Nambucca Strikers show resilience despite setbacks in Corindi clash

Jewelle Nelson driving forwards for the Nambucca Strikers.

THE Nambucca Strikers went down 2-0 to the Corindi Breakers in the Women’s Second Division South at the Coffs Coast Synthetics last Saturday.

Two goals on the stroke of halftime gave Corindi three precious points, cementing their position at the top of the table, four points ahead of the Nambucca Strikers with one game in hand.

Nambucca Strikers coach Rhys Jones said the game was always going to be a “hard fought” one.

“It didn’t disappoint,” he said.

“Corindi started strong and pushed very hard with some great midfield play and driving runs which the Strikers defence handled well.

“The Strikers’ counterattack strengths kept the Corindi side honest and watchful, especially with the blistering pace of Nambucca striker Wulaaren Walker.”

The contest in the middle was a crucial one, with Corindi’s skillful and experienced players pitted against the youth and resilience of the Strikers midfield.

Tragedy struck in the fifteenth minute when a key Nambucca forward was tackled heavily and went off with an injured ankle, leaving them a player down, however the game remained a stalemate until Corindi scored twice in the five minutes before halftime.

“In the 41st and 44th minutes, while only having ten players on the field, Corindi struck with two opportunistic goals,” Jones said.

Despite a shortage of troops on the field, Nambucca never gave up and matched Corindi in the beginning of the second half.

Misfortune then struck again as Cheree Chapman, a rock in the Strikers defence, fell awkwardly and broke her arm in the fifth minute of the second stanza.

As one player left the field, another player returned from the treatment table for the Strikers.

“Evie O’Brian, who left the field due to a heavy knock late in the second half, took a big breath and came back on the field, making up ten players,” Jones said.

“The Strikers never gave up, every player lifted and against all odds pushed Corindi all the way.

“We are a tough resilient team, everyone in this league forgets that.

“When we are up against all odds this side lifts.

“We missed two chances in the second half that could have given us a 2-2 draw, however it wasn’t to be.”

Despite bad luck with injuries and the two goal loss, coach Rhys Jones left Corindi with his head held high.

“Players came into the game with injuries or illness, we had a stand-in keeper in Emily Smith who played brilliantly and made some unbelievable saves to keep us in the hunt.

“I asked our manager that our player of the match vote be suspended this week because we had a team of champions out there.

“We now reset; we have lost players through injury but trust me I feel I have more to be enthused about after that performance,” Jones reflected.

The Strikers are at home against Bellingen in a local derby on Saturday 1 June at 1pm at Coronation Park.


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