Early goals secured Albion Park a 3-0 victory over Woonona in The Grange Women’s Division 1 competition at Terry Reserve on Sunday afternoon.
The reigning league champions set the tone just two minutes into the match with captain Brittany Ring tucking away a pinpoint cross from Eliza Cowan to give park the lead.
Woonona picked up their intensity and soon had a chance when a ball was played over the top to Lindsay Mcleod whose powerful strike was saved by goalkeeper Megan Blanch who was making her league debut for Albion Park.
In the 19th minute, Cowan wrote her name on the scoresheet when she broke through Woonona’s defence before perfectly placing her shot past Sharks goalkeeper Rhiannon Simpson.
A short time later, Woonona had a decent chance to net their first goal for the match when Mcleod took on the line before finding Sinead Bailey centrally, but the forward sent the ball over the crossbar without troubling the Park custodian.
Albion Park continued the press and in the 32nd minute, Ring scored her second of the afternoon with a strong long-range effort putting the home side three goals to the good.
With a couple of minutes to play in the first half, Woonona had another opportunity to find the back of the net.
Bailey showed composure with a neat cross into Jordan Van De Voorde who was denied at close-range by the hands of Blanch.
Despite the late chances from a fit Woonona side, Park went into the break with a three-goal advantage.
Woonona continued their efforts from the start of the second half with Woonona captain Ainsley Hawes nearly setting up a goal when she took the ball to the corner flag before drilling in a cross which Kayla Draper headed over the goal.
It didn’t take long for Draper to become involved again, taking a shot from a narrow angle which Blanch managed to gain control of.
In the 65th minute, a 50-50 clash between Woonona goalkeeper Simpson and Cowan forced a drastic change to the Sharks’ line-up with Bailey forced to put on the gloves for the remainder of the match.
Albion Park struggled to get past Bailey on several occasions in the final 20 minutes Sarah Alwert, Tatum Etherden and Ring all being denied by the makeshift goalkeeper.
The goalless second half meant Albion Park secured all three points in the first game of the season after a bye in round one.
Park coach Richard Davis was nothing short of impressed by his team’s performance.
“For our first game back, I thought we played extremely well today,” Davis said.
“Woonona are a strong team who fought until the very end, but we got the goals we needed to win.
“The first half was definitely our better half but overall, we didn’t give up.”
Albion Park will go up against Wollongong United in round three while Woonona will look to get their first win of the season against a young Shellharbour side.
Albion Park: 3 (Brittany Ring 2’ 32’, Eliza Cowan 19’)
Albion Park: 1. BLANCH Megan, 2. ETHERDEN Tatum, 3. RUIZ Taryn, 4. DUFFY Claire, 5. HALSEY Carrie, 6. ALWERT Sarah, 7. TOSCAN Sarah, 8. COWAN Eliza, 9. SUTTLE, Casey-Leigh, 11. ZIROGIANNIS Sophie, 12. RING Brittany, 16. GREEN Ariel, 17. ROSSI Jessica, 18. BURNS Cody
Woonona: 1. SIMPSON Rhiannon, 2. POTTER Morgan, 3. WALKINSHAW Hayley, 4. VALLIERES Mia, 5. BAILEY Sinead, 6. DRAPER Kayla, 7. MOORE Kate, 8. HAWES Ainsley, 9. MCLEOD Lindsay, 10. HUMPHREY Kyah, 11. LANG Georgie, 12. DAWS Rachael,14. BENNETT Kasey, 15. VAN DE VOORDE Jordan,
Date: 11 April 2021
Venue: Terry Reserve
Referee: Stuart Bell
Assistant Referees: Jayden Henley and Byron Ling
Report by Alison Dinh, on Twitter @alisondinh_
Photo by Pedro Garcia