Sophie O'Brien (Wallsend) and Kirstyn Pearce (South Wallsend) lift for an aerial duel at The Gardens on Sunday. Image via Hunter Sports Photography.

The highly anticipated Wallsend Derby saw the home side lost out, with Wallsend falling from a strong 1-nil opening to a 3-1 loss against arch-rivals South Wallsend. However, the Wolves’ victory exacted a heavy toll, as three of their key players suffered injury, and two of those were rushed to hospital after Sunday’s clash.

The Red Devils started strong, dominating the first half of the BarTV-televised match at The Gardens. The home side grabbed the first goal of the clash after South Wallsend ‘keeper Jess Sanderson rushed out for a clearance, which quickly rebounded and was pounced on by Devils’ striker Laura Hall in front of an open net.

“We knew they would come out hard in the first half,” Wolves coach Cas Wright said. “It was our weakest half, and basically we were a bit rattled and had to make some changes that ended up not working either.”

The game took a turn when Southy player Gabby Deacon was rush to hospital following an injury after contesting a ball on the sideline. Despite this, the side lifted with Maryjane Mason scoring an equaliser jright before the half-time whistle.

“We regrouped at half time as we always do, and resettled before the girls went back out,” Wright said. “I think posession was better, ball play was better, and our positional play was better at giving us more opportunities to score in the first half.

“I was happy with how our reserve grade came on. I think they do a good enough job to keep us going and they did that today. Sam [Lazrovski] came on and nearly played two full games, so I’m pretty stoked with her efforts.”

Wallsend’s control continued to slip, when star striker Ashlee Brodigan scored two screamers just three minutes apart. The efforts ultimately secured the win for the Wolves.

Red Devils coach Brad Jones said he was happy with his team’s efforts, but believes their decision-making in those vital sections of the match “needs some work.”

“The whole team is showing what they have in a football sense, but we’re just not getting there with that game-sense,” he said. “We have fifty/fifty decisions go against us, and that’s the difference because we can’t keep our momentum when we don’t get in the mix for those.”

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Along with Deacon, Ash Brodigan was taken to hospital after the match with a concussion, and Maddy Thorton also suffered injuries from the highly physical match. Wright said the injuries have “put a dent in the team,” but believes their depth is good enough to continue climbing the ladder.

“I just hope all our injuries aren’t too serious and we can get back out there and take the number two spot next week,” she said.

Tara Andrews returned for league leaders New Lambton on Sunday after a handful of weeks away, and netted four in the 7-nil landslide. Image via Hunter Sports Photography.

Round 10 also saw New Lambton also stay undefeated with a 7-0 victory against Adamstown at No.2 Oval. The victory was overshadowed however, Eagles boss Keelan Hamilton said, by the “poor state” of the field both star-studded sides had to run out on for the Sunday afternoon match.

“It was the biggest disappointment of the game, to have to play on a sub-par field like that, especially when the hame has talent like former Matilda striker Tara Andrews in the mix, really devalues the competition and shows no respect for the players,” Hamilton said.

Also on Sunday afternoon, Merewether knocked eight past a travelling Football Mid North Coast side to win 8-nil, with Rhali Dobson and Leah Guiffre both claiming hat-tricks in the rout, while Thornton fell in a 6-1 clash with second-placed Warners Bay.

STANDINGS: New Lambton (27), Warners Bay (24), South Wallsend (21), Merewether (18), Wallsend (15), Mid North Coast (6), Adamstown (3), Thornton (0).

I'm a 19 year old student at the University of Newcastle, studying a Bachelor of Communication majoring in Journalism. I grew up on the Mid North Coast, where I developed a love for soccer, surfing and writing.