The girl’s teams faced a tough outfit in Hills United this week and despite being heavily depleted, the girls did not give up and fought to the end.
14 GIRLS (LOST 2-3)
South Coast Flame welcomed top of the table Hills to Ian McLennan park on Saturday the 22nd of August in 70km/H winds.
The conditions lead to some real scrappy moments in the opening minutes as both sides looked to adapt to the gale that was brewing at Ian McLennan Park. The Flame looked to implement an expansive approach in the opposition half and began to knock the ball around in positive areas of the pitch, however, this left space in behind and two quickfire counter attacks resulted in Hills taking a 2 goal lead midway through the first half, arguably against the run of play.
The Flame stuck to their guns and continued to play quick attacking football in the opposition half and it wasn’t long before their persistence was rewarded when Alyssa Nicovska scored with a looping finish from the right hand of the penalty area after some nice build up through Belen Collazo-Pazos and Layla Pierags.
Within 5 minutes the Flame were level, a brilliant combination in midfield with Collazo-Pazos, Pierags and Kaitlyn Elsner all involved was finished by Alivia Beath in cool fashion. HT: 2-2
The girls were a bit slow to get going in the 2nd half and were punished from a neat Hills set piece, a short corner was played into the corner of the 18 yard box and a controlled shot was placed into the top corner of the South Coast net.
From that point on though, it was one-way traffic with the Flame controlling the lion share of possession. The task was always going to be tough to chase the competition leaders running against the wind and unfortunately, despite some really positive passages of play, the girls couldn’t find the equaliser and the contest finished 2-3.
A positive performance with improvements across the board in comparison with last week’s trip to Camden and the execution of this week’s football topic was pleasing to see.
Thank you to Abbey Haley, Kaitlyn Elsner, Maddy Day and Amelie Kelly for stepping up from their respective SAP teams and also a big thank you to Jess Llewellin and Astton Long for volunteering and performing soundly as stand in goalkeepers.
Player of the Week: Layla Pierags
Layla had a strong week at training, applying herself in various tactical situations with a positive mindset. The positive mindset carried over to gameday where she was the strongest performer in a much-improved team performance.
15 GIRLS (WON 2-0)
Table leaders South Coast Flame welcomed second place Hills FC to Ian McLennan Park knowing that a win would send them nine points clear of their opponents at the top of the table.
The gusty conditions was always going to play a part in this fixture and with the wind at their backs, Flame took no time at all to assert their dominance on the game. Clever combinations in wide areas saw Bethany Horton and Lauren Brooks hit the woodwork minutes apart before Caitlin Russell’s shot from outside the area stung the palms of the Hills FC goalkeeper.
On 12 minutes, a misplaced pass back from the Hills defender got caught in the wind and found its way into the back of the net to give Flame a 1 nil lead.
Hills fought their way back into the game and created some good chances of their own. Charlotte Palmisano making a quality save to her right, and minutes later the Hills striker blew a golden one-on-one chance, skying the ball over the cross bar from 10 yards out.
Just before the half, Bethany Horton delivered a long-range free kick into the penalty area which was not dealt with by the Hills goalkeeper. Annabel Suthers was in the right position to score her first goal of the season and send Flame into half time two goals up.
The second half was a more even contest as both Hills FC and Flame created chances early on. Running into the wind, South Coast had to rely on some short, sharp passing to get themselves out of their own half and had to be focused defensively as the opposition looked for a way back into the game with long-balls and crosses. Hills FC thought they had their goal when they headed the ball into the net from a second phase play from a corner, only to be called offside by the officials.
With the clock winding down, South Coast nearly added to their lead with consecutive corners going just past the post, but in the end were happy to see out the game and grab another valuable 3 points at home and continue their unbeaten run this season.
Special mention to Jessica Llewelyn and Alivia Beath from the U14’s who gave us some quality minutes off the bench, as well as Georgia Manganas who returned from a long-term ankle injury.
Player of the Week: Annabel Suthers
Annabel is fast becoming one of our most reliable players week in, week out. At training, she gives 100% effort and is improving her positioning and technique every session. Against Hills FC, Annabel was on hand to get her first goal of the season in the first half and in the second half worked tirelessly off the ball and when in possession, was composed and dynamic. Well done, Annie!
17 GIRLS (LOST 1-2)
We were greeted with cold, windy conditions at Ian McLennan as we attempted to turn around last week’s disappointing loss.
The girls started the game in a reasonably promising manner, executing our passes well and maintaining the majority of possession into a stiff headwind. Unlike the previous week, we were competing hard and winning more that our share of 50/50 balls against quite a physical team. While we managed to venture forward into the final third quite regularly, we didn’t have that cutting edge and couldn’t convert our chances. We went to the break at 0-0.
Sometimes having the breeze at your back doesn’t provide the advantage you might think. This turned out to be the case for us, as we struggled with our first touch and often overhit our passes. None the less, we did have good field position as a result of the breeze, and this paid off mid-way through the second half. Caitlin Russell and Isabella Zipparo pressed hard as Hills looked to play out from the back and forced an error. Sariah Wilson was on hand to pounce on a loose ball on the edge of the box and calmly finish to give us a 1-0 lead.
Shortly afterwards, we went close to doubling our advantage as Russell cut across the top of the box from the right and sent a solid effort just wide of the top corner.
From there, things started to take an unfortunate turn. To their credit, Hills started sticking some passes together and creating some half chances. An unfortunate error in our box, gifted them a chance to equalise, which they happily took. Shortly afterwards we conceded a corner, which was played to the back post. Frustratingly, a Hills player was left unmarked to nod the winner home.
The girls fought hard to get something out of the game, but we were running on tired legs. Massive thanks to Ruby Blanch, Caitlin Russell, Beth Horton, and Lauren Brooks for backing up after playing big minutes in the u15 game. Hopefully, we can get a few injured players back this week and get back on track.
Player of the Week: Caitlin Russell
After playing the majority of the u15 game, Caitlin backed up in central midfield and really steered the ship. Her passing range and composure was exceptional, and she more than held her own physically in the older age group. This kid is a real talent with a great attitude, it’s hard to believe she was playing in goals last year.