As the first round of the Herald Women’s Premier League draws to a close, Wallsend have earned themselves a lopsided 6-1 win and kept hold of fourth place seven games into the 2019 season.
It “wasn’t champagne football” according to Wallsend’s Brad Jones, but the team confirmed three points as Westfield W-League midfielder Libby Copus-Brown guided the Red Devils to their five-goal win with a blistering hat-trick.
Adamstown’s forward Annika D’Amico was the first off the mark at Wallsend Park on Easter Sunday, putting the Rosebuds into the lead away from home. Copus-Brown answered back immediately, scoring off the kickoff with a rampaging run before prodding it into the back of Adamstown’s net. A second followed minutes later, and the floodgates opened.
Alongside Copus-Brown’s hat-trick, Georgia Little, Danielle Nicol, and Kayla Pisani all got on the scoresheet for fourth-placed Wallsend. In the physical battle, the Red Devils’ W-League midfielder stood tall, and inspired the rest of the team to the win, Jones said.
“Libby was sensational, we’ve been looking to get her into a leading role this year, and we put that to her as a challenge,” Jones said.
“She’s loving it, and pushed us on completely today, which was especially important considering I don’t think it was our best performance.
“I’m really happy to see we were able to put six into the back of the net despite not being at our best, there’s not a single team that’s successful that plays perfect footy all year round. It’s good to see that we have that in us.”
Jones also laid praise on the Adamstown team that his side had warded away at Wallsend Park, and believes the Rosebuds – as well as Thornton and Mid North Coast – will all have the capacity to play queenmaker roles throughout 2019.
“There’s a bit of a gap between the top five and the bottom three at the moment, but I think the games against Adamstown, Middies, and Thornton will be season defining,” the Red Devils boss said. “You can’t underestimate those teams or you’ll slip for sure.
“The top five teams are going to take points off each other throughout the season, and it’ll be how the teams respond to playing those three strong teams at the other end that will decide the end-shape of finals.”
Despite tumbling to the loss with a five-goal deficit, Rosebuds coach Paul Devitis said he took a lot of positives out of the defeat. A few “softer goals” changed the shape of the game, and saw a possible result slip out of their grasp, the Buds boss believes.
“We were 1-nil up and then they scored off the kickoff, then got another softish goal and it just changed everything for us,” Devitis said.
“We keep conceding these very soft goals that are easily avoidable, and that puts us under so much unnecessary pressure.
“It’s a bit strange to say, but overall I think there were a lot of positives for us, and just getting frustrated kind of set the tempo. I think maybe on another day, considering the chances we created early, we win that game.”
Elsewhere on Easter Sunday, Warners Bay locked clear second heading into the next round of the WPL off the back of a 5-2 win over Football Mid North Coast at John Street Oval.
The home side exploded out of the blocks in the second half, grabbing five goals in a twenty-minute spree that shocked the travelling Middies. Braces for Nadja Squires and Jenna Kingsley, as well as one more chipped in by player-coach Cassidy Davis, put the result beyond doubt for 2018’s minor premiers.
“It was a slow game from us, we conceded some silly goals as well, but credit to Middies because they came to us to get a result and made sure it took us a while to get going,” midfielder Cassidy Davis said.
““We’ve had some good games so far, and some poor games and those poor ones have put us where we deserve to be in the standings. Hopefully, after this win, we can sit down and go over what we need to do to be better, and come out winning the next round.”
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The shock of the round on Easter Sunday nearly came at Thornton Park, as the cellar-dwelling Redbacks inched within a single goal of scoring a massive result against an undefeated New Lambton team.
Although the final scoreline favoured the Eagles, Thornton boss Alan Primmer is sure the narrow 3-2 win may have left New Lambton coach Keelan Hamilton “sweating a little” as he and his team returned home.
Stacey Day scored once for the Eagles, while Georgia Amess netted twice. Susan Randall and Nikita Bestwick both scored for the Redbacks.
Finally, in the final game played out on Easter Sunday an injured Merewether outfit fell to a landslide of goals from an ever-improving South Wallsend side. A hat-trick for Ashlee Brodigan set the pace, while doubles for Gemma Harrison and Matildas regular Gema Simon put the result beyond doubt for the home side.
STANDINGS: New Lambton (21), Warners Bay (15), South Wallsend, Wallsend, Merewether (12), Mid North Coast (6), Adamstown, Thornton (0).