Nambucca struck down in Coffs Harbour

Lily Woodward dominated at the heart of Strikers defence Photo: Amanda GILL WILLIAMS.

THE Nambucca Strikers Women’s team endured a challenging trip to Coffs Harbour, resulting in their second consecutive defeat, a 5-2 loss against the Coffs United Lionesses.

The disappointing outcome pushed them down to third place in the table, with just two rounds remaining in the season.

Coach Rhys Jones faced the daunting task of assembling a team, with ten players unavailable because of injuries or prior commitments.

“I was busy finding players to put a team on the pitch as late as 9:30am before the game after having 10 players unavailable through injury and other commitments, all I can say is I am glad I persisted with a 19-player squad,” he said.

In the first half, the Strikers struggled, conceding three goals thanks to uncharacteristic defensive lapses.

Their challenges increased when a player had to leave at halftime, leaving them to play with ten.

Nevertheless, a tactical reshuffle during the break resulted in a more attacking lineup, which became evident in the second half as the Strikers displayed a determined effort to get back into the game.

Coffs United maintained their dominance after the break, quickly scoring their fourth goal.

However, the fighting spirit and competitive nature of the Strikers sparked a potential comeback.

A fantastic long ball from Jayde Melville found Jemma Burtonwood in a free-running position on the right, and she unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top left-hand corner of the net, providing hope for the 10-player Strikers.

Playing like a team ahead on the scoreboard, the Strikers took control of the game.

They managed to secure a second goal, again from midfielder Jemma Burtonwood, who showed immense courage and determination during a scramble in the goal area, pushing the ball over the line.

With the scoreline now 4-2 and the Strikers full of energy, they applied relentless pressure on Coffs’ defence.

Despite dominating the game for large periods of the second half, playing with a numerical disadvantage and in sweltering conditions took its toll on the Strikers.

Their valiant efforts eventually led to conceding a late goal, leaving them with a courageous but ultimately frustrating outcome.

Coach Jones acknowledged the Lionesses’ performance and praised their ability to capitalise on opportunities.

“They took their chances, yes we gave them two goals but you need to mount pressure on your opposition to force those mistakes, all credit to the home team.

“The girls are disappointed and I sympathise with them, knowing you have the tools in the toolbox but for various reasons you can’t use them, is frustrating.

“But that’s football,” Jones quipped.

The competition in the second division remains incredibly tight, with every team, including 7th placed Corindi, capable of causing damage to any side in the league.

A recent victory for Sawtell against Boambee favoured the Strikers, leaving them only needing a point from their last two games to secure a spot in the semi-finals.

Next up, the Strikers face the in-form Sawtell in Toormina on Saturday at 1 pm.

By David Wigley

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