It was the girls’ turn to head up to Bathurst last weekend. Just like the boys teams, the girls had very positive tournaments despite not make any Grand Finals. The girls look set to be very competitive come the season proper and will look to dominate the Conference League again.
The U12’s made the trip to Bathurst for the first time and showed great improvement over the weekend. They will tale plenty of positives out of the tournament.
In the teams opening two games against Central Coast and Linfield respectively, the girls went down 0-2. Not fazed by the results, the girls marched on and took heed of some of the coach’s advice to bounce back and beat Bathurst 4-0.
The girls needed a result against Marconi in their last group game. In a match that could have gone either way, the girls fell 1-2 thus ending their tournament.
The girls can be very proud of themselves for the way they conducted themselves and tried to work together. The passing and passing options both improved over the weekend.
It was the U14’s first trip to the annual Bathurst Proctor Park Challenge in which they were handed a tough group consisting of six teams.
However, the girls made an impressive start to the competition notching up a 2-1 win over Thornton Redbacks closely followed by a 1-0 win over Woden Weston. Early signs showed a defensively organised side that showed little fear in attempting to bring the Flame playing philosophy to life.
The girls wrapped up day one with their third game that saw them fall 1-0 to a St George side that would go through the group winning 5 from 5.
Day two kicked off with the penultimate game for the side from South Coast in a cagey 0-0 draw against a well organised Blacktown City. The girls finished with a flourish playing their best football in a 3-0 dismantling of Gladesville Sharks.
The Flame finished the group in second place and should count themselves unlucky that only top spot progressed to the finals from a group of six.
The U14 girls displayed terrific attitudes and progression throughout their debut tournament and did themselves, the parents and the South Coast Flame proud.
The U15’s started their Proctor Park Challenge weekend with a flurry, playing some excellent football and getting some great results along the way. Their first game against Harrington United FC set the tone for the weekend as they dominated possession, created loads of scoring chances and cruised to a 3-0 victory.
Their momentum continued as they faced a well-structured Wagga City Wanderers outfit. Flame again started on the front foot, forcing their opposition into their own half and switching play at will. A 1-0 half time lead was added to when Caitlin Russell stepped up with possibly the goal of the tournament as she took a cross down on her chest and volleyed with her right foot to beat the keeper from 30 meters out. Flame win 2-0.
Their final game of day one saw them face a determined Bathurst FA on the main field, and Flame put on a show. Playing a new style of play they began to create overloads in midfield and scoring chances at will, entering half time 3-0 up. A possession based second half to conserve their legs saw them score another and come away 4-0 winners and full of confidence going into day two.
Day two started with a hiccup in their final group game as the Flame were overwhelmed by a physical and competitive Macarthur Rams squad going down 1-0 in difficult circumstances. Regardless of the final result, South Coast came first in their group and progressed to play Marconi in the semi-final.
The Flame stepped up to the challenge and took it to Marconi from the first whistle, creating a goal scoring chance from the kick-off, only for Lauren Brooks to be taken out in a last-ditch challenge by the goalkeeper outside the penalty area. The Marconi keeper somehow stayed on the field and saved the resulting free kick. The game was end-to-end with both teams creating chances, however Marconi came away 1-0 winners and progressed to the final (which they ultimately won 2-0).
The Flame girls can be incredibly proud of how they played this weekend and will take loads of positives into their upcoming GCL season. With a strong mix of old faces and new fresh talents, this team proved they will be a force to be reckoned with in 2020.
The U17’s kicked off the tournament with a hard fought 1-0 loss to Marconi. It was a tense and very competitive encounter with only a few chances at either end. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convert. The result meant that the team had to win both of their remaining pool games in order to progress to the finals.
In the next game against Woden Weston, the girls were particularly strong in the second half and came away with a 3-0 win. They followed this up with a comfortable 4-0 win against Bathurst to round out the first day and ensure qualification.
Our quarter final on Sunday had a local flavour as we drew the Shellharbour Women’s Youth League team. It was pleasing to see the girls were not phased by the physicality of their opponents, however amongst a barrage of long balls we conceded a scrappy goal that was to prove decisive. The girls changed formation in search of an equaliser, but Shellharbour held firm and we went down 1-0 against the eventual tournament winners.
While the girls were disappointed to exit the tournament, there were plenty of positives to take away from their performance. There is some hard work to be done but are quietly confident and will look to start the season strongly in just over a month.