For 80 minutes at Myamblah Oval, it seemed like Adamstown were going to walk away with three points in the homeland of the local rivals Merewether.
The Rosebuds headed into the half break locked at 1-1 with United, after Elodie Dagg had opened the scoring in the Round 4 clash, before a Nicki Jones corner kick floated straight into Adamstown’s net to level the scores.
Adamstown dangerwoman Chelsea Lucas put the away side back into the lead in the second half, with a moment of magic putting her side back in control.
Then W-League superstar Rhali Dobson struck just ten minutes out from the final whistle, levelling the score, before a second for Jones put the defending champions into the lead for the first time, and slipped all three points into the host’s pockets.
Rosebuds coach Paul Devitis said he “could not believe it” after the rapid fire double closed out the match and snatched three points from his team’s clutches.
“We were winning!” he said after the match. “It’s one of those games that you’re just gutted after if you’re involved in, I felt so bad for the girls because they had defended so well. When the third went in it was just like “no”, absolute heartbreaking stuff.”
“That said, there’s a lot of positives for us to take out of the match. We have spoken about working on our shape because we’ve conceded a lot of goals so far, and jeez we were fantastic at that.
“We held them comfortably in the first half, to head into the break 1-1 was great for us, especially considering their one goal was straight off a corner and ours was scored from open play. We were happy overall because it was 7-1 at the half last week and we went in feeling really good at 1-1.”
Devitis revealed after the late defeat that he and the team had a post-match team talk and decided the game had been rife with positives despite it appearing on the record as a loss.
“We had a chat and everyone I think is in good spirits because of how well we played across 80 minutes,” he explained. “To be an elite team we just have to stretch out that performance that we had to 90 minutes. We got very close.”
“The game showed us that our self-belief isn’t misplaced, we have a lot of confidence that we can really get wins and draws if we continue to improve and play our game. The girls know that was a top four team we played against and we nearly got points, so we now want to harness that momentum from the game and get points going forward.”
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Merewether coach Cass Koppen, who did in the end walk away with three points for her side, simply said it was “far too close” after the match finished.
“I think we were far too complacent heading into the game, we looked a little fatigued and didn’t stick to indvidiual roles,” the Llamas coach said. “We almost suffered as a result.”
“It was a lacking performance really, but I think full credit to the girls for coming back from being behind 2-1. It showed our overall composure to be able to get a result in that final fifteen minutes.
“Our experience showed, we didn’t panic and we realised we’d been in pressure situations like this before, and bigger moments like the finals, and we knew we had what it took to come from behind and get those key three points.”
Elsewhere on the weekend, Tara Andrews and Lauren Allan bagged doubles against Wallsend to score New Lambton a historic first victory on the streamed BarTV Sports match of the round. The Eagles notched a 4-1 win at Arthur Edden Oval to retain their top spot heading into the fifth week.
Football Mid North Coast secured their first points of the season with a 2-0 win over a ten-woman Thornton at Taree Zone Field. The Redbacks were forced to play short after a red card just ahead of the half-break dropped their player count.
Jenna Doyle converted the penalty chance that came with the send-off in the 45th minute, and Jessica James clinched the win with a 90th minute second for the Middies.
Finally, South Wallsend were swept aside by a dominant Warners Bay at Walkers Field, with the Panthers downing the Wolves 6-1.
Attacking midfielders Shannon Day and Jenna Kingsley combined for a brace apiece, while Nadja Squires scored one of her own and forced an own goal off a flying twenty-metre free kick into the eighteen yard box. Mary-Jane Mason scored a consolation goal for the home side.
STANDINGS: New Lambton (12), Warners Bay, Merewether (9), South Wallsend (6), Wallsend, Mid North Coast (3), Thornton, Adamstown (0).