Last Gasp Penalty Sinks the Nambucca Strikers

Sara Mander for the Nambucca Strikers.

A LAST gasp penalty denied the Nambucca Strikers a share of the points in their 2-1 defeat to the Urunga Raiders last Saturday at Coronation Park in the women’s second division.

After a first half stalemate it rained goals in the last twenty minutes of the match as Nambucca coach Rhys Jones explained.

“It wasn’t until the 70th minute that the game changed with a sweeping movement down the left which Urunga found their left winger in space and who finished with a well taken goal just inside the area,” Jones said.

“Urunga then seemed content with the single goal and endeavoured to close the game.

“Nambucca reacted by pushing Allie Hancock from centre back into the forward line and full back Kelly Perriotte into midfield, pushing everything forward.

“Nambucca raised their game and increased their pressure on the Raiders’ defence and this reaped benefits when a free kick was fumbled by the Urunga keeper and left winger Virginia Arkell followed through to bundle the ball into the back of the net to equalise.”

At 1-1 the Strikers poured forward in search of the three points, which left the back door open for Urunga to exploit on the break.

“The Nambucca team, encouraged by the goal, maintained the pressure until the 85th minute when Urunga caught the Strikers on the break, with the full backs scrambling back the raiders forward was brought down in the box and a penalty resulted.

“Urunga Midfielder Alex Cowan stepped up and slotted the penalty away to make the score 2-1, a bitter way to lose the game after a huge effort was put in by every player,” said Jones.

The day had started badly for the Nambucca side before a ball was even kicked, losing five players before kick-off.
“Team formation and players were changed many times before a final line-up could be finalised.

“While the result was a disappointment, the biggest setback was the loss of our never-say-die winger Virginia Arkell who sustained what could be a season ending injury.

“Virginia, who typifies the spirit of this group, will be sadly missed and the whole squad really wish our ‘V’ a swift recovery,” he said.

Despite the setback, coach Jones is optimistic for a top four finish and let out a battle cry of “onwards and upwards”.

“The team was left totally exhausted after the match, full credit to Urunga who, like the Strikers, fought all the way to the end and gave no quarter.

“The win has now catapulted Urunga to second in the league behind runaway team Woolgoolga Wildcats.

“However, in this highly competitive league Nambucca are still very much in the frame for a top four place with only three points separating Nambucca in sixth to second placed Raiders with Sawtell and Corindi breathing down the Strikers’ necks.

“Its onwards and upwards, the Strikers woman take on Sawtell Scorpions in a round six catch-up game at Coronation Park Nambucca next Saturday 9 July at 1pm, this game will be a cracker,” he said.


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