Warilla started their season off with a solid 1-0 victory over competition new girls Shellharbour on a steamy Sunday afternoon at King Mickey Park.

The Wanderers winning goal came from captain Kari Gonzalez who did well to regain possession of the ball, turning it into a perfect top corner strike in the 37th minute of the match.

Shellharbour controlled possession early on in the game, but it was the Wanderers who had the first few chances in the opening half.

Emily Carbone held up the ball well in the centre of the park, putting a through ball into Irene Kyriacou who got a shot away that went just wide of the post.

The home side continued creating scoring opportunities with Tamara Koneski overlapping Chloe Deighton from right back, she found space down the line but could not get past goalkeeper Mikaela Erdelyi.

The Scorpions Caitlin Walker began to string continuous passes together with Nikola Wilson who was able to get a shot away but she failed to hit the target.

Minutes later, Shellharbour picked up their intensity with a golden opportunity to put a goal away with Stephanie Bratjanscak taking full control of the midfield sending Tiana Reardon in behind Warilla’s defence to be one-on-one with the goalkeeper only to have the ball cleaned by Grace O’Shannessy.

Gonzalez was having a spectacular game before she broke on the counterattack and hit a powerful strike into the top corner, giving Warilla a 1-0 lead eight minutes before the break.

The Wanderers defence line was resilient and kept Shellharbour out until the half-time whistle.

Down by one, Shellharbour launched a series of counter-attacks in the first 10 minutes of the second half but it seemed virtually impossible to get past O’Shannessy.

The Scorpions were doing everything they could to claw their way back into the game, but it was Katie Carbone and Mikayla Kostovski who took command; leaving little room for the young Shellharbour side to breakthrough.

Warilla came close to scoring their second goal in the match after a nice one-two between Kyriacou and winger Christina Videla set up Gonzalez, but her shot for unable to hit the target.

Shellharbour continued their fightback in the last 20 minutes with no less than six scoring opportunities.

Bratjanscak found space in midfield before releasing a through ball to Mikayla De Jong out wide and seconds later the balls was rebounding into Wilson’s lap taking a shot for goal but immediately cracked under pressure from O’Shannessy.

Lily Harrison had a powerful crack come off the crossbar after beating her defender while Lara Golding also nearly found her name on the scoresheet, but the Scorpions ultimately couldn’t break through the Wanderers’ backline.

With the Scorpions failing to make a comeback in the second half, the score remained 1-0 at full-time.

Warilla’s coach Max Videla was most impressed with the effort his team put in throughout the whole 90 minutes of their first-round match for the 2021 season.

“I was extremely happy to see the effort they all put in today, especially for each other,” Videla said.

“I think we were strong across the whole park, we stuck to the plan and we were able to play our game.

“Our next match against University Yellow is expected to be very tough but in saying that, I am more concerned with us concentrating on tightening up our game and continuing to build on what we have.”

The Women’s Division 1 Competition will continue after the Easter long weekend where Warilla will take on Bonnie Lassie Cup Champions University Yellow.

As for Shellharbour, they’ll have an extended break due to a bye in round two.

Warilla Wanderers: 1 (Kari Gonzalez 37’)

Shellharbour Scorpions: 0

Warilla Wanderers: 10. CARBONE Emily, 3. CARBONE Katie, 7. DEIGHTON Chloe, 8 GONZALEZ Kari, 12. GUTHRIE Brooke, 2. KONESKI Tamara, 4. KOSTOVSKI Mikayla, 11. KYRIACOU Irene-Maree, 6. NOTARIANNI Olivia, 1. O’SHANNESSY Grace, 9. VIDELA Christina, 13. WINN Mikayla, 5. WAINE Emma

Shellharbour Scorpions: 15. BAZZANO Caieta, 10. BRATJANSCAK Stephanie, 2. DE JONG Mikayla, 1. ERDELYI Mikaela, 29. FOGARTY Bella, 25. FORMAN Jessica Patricia, 5. GOLDING Lara, 3. HARRISON Lily, 22. JOHNSTONE Holly, 11. KLEPCZAREK Jennifer, 13. REARDON Tiana, 14. SCHWEITZER Annie, 24. WALKER Caitlin, 8. WILSON Nikola, 30. FREEMAN Ebony

Interchange rule applied

Date: 28 March 2021

Venue: King Mickey Park

Report and photo by Alison Dinh, on Twitter @alisondinh_

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