U14 Girls | Hills United 3 South Coast Flame 0
South Coast Flame travelled to Bella Vista Public School to take on an undefeated Hills United team who is yet to concede a goal this season.
Flame started well and were keeping possession and attacking through the wide areas.
Indianna Garvan saw her shot go just wide, and minutes later Kaitlyn Elsner hit one straight at the goalkeeper from distance.
Hills United are always dangerous going forward and it was only a matter of time until they made one of their chances count.
A through ball split the Flame defensive line and the Hills striker placed it to the side of the oncoming goalkeeper to give Hills the lead after eight minutes.
Flame stayed in the game and created more good moments, just the final finish was missing.
On 24 minutes, Hills United had a free kick on the corner of the penalty area, the resulting freekick looping over Sophie Bailey and into the far corner to give Hills a 2-0 lead that they took into halftime.
South Coast were not fazed by the scoreline and were focused on playing their style of football. Finding joy in the wide areas, South Coast were able to go from goal kick to shot on target within seconds, again the final finish the only thing lacking.
Maddison Steel was denied by the Hills goalkeeper from range and soon after Ruby Milosevski was denied in a one on one.
With the clock ticking down, Hills United sealed the game with a long-range strike that was too hot to handle for the Flame goalkeeper, giving Hills a 3-0 lead and the three points.
The girls can be proud of how they played in the build-up and out of possession, unfortunately, a scoreline that did not reflect the majority of play.
Player of the Week: Isabella Elsner
Bella is a registered 13GSAP player who has played some key roles in the 14GCL squad this year. She is a keen learner of the game and is growing in confidence in her abilities.
Against Hills United, Bella was given a very specific attacking role, which she performed consistently well the whole game.
A very strong performance from such a young, exciting player.
U15 Girls | Hills United 1 South Coast Flame 1
It was a cagey affair between two teams that have developed a reputation for favouring attack over defence.
Both sides had their chances on the counter in the first period as neither team could gain any real control.
The Flame began to knock the ball around with competency but were shocked when a hopeful forward pass was mishit and astonishingly clipped the underside of the crossbar and into the Flame net to put the home side up 1-0, arguably against the run of play.
This did not change the girls’ game plan and they continued to attempt to play with the ball on the ground despite the wet conditions.
This eventually led to Alivia Beath playing a well-executed, diagonal switch pass that found Maddison Day, who drove with the ball before delivering an inch-perfect cross that found Beath’s forward run and the striker slotted the ball home to level the scores minutes before halftime.
The second half saw conditions weather conditions worsen as the light shower became heavy and strong winds also affected play.
The opposition looked to utilise this to aid their press and this plan proved to be very effective for Hills who frequently won the ball in the Flame half.
The conditions, mixed with the lethal Hills press provided a lot of entertainment for the spectators and if it wasn’t for a heroic last 10 minutes from the Flame goalkeeper, Ciara Wade, Hills would have snatched all three points.
The draw leaves the Flame girls two points clear at the top of the table with six games to play.
Player of the Week: Maddison Day
Maddi has recently stepped up from the under-14’s side permanently and to her and the coaching staffs credit has fit in seamlessly.
She displayed her athletic and ball-striking ability on game day to execute tactical instructions.
This led to her providing a terrific assist and ultimately saved a potentially important point as the league leaders look to forge a strong finish to the season.
U17 Girls | Hills United 2 South Coast Flame 2
South Coast Flame came from two goals down to snatch a draw in the final minutes against a strong Hills United outfit.
Flame never really got into their groove during the first half.
Misplaced passes and missed chances were the theme of the opening 40 minutes.
Hills United were combining well down the left channel, coming close on a number of occasions. On 13 minutes, they made one of those chances count; a cross from the left was met by the Hills FC striker.
Her shot was palmed by Charlotte Palmisano onto the post and into the net to give Hills a 1-0 lead.
The goal resulted in Hills FC gaining confidence and beginning to push for a second.
Only some superb saves from Palmisano in the Flame goal, keeping her team in the game.
With seconds ticking down in the half, a sweeping cross from the right was met by Sam Shallcross on the back post; unfortunately, her shot hitting the side netting.
Hills taking a 1-0 lead into the half.
After a lacklustre first half, Flame started the second half better, creating some chances down the right through Alivia Beath, but the final pass was still missing and the Hills goalkeeper remained relatively untested.
Hills were looking dangerous in attack, going straight through the middle of the Flame defence.
On 63 minutes, a Hills solo run from near halfway went untouched until she shot from 18 yards out.
Her shot took a wicked deflection which looped over Palmisano and into the goal to give Hills a 2-0 lead.
Minutes later, Lauren Brooks was brought down just outside the Hills penalty area.
Up stepped, Isabella Coppola, who hit a gem of a freekick, going in off the post to give Flame some life in the game.
As the clock ticked down, Flame found some energy and started to push for an equaliser.
With two minutes left, Hazel Atkins turned inside her defender and shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Hazel’s shot dipping just before the Hills goalkeeper who was unable to keep her effort out, bringing the sides level at 2-2.
Flame showed character and resilience once again coming from two goals down, however, were nearly made to pay for their lacklustre start to the game.
Special mention to the under-15 girls who played big minutes and ultimately were the driving force behind the come-from-behind draw.
Player of the Week: Piper Cowen
Although Piper did not play this week or last, this has been an outstanding week in this young players’ football journey that deserves recognition.
Piper spent last week at Young Matilda’s camp at Valentines Sports Park where she was training with the best under-18 girls in the country for a place in the upcoming Young Matilda’s Asian Cup Qualifiers squad.
From all reports, Piper had an outstanding week, performed well and enjoyed the unique experience.