Thornton’s first ever victory over Adamstown in the Women’s Premier League has seen them lift from the bottom of the ladder, after a goal from Sophie Milton in the dying moments of the match saw the Redbacks prevail 1-nil at Adamstown No.1 Oval.
The game was end-to-end for most of the match, with opportunities aplenty on Sunday afternoon between both sides. The first major chance of the game came in the 41st minute, when a free kick into the box struck a defender’s arm, giving Thornton a penalty.
Redbacks striker Ainsley Childs stepped up to take the kick, but Rosebuds’ keeper Olivia Sneddon denied the shot with an impressive save to keep both team’s level heading into the the half-time break.
The match began right back up at the same gear in the second half, with Childs denied a second time by Sneddon as the youngster found herself one-on-one with Adamstown’s shot stopper. The resulting tackle saw a second penalty awarded, but Childs’ second attempt from the spot was denied again by Sneddon, with some help from the post.
“Our keeper played a great game,” said Rosebud’s boss, Paul Devitis. “They were awarded two penalty shots in the box and to [Sneddon’s] credit she saved them both, it was an amazing performance from her.”
The Buds clawed back some chances, including a handful from “pocket-rocket” Chelsea Lucas, but her shots failed to find the back of the net to give the home side a much-sortafter advantage. It seemed injuries were all that were to come from the nil-all clash, with Adamstown losing Isabel Lauina late on in the battle.
Then a free-kick on the edge of Adamstown’s box offered Thornton one more chance. It was a chance they weren’t going to miss, as Sophie Milton latched onto the end of the floated change and nailed it into the top right-hand corner of the Buds’ goal.
Redbacks coach Alan Primmer said he was thrilled by the “fightback” his girls showed, as well as their resilience to stay in the contest despite things going against them.
“The girls really pushed hard today and it just shows where we are at in the competition,” Primmer said after the 1-nil victory at No.1 Oval. “I was particularly proud of Ainsley, she missed two penalties but two minutes later she’s right back in there. For a 15-year-old girl she didn’t go and stand on the sideline sulking, but really pushed back.”
“I’ve been giving Sophie a bit of a hard time for not scoring amongst these youngsters,” he added with a laugh. “Her shot today was just senstational, so good from her.”
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On the other side, Adamstown boss Paul Devitis said he was disappointed with the result, considering the strength of his team’s performance, and Sneddon’s two penalty saves to keep the home side in the contest.
“We are devastated,” Devitis said. “To score off essentially the last kick of the game is hard to take. To Thornton’s credit they were winning a lot of tackles in defence, their back five were very good in that regard. But, looking back at the game anyone could’ve won. I think our girls deserved three goals at least.”
Also on Sunday afternoon, Mid North Coast fell to eighth place on the ladder after a 4-2 loss against Wallsend, while Warners Bay edged Merewether 3-2 at John Street Oval to take sole possession of third in the Premier League after the long weekend.
Finally, New Lambton have dropped points for the first time this season, after South Wallsend came back from 1-nil down to level the scores and force the Eagles into a draw at Walker Fields. The score-draw is the competition’s first locked finish of 2019, with more than 50 games played before two teams shared points in their campaigns.
TABLE: New Lambton (37), South Wallsend (28), Warners Bay (27), Merewether (24), Wallsend (18), Adamstown (6), Thornton (6), Mid North Coast (6).