Broadmeadow have finally got off the mark in the Women's Premier League thanks to a late winner from Maddie Dean at Magic Park. Image via Valentine Sports Photography.

Maddie Dean left it late for Broadmeadow, as the returning Women’s Premier League giants downed defending champions New Lambton in a 2–1 comeback win at Magic Park on Sunday afternoon to celebrate their competition return.

The 21-year-old popped up in the 88th minute to break the two-goal deadlock between the two league heavy-hitters. The victory secured the former league champions Broadmeadow their first three-point success of the 2020 season.

New Lambton had opened the scoring early through a long-range cracker from Taylah Bryde outside the 18-yard-box. The Eagles then threatened to choke Magic out of the game in the club’s first match back in the region’s top-flight league.

Chelsea Lucas, one of the league’s breakout starlets, was the first to score for the home side. Then, with the minutes draining away, Dean popped up amidst a Broadmeadow set-piece to tap home the winner for Magic.

It was “so exciting” to be able to tuck home the winner after so much time waiting, Dean told the Women’s Chronicle, but at that moment, she admits she “blacked out a little” as she drilled home the deciding goal.

“At the time, everything happened so quickly. I remember thinking to myself ‘this just has to go in, this has to go in!’ and I nearly willed it over the line,” she laughed.

“I even shanked a few earlier in the game too so that was really good to get one away. I was really excited, we’d been pushing so hard and really wanted the win. To get our first win like that is really nice, we didn’t want to lose!

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“Their goal was a bomb, it was a good goal, but we showed so much resilience to come back from that. We had a lot of chances that didn’t work and got flustered. I’m so happy we showed we can push to literally the last few minutes.”

Magic have kicked off their season with a bang thanks to Dean’s late winner.

Dean joined Magic in the offseason, and has been preparing for her Women’s Premier League debut with the returning Broadmeadow outfit for a little longer than she planned. When she finally did get out on Magic Park, she said it was “really special.”

“The whole club has been really welcoming, it’s a new club for me and you never really know how that’s going to go, but everything here has been so amazing. The fans at the game were really great too, it was amazing,” she said.

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The 21-year-old was able to repay the fans’ support throughout the 90 minutes with a late winner, and she couldn’t be happier. The win fires Magic up the ladder into the mid-table mix, and gives them a chance to kick on in their congested short season.

“I think it would have been harder to go into the next round if we didn’t win, so it was really good for us to be able to walk away from the opener [which brought to an end a preseason coach Jake Curley described as “the longest ever”] with the confidence that we can win, and that we can fight back too,” she said.

Elsewhere, Adamstown retained their control at the top of the standings with a cagey 0–0 draw with inner-city rivals Merewether. Olivia Sneddon kept the early pacesetters in the contest with a number of critical saves at Adamstown Oval.

United enjoyed the lion’s share of chances, though none were able to find the back of the net. Rhali Dobson and Lori Depczynski were both denied by the woodwork while Katy Gray couldn’t find her way past Sneddon, who pulled off a point-blank save.

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Ryan Campbell, who has guided the young Buds to an undefeated start to their 2020 campaign, said he was “really happy” with how the girls played against their red-and-white rivals in the third round.

“I was really happy with how the girls played and performed. It was a tough game,” he told NNSWF after the goalless draw. “If you had of asked me before the season if I would have taken a point? Yeah, I would have taken a point at this stage in the season.”

Adamstown have been this season’s surprise package so far. The Buds finished 6th in 2019.

Mid North Coast was another Women’s Premier League side to get off to a flying start in the restart round. The northern combined outfit put five past Thornton at Taree Zone Field on Sunday, including four from offseason signing Courtney Anderson.

Newcastle also got back to winning ways after losing to Merewether ahead of the COVID-19 delay back in March. Jemma House guided the second-placed team to a 4–0 victory over Warners Bay away from home to net a valuable three points.

STANDINGS: Adamstown (7), Newcastle (6), Merewether (5), Broadmeadow, Warners Bay, Mid North Coast (3), New Lambton (1), Thornton (0).