Nambucca Strikers overcome Sawtell Scorpions with ten players

Nambucca goalkeeper Rhiannon Cooke Jones kept a clean sheet behind a strong Strikers defence.

NAMBUCCA Strikers women defeated the Sawtell Scorpions 1-0 despite only having ten players on the pitch for most of the match.

Coach Rhys Jones was given a Saturday morning headache with several first team regulars unavailable, who he replaced from the junior ranks.

“We again struggled to get a team on the park with seven players out of the side, so the team had to step up against a rejuvenated Sawtell side,” he said.

“Taking the field with the youngest side this season, the game started at a frantic pace,” he said.

The match started with Sawtell in control, pushing the ball around the park and hoping to exploit a gap in the Strikers defence.

As the game wore on, the young Strikers outfit began to find their stride.

“Lily Woodward and Allie Hancock started to dominate the middle of the park.

“Allie, who is fifteen, started to gain more and more possession which in turn started to put pressure on her more experienced opposition.”

With the midfield combining well with the free-running Jewelle Nelson, attacks started to build, with the Strikers forwards beginning to cause chaos in the Scorpion’s defence.

A free-kick just outside the area was then slammed against the crossbar by Sally Bell.

Chances continued to go begging, with Jewelle Nelson narrowly missing after a free-flowing movement from deep in the Nambucca half.

A first half injury meant the Strikers were reduced to ten players, before the Nambucca side took the lead from a rare corner, with Sarah Mander smashing a well-timed header into the back of the net.

“Again playing with ten, Nambucca’s controlled defence kept up the pressure until the end,” said coach Jones.

“1-0 to the strikers.”

Coach Jones praised the spirit of his young side.

“We played with determination and controlled the defence.

“We played to our plan and our youngsters stepped up, having seven out again this week and putting together a team to do the job was very satisfying.

“Our strength has always been defence and commitment, now we are slowly developing a style of play that is uniquely ours, which is happy to sit with the girls that thrive on their strengths,” concluded Jones.

The win propels the team into the top four in a still very close contest in women’s division two.


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