NPL Women’s NNSW Round Five Review: Magpies soar into second spot, while Azzurri upset Olympic

Match of the Round:  
Maitland FC 15-0 Mid Coast FC  

Mid Coast FC coach Amanda Langlar is pleased with her side’s improvement despite suffering a heavy 15-0 defeat to Maitland FC on Sunday afternoon. 

The visitors travelled to Cooks Square Park off the back of four defeats in as many matches and were unable to turn their fate around against the Magpies. 

Maitland was without eight of their usual squad members but were ruthless in attack and across the pitch. 

Bronte Peel broke the deadlock in the third minute before captain Sophie Stapleford scored back-to-back goals in the 18th and 20th minute. 

Things went from bad to worse for Middies when defender Lulu McGrath was forced from the field in the 23rd minute with a leg cork. 

In the 29th minute, Ella McDonald netted two goals in 60 seconds before Peel scored her second of the afternoon six minutes later. 

The Magpies netted two more in stoppage time of the first half, as Stapleford and Peel secured a hat-trick each. 

McDonald made the scoreline 9-0 in the first minute of the second half before Georgia Williams scored two goals in two minutes. 

Peel netted her fourth and fifth goal of the afternoon before teammate Sophie Jones put two more into the back of the net to take the final score to 15-0. 

But Langlar remains positive about her young team’s growth so far this year, with only one player over the age of 18 taking to the pitch on Sunday. 

“I think we are developing and improving,” Langlar said.

“We were always going to have a development and rebuild season this year after we lost around 14 players from our squad.

“All of the girls have stepped up and are willing to work hard. These young girls are adjusting to the speed and the physicality of the competition.”

Middies coach said that they focus on more than just the scoreline and praise her player’s continued positivity throughout the tough start to the season. 

“The scoreline is a bit irrelevant for us. Yesterday’s scoreline was harsh and of course, the girls were very disappointed in the dressing sheds,” Langlar said. 

“But none of them want to quit and these results make them more determined to do better.

“They are all so young so we keep it as positive as possible but still hold them accountable for their mistakes. We encourage the girls to be brave, to make mistakes and show them that they are capable.”

The Magpies' coach Keelan Hamilton was thrilled with his side’s performance and that the depth in his squad was able to shine. 

“I was really pleased with how the group performed,” Hamilton said. 

“We had a lot of players unavailable and had some of our younger girls coming in to make their first grade debuts. They all performed really strongly and our senior players led from the front.

“I think that what was more pleasing other than the scoreline was the performance of our young players and seeing them take on what we have been talking to them about and working on within training.” 

Hamilton is pleased to secure another three points early in their 2024 campaign and hopes the depth builds some healthy competition within his squad. 

“I think the way that we are performing is more important and will lead you to winning matches but it is important to win games.

“I think that it’s a good thing having young players that are able to put pressure on the people who are ahead of them and also good for the future of this club in the sense that we have a number of players that will be here for a really long time.” 

The win moved Maitland up into second spot on the table, one point behind league leaders Broadmeadow Magic. The Magpies will be eager to keep their hot streak alive after the Easter long weekend when they travel to Alder Park to face New Lambton FC. 

Mid Coast remain on the bottom of the table with zero points and will be desperate to get a result when they host Charlestown Azzurri after a week off in the competition.  

Newcastle Olympic 0-2 Charlestown Azzurri  

Charlestown Azzurri’s coach Heath Whyte is proud of how his young guns stunned Newcastle Olympic with a 2-0 victory on Saturday afternoon. 

The 2023 van Egmond Medal winner Cassie Corder opened the scoring at Darling Street Oval in the final minute of the first half. Olympic were unable to clear a corner kick and the ball fell to the feet of Corder who taped the ball into the back of the net. 

The Blues doubled their advantage in the 55th minute when Ella Joyce netted her seventh of the season. 

Olympic defender Jess Evans attempted to head the ball that was crossed into the penalty area away but it landed in the path of Joyce who stuck her boot through it and smashed the ball into the back of the net. 

Craig Atkins’ side had an opportunity to claw their way back into the game in the 75th minute when they were awarded a penalty when Taylah Gray brought Kiera Bainsfair down inside the penalty area. Dagg was given two chances at the spot kick but was unable to hit the back of the net either time. 

The first attempt was saved by Gray but had to be retaken as outfield players stepped inside the penalty area before the ball had been kicked. In Dagg’s second spot kick she hit the post before launching the ball towards goal for a third time but it was strongly punched away by Gray. 

Whyte was thrilled with the efforts from his young squad to shut down Olympic’s attacking threats. 

“I am really proud of how the girls played,” Whyte said. 

“Defensively, we were excellent and on the ball, we were quite sharp. It was something that we worked on throughout the week as it was an area we had let ourselves down in the past couple of weeks.

“Two of our young midfielders Khyra Dickey and Chloe Catley stepped up into first grade and were a tenacious couple in the middle of the park. They played beyond their years.

“Special mention to our backline as well as they defended brilliantly.” 

The three points moved Azzurri up into third on the table with three 10 points which Whyte believed is a big confidence boost for his side. 

“We executed the game plan and got three points which is great for confidence,” Whyte said. 

“We looked just as sharp at the final whistle as we did from the first.

“Early results are essential as you will be counting on them at the back end of the season.”

Azzurri will hope to continue their winning form when the competition returns in two weeks, as they travel to take on Mid Coast FC, while Olympic will face a big test when they go head-to-head with Broadmeadow Magic at Magic Park.  

Adamstown Rosebud JFC 2-0 New Lambton FC  

Adamstown Rosebud defied the odds when they defeated New Lambton FC 2-0 on Saturday night. 

The two sides started off quite even at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility as each created multiple chances early into the match. 

Adamstown suffered a major blow when they were reduced to 10 players after their goalkeeper Janali Hunter was sent off in the 23rd minute. Hunter flew off her line and took out New Lambton attacker Jessica Terry without the ball outside of the penalty area. 

As Adamstown lost their number one goalkeeper Olivia Sneddon through injury last week, they had no option but to put outfield player Tayna Jones between the posts for the rest of the match. 

Jones was thrown into action straight away as the Golden Eagles tried to capitalise but the striker-turned-shot-stopper kept calm and refused to let the ball go into the back of the net.

Rosebud shocked New Lambton in the 42nd minute as Tori Johnson opened the scoring. The midfielder received the ball and as Johnson turned, chipped the ball from outside the penalty area and over Ally Boertje and into the goal. 

The momentum remained with the home side as Johnson struck again in the 58th minute. Johnson ran onto a ball from in behind to beat her defender and slice the ball low and hard into the back of the net to secure three points for her side. 

The win sees Adamstown move up to fifth on the table with six points as New Lambton slide down to sixth on three points. 

Rosebud will hope to continue their form after the Easter long weekend off when they travel to John Street Oval to face Warners Bay, while New Lambton will be eager to bounce back when they return home to Alder Park to take on Maitland FC.  

Warners Bay FC 1-6 Broadmeadow Magic  

It was a fairytale finish for star striker Adrianna Konjarski as her side Broadmeadow Magic defeated Warners Bay FC 1-6 in her final match of the season.

The news broke last week that the weekend’s match against her former club would be her final game of the season, with the announcement that she would be hanging up her boots for the foreseeable future. 

The striker got to end her season on a high at John Street Oval, with a dominant performance shown from her side that saw Magic remain at the top of the table after five rounds. 

Tahlor Thackray opened the scoring for Magic in the 25th minute before Konjarski hit the back of the net for the final time this season just before half-time. 

Chelsea Lucas tripled Magic’s advantage in the 49th minute before Kobie Ferguson extended their lead once again less than 10 minutes later.

Magic got themselves on the scoresheet once again in the 70th minute after Thackray netted her second of the afternoon before captain Kalista Hunter made the score 6-0 quickly after.

The Panthers clawed one back in the 76th minute when substitute Brooke Wallis hit the back of the net but it was too little too late for them as the final score remained 6-1. 

Magic head into the Easter long weekend break, one point clear at the top of the table and will return home after the week off to host Newcastle Olympic. 

The Panthers will be desperate to turn things around when they go head-to-head with Adamstown Rosebud JFC after this weekend’s break in competition.