RESILIENT WOONONA WIN IN THE WET
Woonona kick-started their season with a tough 2-1 win in wet conditions on Friday night, defeating reigning champions Albion park at Ian McLennan Park.
In a game that was already a replay of a washout, both sides walked out to the pitch greeted with a downpour of rain that had not stopped all evening.
This made for very little chances in the opening half with the only close opportunity coming to Albion Park in just the second minute. A goalkeeper parry looked destined to find the back of the net on the rebound but a slight hesitation from Casey-Leigh Suttle saw Woonona block the shot and clear.
Woonona shot stopper Samantha Clark showed some fine form throughout the half, doing well to hold on to any cross in the tough and slippery conditions.
The second half started with a bit more intensity than the first with Albion Park opening the scoring through goal-getter Brittany Ring in the 49th minute. Ring guided past her opposing number with ease and the shot across her body fired into the far bottom corner.
This seemed to spark something in the Woonona side as Lindsay McLeod’s effort rebounded off the near post following an Albion Park slip up at the back in the 57th minute.
However just two minutes later, Woonona found their equaliser with a powerful free-kick from Hayley Walkinshaw, finding the back of the net off the crossbar to draw the scores level.
The Sharks didn’t back off there as in the 60th minute Kyah Humphrey’s surge up the left prompted a shot only to be denied by the post.
Suttle’s ball through to the run of Sophie Zirogiannis should have seen Albion Park take back the lead in the 70th minute but the striker dragged her shot wide.
With a slippery pitch and a skidding ball, it was only time until a side succumbed to the conditions and it was Woonona benefiting on a goalkeeper error from Aleisha Chessell in the 81st minute. Ellyse Campbell’s shot from range looked to be a routine pick-up for Chessell but the pace of the ball saw her fumble it into her own net, giving Woonona the lead on the night.
Albion Park continued to look for an equaliser right up to the final whistle and it was Clark denying Zirogiannis with a reflex stop from close range.
In stoppage time, Ring’s ball in from the left picked out Claire Duffy however, she couldn’t angle her shot goal wards as it bounced wide from six yards.
Woonona held on to nab their second win of the season, handing Albion Park their first defeat in the process.
Woonona coach, Michael Sutton was pleased with his sides performance given the conditions on the night.
“I thought our girls played some really nice football especially under the conditions. We tended to keep the ball down, knocked it around really nicely and switching the play really nicely,” Sutton said.
“We tend to play a game on the ground more, we do prefer that. We have got girls that have a nice touch on them and have some good sight in their plays.
“It was a normal game plan [in the wet conditions], we just needed keep opening the play up as much as we did,” he added.
The win for the Sharks sees them jump into fourth spot with a game in hand. They play Fernhill on Sunday August 9, pending on weather.
As for Albion Park, the loss could see them slip to second should University beat Wollongong United on Sunday. They play Thirroul away from home on Sunday August 9.
Woonona Sharks 2 (Walkinshaw 59’, Campbell 81’)
Albion Park FC 1 (Ring 49’)
Woonona Sharks: 1. CLARK Samantha (GK), 2. LANG Georgia, 3. MOORE Kate, 4. MCNALLY Elyse, 5. CAMPBELL Ellyse, 6. TUSS Tasha, 7. WHEATLEY Jordan, 8. HAWES Ainsley, 9. RING Kinne, 10. HUMPHREY Kyah, 11. BENNETT Kasey, 12. WALKINSHAW Hayley, 13. KABLE Le-Tisha, 14. VAN DE VOORDE Jordan, 16. MCLEOD Lindsay.
Albion Park FC: 1. CHESSELL Aleisha, 2. JONES-MORLEY Madison, 3. RUIZ Taryn, 4. DUFFY Claire, 5. HALSEY Carrie, 7. TOSCAN Sarah, 8. COWAN Eliza, 9. SUTTLE Casey-Leigh, 11. ZIROGIANNIS, 12. RING Brittany, 13. HANLY Jessica, 15. CROWE Renee, 16. ROSSI Jessica, 17. ELMIR Maddison.
Interchange rule applied.
Date: 7 August 2020
Venue: Ian McLennan Park
Referee: Rob Sindevski
Assistant Referees: Emerson Peardon and Andre Kell
Report by Nathan Turner, on Twitter @nathanturner23_
Photo by Graeme Brown