South Coast Flame hosted the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday evening, with both our U/20’s and first grade sides suffering narrow losses.
U/20 Women: South Coast Flame 0-1 Central Coast Mariners
South Coast Flame welcomed Central Coast Mariners to the Furnace for the late game at Ian McLennan Park.
Central Coast proved to be a classy opposition from the first kick as they nearly scored within the opening 15 seconds. Flame took half an hour to get into the rhythm of the game as they repelled attack after attack by the Mariners.
South Coast Flame’s shape out of possession was getting stronger and they began to pounce on Mariners errors. Emily Kostovski went close with a header and minutes later Brooke Love unleashed from 25 metres but saw her shot go narrowly wide.
Going into half time, the game was still up for grabs.
The second half featured disciplined and determined defending from Flame as they looked to hold out the relentless Mariners attack. Unfortunately, with 15 minutes remaining, a Central Coast midfielder unleashed an absolute gem from 30 metres out with her shot skimming the underside of the cross bar, leaving Sophie Bailey stranded in the Flame goal.
South Coast looked to play on the counter attack, but the Mariners proved too good on the day and ran down the clock with controlled possession and composure to take the 3 points.
Player of the week: Brooke Love
Brooke stepped into midfield and showed experience and composure when her team needed it. She was persistent in defence and pulled the strings when on the ball. Battling through injuries, she showed grit and determination for the full 90 minutes.
1st Grade Women’s: South Coast Flame 2-3 Central Coast Mariners
This was always going to be an exciting matchup between two football teams who play the game with similar styles. This game started as expected, with quick combination plays and counter attacks. The opening minutes of the game saw the Flame girls come out playing a high intensity press, winning the ball high. The girls created chances with the ever-reliable Caley Tallon-Heniker whipping in cut back crosses for Jess in the box.
Against the run of play, Central Coast were able to get in behind to whip in a cross to their striker. She was able to get a shot off, but the ball deflected off a Flame player’s leg and went in. The game continued as it started. Alexis Malizis and Eboni Freeman linked play between Kellie McIntyre and Darby Walsh at the back and were able to get the attacking midfield duo of Emi Skopal and Sariah Wilson free on the ball. Caitlin Russell and Tallon-Heniker were freed up on the wings on multiple occasions but our crosses could not be converted into goals. A quick combination in the final third between Jess Cruickshank and Tallon-Heniker allowed the latter to beat her defender with pace and whip a ball in across the box. Sariah Wilson was there to convert the chance to make it1-1. In the 25th minute, Central Coast against the run of play attempted to play a killer pass in behind the Flame defence. The ball deflected again and was weighted perfectly for their striker to poach another goal to make it 2-1.
The Flame went into half time dominating the run of play. As the second half started, the Flame continued to press hard and continued to win the ball high but couldn’t convert the chances. A mix up at the back allowed Central Coast to shoot at an empty net to make it 3-1.
This ignited the Flame with Tallon-Heniker, Skopal and Wilson combining well on the counter attack, allowing us to maintain possession in the opponent’s half. Just after the hour mark, Flame had a throw from the right-hand side. McIntyre, from centre of defence, found her self out wide and in possession driving in toward the 18. She backed herself and rocketed in a top corner strike with her weak foot leaving the goalkeeper with no chance to make it 3-2. Moments later, Russell almost scored a bicycle kick within the 18 yard box to go level. The last 15 minutes were pulsating as Tahlia Sharrock in goals was given her marching orders after a smart foul was executed to keep her team in the game. Flame were down to 10 and Russell stepped up to fill the space between the sticks. Central Coast couldn’t convert the free kick. The Flame continued to push hard with 10 players, with a true belief and a winning mentality shown by the girls. Tallon-Heniker, Rachelle Wang and McIntyre threatened the opponent’s goal but we could not find the net. What could be described as an unbelievable moment was when Russell made a point-blank save, fell to the ground and then sprung back up to make another point-blank save over the bar to keep her team in it. The game finished 3-2. A fixture that was played with true class and style at the furnace.
Player of the Week: Caitlin Russell
Being a team player and doing what the team needs to get a competitive edge over the competition