Nambucca Strikers women keep finals dreams alive with gutsy win

Ally Hancock thwarted attack after attack in the midfield.

“IT isn’t over ‘til it’s over” were the defiant words of Nambucca Strikers women’s coach Rhys Jones after their gutsy 1-0 win against Corindi at Coronation Park last Saturday.

Despite a controversial loss the previous week against Orara, the Strikers were keen to maintain their hopes for a finals berth despite a long injury list and players unavailable due to sickness.

Three points were crucial to keep their finals dreams alive and although they fielded a team of only ten players, coach Jones gave firm instruction to attack.

“Still, the tactics would not become defensive and try for a draw,” he said.

“Instructions were clear, attack, midfield competes and defence stands solid and that was the theme throughout the game.”

A colossal team effort and a Sarah Mander goal gave the passionate coach the result he was seeking.

“Commitment and strength doesn’t give an inch, Strikers started the game on the front foot pushing the ball around with teenager Alex Habgood controlling the middle of midfield.

“Forwards Ashleigh White and Sarah Mander caused havoc up front.

“Midway through the first half the skilful Sarah Mander picked up a long ball and beat her defender to slot the ball underneath an advancing Corindi goalkeeper.”

The coach was very pleased at half-time as the upbeat group of players encouraged each other.

“Corindi has improved this year and they pushed hard in the second half, and this is where our young fifteen-year-olds stepped up to the challenge.

“Ashleigh White is a very attacking forward who started to drop into midfield taking a defensive role to help her teammates and still when the opportunity arose would run forward and have her opposition double guessing in the attack.

“Ally Hancock in midfield played her heart out, constantly thwarting attack after attack in midfield and popping up everywhere on the field in support of our outnumbered forward line.

“Mild-mannered Holly Bennett playing at left back consistently found herself outnumbered in situations in which players beyond her years would struggle, but this young lady closed up Corindi’s right side of their attack time after time.

“These young players have shown that commitment to the club and team is what this game is all about.

“They are a pleasure to coach, they train hard, listen to instruction not only from me but our experienced players as well”, they are truly valuable to our team,” said Rhys.

However, there was a cloud on the silver lining.

“Things went from bad to worse on the injury front, a very gutsy game’s only sour point is that we lost our keeper through injury and so we finished the game with nine players.”

Although the three points keep their finals hopes alive, the Strikers are reliant on other teams slipping up.

“Great result all round, hopefully the long injury list will improve and we can get more players available for our remaining games.

“The team are relying on the results of teams above them, but playing like they did today there is still a chance, it isn’t over ‘til it’s over,” chanted Rhys.


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