable to make it even before Victoria struck again in the 15th minute when Madeline Darragah’s free kick outside the penalty area soared into the back of the net.

Leyla Hussein added to Victoria’s gaol tally again in the 19th minute, after slicing the goal past the defenders and goalkeeper.

In the 24th minute, Northern NSW’s Pheobe Oliver made an important and perfectly timed tackle to deny Victoria from extending their advantage.

The Northern NSW side came out more determined in the second half, looking to finish the tournament on a high. Second half substitute goalkeeper Caoimhe Bray made multiple top-shelf saves to help keep her side in the fight.

Despite NNSWF pushing to open their scoring account for the afternoon, the game was put to bed after Pantazopoulos scored in the 47th minute.

NNSWF’s under-14s coach Ben Horgan was disappointed with the result but proud of the player’s efforts throughout the week.

“The match today was a tough one, it didn’t go the way we planned and it is certainly not a reflection of the week we have had,” Horgan said.

“It was tough at half-time to get back into it but I thought the girls gave the second half a good crack and we managed to get into better positions on the pitch and create some chances. The girls never gave up but on the day Victoria was too good for us.

“Overall, it has been a really positive week. Every player has had moments on the pitch where they have shown the potential to play at a higher level and higher.”

“The performances from individuals throughout the whole squad. Everyone has had moments where they have shown their potential to play at high levels. There are lots of learnings to take from the week, you don’t often get exposure to such a high level of competition day after day. It’s a really good experience for the players.”

“It’s now about players taking back what they have learnt and working at it to produce that level consistently.”

The under-16s side will face NSW Metro in the semi-final on Thursday afternoon.