Warners Bay edged closer to another Herald Women’s Premier League minor premiership with a 3-1 win over New Lambton at John Street Oval yesterday.
But the victory was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests with the competition heavyweights being put under plenty of pressure in the second half to defend their 2-0 half-time lead.
Before round 16, Warners Bay held a five-point advantage over Merewether and New Lambton, who were both on 21 points.
The win extended their buffer to seven points as Merewether drew 1-1 with sixth-placed Adamstown at Myamblah Oval yesterday.
Jets player Jenna Kingsley continued her case for another leading scorer title for the league. She took her tally to 22 with both goals in the first half for Warners Bay as the hosts produced a dominant display.
Kingsley ran onto the ball in the box around the 15-minute mark after centre-back Holly Ayton slid the ball through New Lambton’s defence. Kingsley buried it into the bottom left corner then 10 minutes later found the back of the net with a close-range header from a cross into the box.
New Lambton came out strong in the second half and applied plenty of early pressure.
They had three clear chances saved by goalkeeper Maddison Latter before Georgia Amess scored low into the bottom left corner after the Eagles won the ball in the middle of the field in the 76th minute.
Warners Bay applied late pressure and Eagles goalkeeper Taylah Bryde had to bat away a shot on target from close range with seven minutes to go.
Then with two minutes remaining, the home side were awarded a free kick on the right sideline and Nadja Squires’ long-range effort sailed into top left corner.
It was an important win for Warners Bay player-coach Cassidy Davis, who praised her side’s character to hold out the fast-finishing Eagles.
“We could’ve had a couple more in the first half. It could’ve been 4-0 at half-time and then the second half would’ve been a different story,” Davis said.
“But in the second half they came at us and we battled and we dug deep, and that’s a positive.”
Eagles coach Keelan Hamilton was happy with the second-half performance but said “you can’t give a good side a two-goal headstart”.
“They were better in the first half. For some reason we were a bit passive and had a few nerves and showed them a bit too much respect,” Hamilton said.
“I thought we were the better side in the second half. I thought we got into the game and showed more of what we’re capable of, but we still can be better.”
Merewether led 1-0 at half-time in the other round-16 match. The defending champions took an early 1-0 lead through Nicki Jones but Lauren Allan levelled the score midway through the half.
Wallsend, fourth, and South Wallsend, fifth, had the bye.
They meet Wednesday night at Wallsend Park in a rescheduled washed-out match with both desperate for victory.
South Wallsend can overhaul Wallsend into fourth place with a win while the Red Devils can extend the gap on the Wolves to four points if they take victory.
Round 16 results:
Warners Bay 3 (Jenna Kingsley 2, Nadja Squires) defeated New Lambton 1 (Georgia Amess) at Johns Street Oval. Half-time: Warners Bay led 2-0.
Merewether 1 (Nicki Jones) drew with Adamstown 1 (Lauren Allan) at Myamblah Oval. Half-time: Merewether led 1-0.
Points: Warners Bay 29, Merewether 22, New Lambton 21, Wallsend 7, South Wallsend 6, Adamstown 5.
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