Women's NSL - Season 2004

Women's National Soccer League

Supplied by AWSA and transcribed by Thomas Esamie

Home Teamv Away Team
Round One (played October 9 & 12)
Venue : Queensland Sport & Athletics Centre, Brisbane
Queensland Sting
Claire Nichols, Kate McShea, Karla Reuter, Pam Grant, Lana Harch, Alicia Ferguson, Kate Castelanelli (Clare Polkinghorne 69), Jessica Mitchell (Lauren Hamer 86), Sasha McDonnell (Krystina Walker 67), April Mann, Sarah Walsh (Marissa Nicolpolous 81)
Goals : Lana Harch 22, Krystina Walker 78
2 - 1 Western Waves
Ashley Bennet, Tanya Oxtoby, Nicola Williams, Luciano Colangelo, Stacey Woodfin, Sarah Cunningham, Tal Karp, Sara Gawned (Kerry McGawley 50), Ciara Conway, Kylie Chatto (Stephanie Grant 81), Hayley Crawford
Goal : Hayley Crawford 67
New team Western Waves, playing their historic first WNSL match, lost 2-1 to the experienced Queensland Sting in Tuesday night's Round One match in Brisbane.

Travelling without two key players, Olympian striker Lisa De Vanna and Qantas Young Matildas midfielder Collette McCallum, the Waves had a tough first challenge in this match, but will take confidence from the fact they improved in the second half and could have snatched a late draw. Queensland were without their five Young Matildas still on national team duty in Perth, but still presented a quality lineup with eight current or former senior internationals on the park.

In the first half, the home side clearly dominated possession and created eight good chances but squandered most with poor finishing. The Waves took a little time to settle into their first clash, but strengthened up in defence after the break before equalising midway through the second term to make for an exciting finish.

Queensland's Sasha McDonnell had a great opportunity within the opening five minutes of play, but the strike was met by an equally fine save by Western keeper Ashley Bennet.

Sting then took the lead in the 22nd minute with a top effort from Lana Harch. Receiving the ball deep on the left, the midfielder cut inside, beating two defenders and unleashed a cracking shot from 25 metres, leaving the keeper no chance. Western's only shot for the half was a late attempt which flew well over the target.

Queensland changed from their 3-4-3 formation to a 3-5-2 for the second half, but with the better showing from the Waves in this period, play became more of an even contest, with Waves gradually able to push into attack.

Western were rewarded in the 67th minute, former Qantas Matildas and Northern NSW Pride striker Hayley Crawford scoring the team's first ever league goal when a well-struck cross was converted with her header at the back post.

Eleven minutes later, Sting reclaimed the lead 2-1 when substitute Krystina Walker charged down the ball which looked to be going out for a goal kick. Under pressure, the goalkeeper tried to keep the ball in with her foot, but Walker's tackle won possession leaving her only the job of finishing into an empty net to score her first ever WNSL goal.

Western were not about to give up however, and won a freekick 25 metres on the left but Crawford's goal-bound attempt was turned around the post with a solid save by goalkeeper Claire Nichols.

Venue : Wanderers Oval, Newcastle
Northern NSW Pride
Erin Herd, Cheryl Salisbury, Melanie Cotts, Ashley Wilson, Emma Howes, Meegan Shepherd, Joanne Peters, Lindsey Jones, Elizabeth Kermode, Emma Stevenson, Kate Gill
Goal : Kate Gill 43
1 - 0 NSW Sapphires
Cassandra Kell, Belinda Ristevski, Lisa Gilbert, Neisha Klessattel, Katherine Cavanagh, Taryn Rockall, Rebecca O'Neill (Renee Rollason 80), Olivia Kennedy (Katie Hilder 52), Joanne Burgess, Servet Uzunlar, Aysha Adalis (Renee Cartwright 60)
Northern NSW Pride, woodenspooners last season, kicked off the new season with a 1-0 victory over defending champions NSW Sapphires on Saturday in Newcastle, the opening day of action for season 2004.

The result was not a surprise, however, as both sides fielded vastly different lineups to that of a year ago. Northern have been boosted by the prize additions of Qantas Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury and vice-captain Joanne Peters. By contrast, the Sapphires were today without a massive ten players, on national team duty with the Qantas Young Matildas, and took the field with four debutantes amongst their starting eleven.

A healthy crowd of 600 turned out for the clash, which unfolded as a tight contest with Northern holding the slight advantage. NSW seemed content to sit back and soak up the pressure, and rely on the counterattack. Northern took the route of remaining patient with their build-up.

Pride scored what turned out to be the winning goal two minutes before half-time. Meegan Shepherd sent a freekick deep into the 6-yard box, picking out Gill who converted with a looping header into the top corner of goal.

Northern were deserving of the three points, the more dangerous overall with another three good chances on goal. The Sapphires shot mainly from distance with no real clear cut opportunities.