|Stop Out Senior Women's Divison 1|
Cup Final (Te Whaea)
Stop Out 1 Petone 0 : Mel' McDougall
On a wet and windy night we are up at TW against local rivals Petone. Having shared the spoils in our two league matches there's a keeness about our girls to finish the season with the ledger firmly in our favour.
We play the game right from the word go with great intent, attacking play on the right hand side our forte as Gabby tears them up and Alana makes life uncomfortable for their defence. In the middle of the park Mel McD rules the roost with great support from Tara, Mel M and Mel A when she makes an appearance in a slightly depper role. After a series of opprotunities it's Mel McD who tucks away our opener and we roll a few subs to keep legs fresh in what is a good bustling battle with the team in blue.
In the second half we continue to win challenges and play on the front foot but a second goal of comfort just won't come our way. Stacee and Nicola give us pace in our attacking play while GI relishes a run in the middle of the park as she dominates previous team mates and puts in a power of work. Full marks to the crew at the back, Steph B in sublime form and touch, ditto Kathryn and Kelsey, while captain Soph' is very strong despite carrying an injury intoth final game of the campaign. Kath is her usual commanding self on the rare opportunities Petone threaten.
It's a very jubilant team at the final whistle, as the season is farewelled in the best manner possible with the League & Cup double in the trophy cabinet - (well it would be if we ever get the Cup free from Soph's iron grip).
Stop Out 3 Seatoun 1: Melissa Adams 2, Nicola
The pitch is reasonable despite the buckets of rain sweeping over the Valley as we kick off. There's sporadic let up on the weather through the game but even still it's a challenging morning for playing football.
Right from the word go we are on the front foot, Melissa has that look in her eye and a purpose in her stride. The conditions assist but it's of great comfort when after 10 she makes her way towards goal and drills the ball through the Seatoun keeper and into the net. Kathryn is all control at the back working well with Amelia, Brooke & Courtnee who all are disciplined ad cool in all they do. Across the middle of the park the industry of Tara is a perfect foil for the calm and applomb of GI's play and the pair dominate the midfield battle with Gig having another bright game on the right. We look for width in our play, Mel Moore offering that in a left side role and we are regularly rolling subs in the cold weather to beat off hypothermia. Letesha and Nicola join the game with no disruption to our dominance. It's Nicola that extends our lead with a pearler, beating their experienced keeper with a nasty dipping left foot shot from outside the box. Jenny cooly joins the back four and we go to the half good by two.
Seatoun continue to look to a flat back four (back 10 at times) to spoil our attacks, we''re caught offside a few times but the pressure eventually tells. Melissa takes her second due to skill and perserverance as the conditions deteriorate. Gabbie is tearing them up on the right hand side and on a fine day with a lessor keeper we might have scored a bag full. On the other side of the park Jenny enjoys the suggestion to get forward at every opportunity to support our play in the front third. On the opposite flank Brooke M follows her example as we look to find a way through a sea of blue shirts.
Despite the puddles and mud the team continues to try to knock the ball around and it's most pleasing to see the winters training pay dividends with all players comfortable on the ball and looking to pass to and support those around them. At the back Kath is strong in all she does and directs her back four well, it's an unfortunate slip and skid in the mud that allows Seatoun one back just before the final whistle. The manner of play (and the result) most pleasing for the coaches on the sideline.
Next weekend - a final versus neighbours Petone, a quite fitting way to wrap the season some would say.
Stop Out 3 NW Villa 1: Gabbie, Tara & Stacee
Not that we knew it at kick off but this match became a Qtr final for the season ending Cup. NW Villa are a good bunch and bring a great attitude to a fine afternoon at the park.
We are pleased to add Gig to the squad today, throwing her the challenge of Div 1 football. She responds with a very tidy performance, working hard on the right with Gabbie to support in front of her and Cathy behind her putting in another solid performance.
Right across the team it's the brand of football that most pleases the coaching staff, while not everything comes off at all times our players are trying to knock the passes & support fellow players rather than blindly hit and hope. On the left hand side Stacee and Steph' show growing understanding in their double act and we have the lead after half an hour from a well taken goal by Gabbie. At the half we could've been up by more but again we strike a disciplined defence and a strong keeper in the NW goal.
Never during the match do NW stop competing and their reward is an equaliser from the spot midway through the second half. Despite the tied scoreline we can't find fault at the back, once again Kels' and Kathryn are proving a good pairing at the back and Kath in goal is confident in all she does. The chatter and team work on the pitch is a noticeable improvement from the start of the winter.
We continue to take the game to NW and after a few near misses, corners and teasing crosses we are back in front when inspirational skipper Tara belts home a shot from the edge of the box. With just a few minutes to go a strong run by Stacee is rewarded with a goal, even if the keeper does make an uncharacteristic faux pas. 3-1 feels like a just outcome and we're glad to offer NW some Hutt Park hospitality afterwards.
NW Blue 0 Stop Out 3; Mel' A (2), Tara
Finally we get to complete the regular season, hosting Nth Wgtn Blue for our "away" fixture at Hutt Pak. It's a cool morning but the ground is good for the challenge of a NW team desperate for a result to stay in contention for promotion. Our team sets itself the target of a clean sweep of the second round and an unblemished record to go with the title win.
We take the opportunity to rest a couple of players & offer a run in the first team to others. The back line is reshuffled with Kels' sweeping while Cathy slots in at right back with usuals Kathryn and Steph' in their spots. We welcome back Steph' McMillan to a game in goal again.
Right from the get go we are into our game, a feature we wanted to get right after often starting slow. Captain for the day, Tara, relishes the task and encourages and cajoles her team mates. There's an early change from the bench with Rachel thrown into the play on the left hand side. NW have a well orgainsed defence & in numbers they keep us at bay for about 25 minutes. The opening goal comes after play from the right hand side, Mel' A volleying home a screamer with her first touch of the game. We see out the half still at 1-0, & despite some teasing crosses and corners we aren't able to extend the lead. The only concern is our tail wind has strengthened and is one enough?
For a time there's some forays forward by NW, but the team work at the back is superb, Kels' in great nick and poor old Steph' has bugger all to do between the sticks. The midfield are as industrious as ever and we finally get some due reward when Alana and Mel' A combine well and with several interchanges of passes set Mel up for her second. The game is safe and the coaches enjoy seeing newbie Cathy playing well at right back, Mel McD as busy as ever covering every yard of the pitch at some time ably spported by Stacee, Tara, Rachel and Mel M. The flank play of Stacee and Gabbie too much at times for the NW defence.
It's fitting that captain Tara is on hand to score the third from close range and at the final whistle it has again been a superb team effort - especially given the need due to niggles and knocks to roll subs at regular intervals.
The satisfaction with an unbeaten run to the title is very pleasing but overall it's the way the team gels and the style of football they always attempt to play that is most pleasing from the sideline.
Stop Out 3 Eastbourne 1 (Mel' McD 2, Steph' B)
Hutt Park on a Sunday where Mother Nature unleashed some of her worst, though the surface is firm under foot for us to host neighbours and fellow promotion contenders Eastbourne.
Soph' loses the toss, though it's the only bad call she'll make all day.
We're with the northerly behind us for the first 45 minutes (bad call EB!). Right from the word go we are into our game, the midfield gaining ascendancy with timely forward play from GI and Kathryn making the difference as we dominate the first half hour. The conditions do make it tough up front though, the through balls tend to scoot through untouched and anything in the air gets caught in the breeze and flies the length of the field. But as they do the women get smarter and tidier in their approach play - we make better use of the width & with some good work from Tara, Alana, Gabbie & Nicola begin to work openings in the EB defence. Sadly we lose Kels' to injury meaning at the back a few who were marginal starters are going to be asked to play 90 minutes.
Twice we set up Mel McD for shots from 20-30 yards and on both occassions her shots are too hot for the keeper to handle. Wary of the assistance the breeze will offer we're rapt to see a 3rd in the net when Steph' responds first to a ball only half cleared by EB. From 30 yards her shot skips past the keeper for a measure of comfort at the break.
The second half sees more pressure on our defence, we adapt our line up to include Stacee in the midfield and she produces a fabulous 45 minutes of toil breaking up EB play down their right wing. Kath is assured in goal, mindful of the slick conditions while Soph' despite injury is her usual calm self tidying and directing the defensive efforts. We squander a few half chances up front, and EB eventually do find the net for a response, but with Mel M and Mel A tirelessly tracking back we crowd out EB's options on attack - and so run out deserved winners on the day.
It should be noted the goal we conceded is the first to go in our net for over 500 minutes of match play - the previous was way back on May 9 when we last played Eastbourne!
The win guarantees not only promotion, but also the Division 1 title for the squad. The trifecta of promotions targeted at the beginning of the year is in the bank and the celebrations start as soon as the team return to the dry warmth of the shed. Premier football awaits us next winter and despite the freezing cold afternoon a few cold ones are obligatory to celebrate the squads achievements.
Stop Out 2 Petone 0 (Stacee, Nicola)
A brillant looking Hutt Park and we are host to Petone, our most immediate neighbours and also most immedaite rivals for the league tite.
Right from the word go we are in good form, dominating the opening 20 minutes with width in our play and opportunities to score served up. Petone are no mugs though and they are well organised in their last line of defence and after weathering our opening storm dictate play for a period leading up to half time. Tara is magnificent in the middle of the park - showing steely determination to record a win over old team mates. She works hard down the right with GI in strong form, Gabbie and Nicola the pace in front of them. No score at half time and the talk is of not backing down from the physical(but fair) nature of the contest and NOT going home empty handed from a game against Petone that we dominate (like many of the past encounters).
Our flank play tends to shift to the left for a time, Stacee finding opportunity at times and across the park we are stepping up to all challenges. Steph' B gets shunted aound a few roles on the right and at the back as subs are rolled and is in sizzling form complimenting the usual toil and skill of the trio of Mel's. Stacee breaks the deadlock, with the final touch on a ball pinging around the 6 yard box, and the coaches relax just a little with hopes that just maybe this will be our day.
Petone come at us again, but Kath in goal - and the usual partnerships at the back are steady in all they do - refusing to concede possession and playing the ball out from the back with applomb. Late in the game Nicola gets herself space on the right inside the box, twisting her marker inside out she spins to wrap the game up with a pearler of a goal..her 27th of the season and officially my favourite! The whistle sounds not long after and the aftermatch drink tastes awfully good with promoion almost assured following a fabulous team effort.
Stop Out 1 Seatoun 0 (Nicola Bowden)
After a couple of weeks off, Sunday eventually rolls round and we have the early 11am kick off away to Seatoun on the tight little pitch at Crawford. The holiday period has ravaged the squad and we head off with a bare 11 players with Brooke stepping up from Division 3 and Stacee pulling on the goalkeeping gloves for the first time this season.
At last it's stopped raining and the sun is shining as we kick off against a side we've not met before. We immediately get into our stride with the midfield trio of Mel M, Mel MacD and Tara dominating play and Nicola, Mel A and Brooke stretching the home defence on numerous occasions. Nicola breaks free on one quick attack and a shot on the run from 20 yards skims off the top of the bar. A couple more shots roll wide of either post before Nicola pounces on a loose ball in the box and drives it past the keeper from 10 yards for a 1-0 lead.
The rest of the half continues in the same vein with just the odd Seatoun attack, which is thwarted by the well marshalled defence of Steph, Kathryn, Soph and GI. GI launches several lung busting charges out of defence which cause chaos in the home ranks but the half time whistle blows and we settle for a single goal lead at the break.
During halftime we realise Soph is suffering badly from shin splints after a week at tournament in Oz, but with no subs to bring on she bravely continues and we reshuffle to a more conventional 4-4-2 formation to give us a more solid look and provide a bit more cover at the back.
If anything, we are even more dominant in the second period, launching attack after attack down both flanks and with Mel MacD feeding lovely through balls from the centre of midfield into the path of the forwards. Unfortunately, we're up against a class keeper, who also doubles as a second referee with an opinion on every decision, and we still can't find that second goal to put the game to bed.
Mel M works tirelessly in midfield but shots fizz just wide or just over and Nicola, the unluckiest of all, manages to hit both posts with great efforts on the run.
On the sidelines, the coaches remain nervous as we all know one goal is never enough and Seatoun, we expect with the aid of a road map, compass and a local tour guide, actually manage to find their way into our half on a few occasions. Stacee, who for the most part remains a lonely and forlorn spectator gets to touch the ball twice as she smartly races off her line to put the ball back in our opponents half.
The fulltime whistle eventually comes and the three points are safe. On another day, with a little more luck, the result could have been much more emphatic and a 3 or 4 goal win would have been a true reflection of the teams dominance. However, we settle for the points and a fourth consecutive clean sheet and look forward to a top of the table clash with Petone next week.
Stop Out 3, Nth Wgtn Villa 0 (Gabbie, Nicola & Melissa Adams)
It's another wet afternoon, the pitch with some surface water but nothing like the ponds of two weeks back.
We're generally on the front foot from the word go, Tara, GI and Mel' McD immediately into their stride though our better opportunities tend to come from breaking down the left hand side. Nicola busy as ever, with Kelsey in good support down the weaker side of the NW defence. After a few teasers we're ahead when a cross eludes all but Gabbie who's back post run is perfectly timed. There's a sniff or two of NW attack, but the most part Soph' & Kath have the measure of their opponents and Kathryn defends on the front foot against larger opposition.
Into the second half and there's no change to the script, pleasing to see the midfield purr - like a well oiled engine, Mel' M full of endeavour and the switching of play is encouraging in increasingly trying conditions. There's an unfortunate handball that looks set to gift NW an equaliser - but they miss the opportunity and within minutes we have doubled the lead. Nicola chops back from out left to rifle a shot in off the near post from 20 yards, their brave keeper suffering the ignomy of the ball rebounding off her to go in the net. Over the next 20 minutes or so we make seamless changes, Steph' B slotting into right back and tidy in all her work. Upfront there's chances for Alana, Gabbie and Melissa - and it's the latter who taps in from close range after a period of sustained pressure. The match stays a good keen contest and played in excellent spirit by both teams as the weather deteriorates - and for the 3rd week in a row we have to settle for a final score three goals to the good & the warmth of the NW clubrooms afterwards.
Most pleasing for the coaches is the team work, the determination to play football in the trying conditions - and the efforts to play a possession based game no matter where on the field we are or what the state of the game.
Our results are about far more than just the youth of our team - it's the manner of their game that sees them with 70+% of possession and subsequently the opportunities to turn this into goals on the score sheet.
Now how we'd love a mild winter afternoon on a better surface.....not next week though, we're back to Alex Moore to tackle NW Blue.
Stop Out 3, Lower Hutt Zimmers 0 (Mel' McD & Melissa Adams 2)
Hutt Park looks beautiful on a cool afternoon, we host local rivals Lower Hutt in the second match of round two. What a contrast to the lake of last weeks match!
The business half of the season affords little room for slip ups and if we are serious about promotion a win is the minimum requirement against a team we've never beaten.
After the usual 15 minutes we are the better settled team, playing with purpose and patience and in particular start to open up chances down our left flank, Steph' B combining well with support from Gabbie, Kelsey and Mel' M at times to get in behind the LH defence. Nicola is lively in a central role up front against her larger opponents and works well with Tara in the early exchanges. The first goal arrives after 30 minutes, a near post corner from Mel Mc'D causes havoc and is palmed into the goal by the keeper - we'll let Mel' claim that - it's just reward for a fabulous display in the heart of the midfield.
We roll some subs - fresh legs - though no-one deserves to be subbed - there's intent and good play across the park. Melissa - aka Melessi ? - scores a stunner to double our lead, picking up the ball near halfway and weaving her way past 6 maybe 7 defenders and slipping the ball past the keeper from just 6 yards. If Maradona can get 10 gazillion hits on youtube for his wonder goal from '86 then it's shame this one wasn't recorded on film! The game is made safe when a few minutes later Melissa picks up the ball outside the box and jinks past 3 or 4 defenders for another goal of skill and determination. It's three at the break and the only concern is the turn in the weather and the gale we're playing into.
We roll a few more subs and there's not a step missed in the performance, if anything our second half is better than the first. The girls look to keep play on the deck and it's only the bogginess of the goalmouth and a missing ounce of luck that stops us adding a few to the score. The Zimmers toil well, and the match is played in a very good spirit throughout.
It would be remiss not to mention a fine performance by Sarah in the defence, on the front foot in her play and wrapping up their attackers when a break threatened. Nicola continued to help create space up front and with an ounce of luck her golden boots could've added to theri 2010 tally. The midfield play was patient and tireless, it's a treat to watch the Mel's, Brianna and Tara play with such confidence across the middle of the park, looking for the flank supprt of GI, Gabbie et al. At the back Soph and Kathryn were assured and Kath decisive in all she had to do in goal.
Great result ladies - though the push for promotion is only just getting underway. More of the same next week please!
Stop Out 3, Wellington Utd 0 (Stacee, Tara & Mel' Moore)
It's been a while - nearly a month since we played due to weather and the BYE. We are up at Macallister for the opening game of round two gainst newly promoted Wgtn Utd. The pitch is water-logged complete with a small lake on the southern side and it's pelting down as we kick off.
It takes a while but each player eventually sorts out the technique required to handle the conditions, on the left hand side Stacee & Kelsey adapt quickly and spark some early attacking options. On the other side the going is heavier, but Kathryn & Alana battle strongly in the elements. We're secure at the back, it ain't easy but our speed and guile and Kath's bravery ensure there's no leaks at the back. Upfront there's reward for Stacee as she scores our first and Tara who's been everywhere on the pitch getting stuck in gets a superb second - effectively putting the game to bed just before the half time whistle.
The second half is all about us, but try as we might the only goal comes from the boot of Mel' Moore who taps home a far post ball. The play down the right, with Kathryn & Gabbie in good form, carves up Wgtn Utd and if we'd had a firm, dry pitch there would have been a few more in the onion bag. Alana hits the bar from 30 metres - no mean feat in the conditions and Kath is more than equal to any opportunistic strike from the opposition, with Soph, Steph and Amelia in determined unison in front of her. Mel' Mc and Mel' A work hard in the centre of the field - showing fine touches in the conditions - rounding out a fabulous team effort. Our thanks to the passing ref, his volunteered efforts were most appreciated on a day when other games were abandoned.
Eastbourne 2 Stop Out 0
With our place in Div 1 secured it was a chance for a few new faces to have a taste of Div 1 football - with a game out at Bishop against local rivals (in a good way) Eastbourne. It's a 'mare of a pitch - but since the laws of football have both teams on the same pitch we can't use that as any sort of excuse.
The first half we spent working hard to cope with the zing & skill of one or two E'bourne players - their lively play down the left leading to a scrappy but deserved goal and the lead at half time. We battled hard, Kels', Kathy, Tara & Rosa putting their bodies on the line - while Kath in goal was in good form (thankfully). We had patches of possession, but barely threatened the E'b goal - and as GI lamented at the break we've barely strung more than 3 passes together.
Fair to say we have a good chat at the break & decide the goal is putting the ball on the deck & stringing passes together. Nice to have GI yell from the pitch 10 minutes later - 5 passes !! We're on the improve.
Steph' & Rosa keep the left wing E'b attack contained - GI spends some time in the middle of the park, creating some play in tandem with Mel', Tara & Brianna at times that sees us threaten the E'b goal - we have chances that the toiling Brooke & Georgia can't quite put away - & so despite our best endeavours there's no magical equaliser.
The staunch defence coughs up a very very late second to E'b - and we retire to their clubrooms for a thirst quencher on a hot Sunday afternoon.
Stop Out 3 NW Blue 0 (Kelsey O'Connor, Gabbie Ranford & Melissa Adams)
A fine Sunday at Hutt Park - we welcome an inform NW Blue team to our home, looking for a result to confirm our spot in Div 1 for round two. There's some rotation of the squad - GI returns to the defence & Brianna steps up for a run in the midfield.
The early exchanges are even, NW with several tidy players in their midst. Our defence though copes well with their width & the midfield is working well against some keen opponents. Up front we attempt to be smarter - there's some teasing crosses served up by Alana & Gabbie that we can't quite capitalise on in the first 20 minutes.
What we do like is the front three have taken their lessons on board and vary their positioning and point of attack - though the NW defence, reliant on their tidy sweeper keep us at bay. Unfortunately for NW, she can do nothing about a long range effort from Kelsey - when she tees the ball up from 40 yards for a back post attack it sails into the net untouched & we have the lead. Shortly after it's Gabbie with her best goal yet in senior football - again having switched sides of the park - she cuts a direct path for goal, shaking aside several would be tacklers before firing home a rasping shot. A fabulous finish allowing us a two goal lead at the break.
The second half leaves our defence & keeper Kath less & less to do. The midfield is well marshalled by Mel' MacD - and Brianna, Mel' Moore & Steph are all getting the better of their opponents. Up front we can't quite turn that dominance into more reward - whether it's scrambling defence or poor option taking at times - though it's certainly not for lack of trying as Stacee and Melissa repeatedly threaten but are foiled.
At the back, GI & Kathryn are in top form - relishing chances to come forward to support our attacks. It's worth noting our oppostion are closer in age to us - so they do last the distance & offer stiffer resistance as we go late in the game without further addition to the score. Just when I'm thinking it's going to stay 2-0 there's a delightful ball out of midfield from Steph' that drops on the toe of Melissa as she breaks free of the defence - a sharp finish wraps up the days scoring just before the final whistle.
Sad to say after a good contest NW can't join us for an aftermatch drink on the deck - it's a perfect avo' for a refresher.
Stop Out 3 NW Villa 0 (Mel' MacDougall, Alana Marsh 2)
We're host to North Wellington Villa - and are especally keen to balance the ledger after last week's set back. It's unfortunately a muggy, blustery afternoon at Hutt Park - not ideal football weather - it's energy sapping weather. We welcome Amelia for her first start of the season while with Melissa out we have make changes up front as well.
Right from the word go we are the stronger team, the wind at our backs meaning NW attacks are limited to just a few long range attempts. We once again strike a well disciplined defence & an in-form keeper which thwart our best endeavours in front of goal. To be fair we're also guilty of not playing to the conditions - too many balls getting away on us - we're fast, just not that fast chasing the zephyr assisted through ball. A few rolled subs to keep legs fresh and minds focused - & it's a great delivery from Steph B at a corner that sees Mel' MacD tuck away a goal with a fine first touch. Despite our 80% of possession we are only good by the one goal at the half.
The football we play only gets better in the second half - there's flank play that's great to watch from Kathryn, Steph & Gabbie on the right - Kelsey, Tara & Stacee equally strong on the left. NW's attacks are thanks to the wind more often but for the most part they are met by staunch defence from Soph', Amelia, Mel' Moore and Steph in goal. Up front we still can't tuck one away - the coaches lose a little more hair - & now and then we sweat that NW might steal a goal.
The last 15 minutes belongs to us - their tiring defenders opening up opportunities for us - balls across the box from Brooke & Gabbie that we just can't get a finishing touch to. Just when we think we might have to settle for 1-0 Alana pounces on a mishit clearance in their box and side foots home to make the game safe. Within a minute she is away again - after an earlier missed sighter - her second one-on-one with the 'keeper is tucked away for 3-0 and the result finally reflects our dominance.
It's been a very good second half - we do play better into a zephyr & it's full marks to the team for their patience & build up which stuck to the game plan & eventually wore down their opponents.
Lower Hutt 2 Stop Out 0
An early kick off on a warm morning at Fraser Park. We know we're in for a tough time as we tackle local rivals Lower Hutt & a chance to go top of the table.
After the usual 10-15 minutes as players settle and play gets some shape we are starting to dominate - tidy at the back with Kathryn & Sophie containing their troublesome opponents. The midfield battling - no surprises there's a pitched battle out there - but we start to get on the front foot and we do make some good forays down the right with Gabbie playing with pace. Unfortunately the Zimmer's strength is a well marshalled defence and an in-form 'keeper - and we see numerous attacks and shots come to nothing - despite dominating possessin. A sharp break from the Hutt team sees them score - a well taken goal - somewhat against the run of play. To our credit the toil continues - Stacee makes an impact with support from Kels', Tara & Mel Mac' at times - but there's still no goal to show by half time.
Back we go - and the match like the ground is tinder dry - the spark comes from the Hutt players, often off the ball. There's passion on both sides - but it's fair to say the Hutt team are old masters at this style of game and they continue to frustrate our play. Steph B and GI are tight on defence and our midfield keep battling but we are unable to find a way through the dogged yellow defence. We go close on occassions, Steph B's corners causing havoc but with no reward we throw caution to the wind & push players forward for the last 20 minutes. Brooke, Mel' Adams, Gabbie and others go close but we're caught short at the back on a break and the second Hutt goal minutes from the end seals the result. Not a lot of pleasantries to exchange with the opposition - but then they were everything we had expected. From the sideline we know we can play smarter in front of goal - and all players got a reminder that talent & the "beautiful" game don't always win the day - but on the positive we will learn from this, and look to our second round rematch when the "points" really count for a promotion push.
Stop Out 6 BNU 0 - (M Adams 5, M MacDougall)
Last week's disappointment has served to be a motivator for the team - after a very good training session on Friday all are present and correct in plenty of time for our next opponents, Brooklyn Northern. Into this weeks team come Kath in goal & Mel' Moore in the middle of the park.
Right from the word go we are sharper, play down the flanks is immediately too hot to handle for the BNU defence - & with Kath vocal and brave behind the defence a couple of half chances and early breaks are the extent of BNU's attacking play. The delivery into the opposing penalty area from Gabbie & others is excellent - lessons from last week taken on board - but, for a frustrating twenty minutes or so we find the BNU keeper in good form.
Despite the best laid plans - and the coaches drawings on the whiteboard - there's a few positional changes forced upon us. But all players are responding well to these unplanned challenges & we are firmly in control. Once we get one, the nerves are settled and by the half Melissa Adams has her hat trick & the game is safe.
The margin allows us to alter some positions - but a nasty rolled ankle takes GI out of the game. Her strength at right back, with intelligent distribution was a positive feature of the first half. Across the middle of the park against tiring opposition Alana, Tara, Mel' Moore and Mel' MacDougall are excellent with their support for each other & their angled balls for our galloping wings, Gabbie & Nicola to feast on.
Steph' B caps a very good game with a tasty corner which Melissa scores from - Mel' completes the match with 5 well taken goals and the train spotters back in the clubrooms can try to tell us the last time a Stop Out first team player bagged 5 in a match!
To complete the rout there's superb build-up that starts with Mel MacD' and finishes with her slamming home a strong shot - a goal to cap off an excellent performance for her in a mix of midfield and defensive roles. Kathryn, Soph', supported by Kath & Rachel ensure a clean sheet for the defence which is a fitting way to seal a solid team performance.
The next challenge is Lower Hutt - another local derby with a dash of spice next Sunday.
Petone 1 Stop Out 0
After weeks of training, the 7s & a couple of friendlies it's across the bridge we head to take on local rivals Petone. First competitive game of the new season and player numbers are tight thanks to Easter & injuries - so we have 12 for the Div 1 team and the bare 11 for Div 4.
We start with intent to attack wide - but the Petone defence knows our strengths & contains our front three. In the middle of the park it's a bruising encounter, Petone shading the combat & launching their long ball tactics for their front line to chase. Mid way through the half one of these raids yields a scrappy goal and we trail. Our reply is a more industrious period of play - Melissa drawing the best from their keeper - but no goal to show as half time is blown.
The second half sees us dominate play, strains of the Yellowfever's "We're playing all the football" can be heard around the park - & Petone continue their physical approach to upset our buildup. From Soph' at the back through to Gabbie out wide our intent is pour forward at pace - and the midfield are now winning the battles as we dominate possession.
Up front & out wide we get behind the packed Petone defence, but their GK is inspired and at times our final ball or shot lets us down. We push GI forward into the play - and she like the others brings the best from their keeper.
So when the final whistle goes we reflect on an afternoon of effort, our attractive passing football enjoyed by a good crowd of supporters - but despite possession stakes like a Barcelona team we lament not getting enough shots on target & Petone's player of the day - their darn 'keeper.
This season is just our 3rd year into our project to progress Women's football at Stop Out.
From humble beginnings of 6 young souls & 2 coaches at our first Te Whiti park training in February 2008 we are now two teams with a roster of over 30 registered players.
We would like to welcome Jeremy Bowen to the club as our second team coach & thank Russell Burley for stepping into an official role as manager for the large squad.
Last winter's dual success of a Cup win & league promotion was a fabulous achievement fo our young squad, Their camaraderie & enjoyment of the environment we offered meant a number of other young Rep/Federation players were attracted to step up to senior football at Stop Out. So this year we welcome a number of young faces - but - we also have a significant number of more mature heads joining the red revolution.
So a very special welcome to those that have come to us from Petone, Naenae & Lower Hutt, where for a variety of reasons their football aspirations were not being met.
Our first team will play in the revamped Division 1, chasing an end of year promotion to Premier League football. The second team will start in Division 4, & intend to use the changed structure to gain pomotion at the end of the first round of games - and then push for promotion to Div 2 by the end of the season.
We also staged our second annual Women's 7s in early March - the tournament attracting teams from the Manawatu & Wairarapa as well as the greater Wellington region. In total we had 34 teams contesting more than 100 games over the weekend.
On a lighter note we are finally glad to have players on the roster who can buy us a beer after the game!
Or if they do well the coaches' shout is going to cost us more than just 12 diet cokes!
Stop Out 2 Eastbourne 0 (0-0) - M Adams, S Burley
At last we get to the end of the season – our Cup Final deferred a week to allow girls to attend various school’s tournaments. Our thanks to Eastbourne for making this happen –and also for insisting on the use of Hutt Park – quite simply the best playing surface in the Valley. It’s been a hectic last few days for the management team trying to cobble together a team, with two broken wrists among the girls as well as a keeper on crutches for most of the week. Late Saturday night we get to a starting 11 and a couple of subs .....maybe, we think.
For the first 10 minutes we struggle to contain the enthusiasm and pace up front of Eastbourne – there’s some scrambling defence that if on film will be posted under “slapstick comedy” on Youtube. We actually have break away chances to take an undeserved lead that we squander but the real tension is at the back as we only just keep out a few Eastbourne corners. Unfortunately at one of these Stef is injured going for the ball – and with concern for her wellbeing we call an ambulance. 45 minutes later we resume play – Stef in good hands as the good folk at Wgtn Free Ambulance take her to Hutt Hospital. Heather steps in between the sticks.
Back to the game and the girls are galvanised, the break put to good use to focus thoughts on getting into the game and getting ourselves on the front foot. There’s play down the right wing that is heartening – Gabbie with guile and speed starts to cause the EB defence a few headaches, Stacee wide on the left has Kelsey in support and the pair make a number of breaks – but we can’t quite make the final pass or convert the half chances.
Most pleasing though is the new surety in the defensive third – EB seem to now have no way through as Amelia gets on the front foot in her work, Sarah likewise on the flank and Sophie is impressive with timely interceptions of any EB attacks. In the middle of the park Brigitte has good support from Brooke, Luana and Nicola and they begin to win the midfield battles – and influence the game more. Upfront the energetic Melissa playing in bursts is starting to challenge the shape of the EB defence – and her work with Stacee and Gabbie means gaps are starting to open up. We go the half 0-0 but encouraged that the game is there for the taking – any nerves that we could be under the hammer like our last league meeting have been nullified – and the girls are growing in confidence.
The second half sees EB toss a few shots at our goal – but usually from distance and Heather is faultless in her work – often out off her line to coolly dull any threat. In front of her Sophie has the girls well sorted and they’re aided by the bristling work of Luana and Brigitte. This allows Nicola more space out wide – and likewise Stacee on the left. It’s down the right we finally get some due reward – Nicola taking the ball wide before turning inside and crossing with her left foot to Melissa who on the edge of box takes the ball down and in the same motion rifles home a volley from the edge of the box.
The good size crowd are then treated to some champagne football – played with a passion by both sides as EB desperately try to get back into the game. Despite the heat the pace of the game barely misses a beat for the next 20 minutes or so. The game is made safe about 15 from the end when we are awarded a free kick some 25 yards out on the angle. Sophie curls the ball into the top right hand corner beyond everyone’s reach – a fabulous strike of true skill.
The remainder of the game is played out with further endeavour by EB but there’s no way past the skilled work of the defence who coolly play the ball out from the back at every opportunity – Kelsey tormenting her much older opponents with her play on the left. There’s some half chances to extend the score but it’s not to be – and we celebrate with gusto when the final whistle blows.
It’s a fabulous way to sign off a terrific season – runners-up to this very good EB side in the league, but gaining our piece of glory (& revenge) with a win in the Cup. We look forward to joining them in Div 2 next year and continuing our local rivalry. We recognise the efforts through the year of those who couldn’t make the field for the Final – Alana, Steph Bremner, Brooke and Letesha who are all disappointed to miss this game but have played significant roles in our wonderful winter.
The team is the most successful senior team in the club – boasts the top scorer in senior football, Stacee with 10 for her season.....(and we have to mention Melissa's 9 including a hat trick).
Our Player of the Year is captain fantastic, Sophie Burley.
Our Most Improved Player is a richly deserved reward for her hard work, well done Brooke Mildenhall.
Our Players Player of the Year is the engine in our midfield, Brigitte Ravera.
Brendan & Chris look forward to seeing everyone back in 2010 – and the continued support and help from a great group of parents and siblings which makes Sunday afternoon’s the highlight of the footballing week. We look forward to Russell joining us as team manager – and hope he’s got a good call plan for his mobile – he’ll need it !!
Stop Out 3 Marist 1 (3-0) - A Marsh, N Bowden 2
We welcome Marist to Hutt Park – and with a few extra supporters on the lines there’s quite an atmosphere for our semi final. Once again we look to an attacking line-up to take the game to our opponents. The first 30 minutes play out well, both Kelsey and Sarah relishing the encouragement to come forward from their defensive posts to support our attacks – Sarah is all skill with the ball at her feet and Kelsey embarks on one end to end run to cause havoc on attack. The left side attacks bear fruit, the growing understanding between Steph Bremner and Stacee a factor and our first goal comes as Stacee tees up an inside pass to Alana who slots the ball home from 15 yards out on the angle.
In the middle of the park Alana and Brigitte have immediately taken control of the battle for possession. Gabbie in an all too brief spell is tormenting the Marist defence on the right hand side but it’s from the left hand side we score twice more. Both times it’s well timed and executed finishes from Nicola after sterling work by Stacee. The birthday girl doesn’t have a conventional hat trick to her name – but she does have three assists! Nicola’s second is a gem as she beats the keeper to the ball and nods the ball home for a rare goal with a header.
The second half does see Marist try to get back into the game, the wind at their tails assists at times but in general we have Sophie and Amelia comfortable at the back, Amelia again on the front foot with her marking and tackling nullifying Marist. At the other end we can’t quite manage to add to the tally, close on a number of occasions – with Nicola foiled in her hopes for a hat trick as Marist tidy their defensive efforts.
Marist steal one back with a long range effort – but that’s as good as it gets as our girls continue to control the majority of play. Brooke M has a run up front for a change and links well with Gabbie and Brigitte at times but the game plays out with the final score 3-1 and a place in the final achieved.
Karori 0 Stop Out 1 (0-1) - G Ranford
First round - quarter final of the 3rd Division Cup and we're up at Benburn to take on Karori on a cool afternoon. We again look for pace and width to our attack by playing three up front expecting Sarah & Kelsey to support our endeavours from their defensive positions.
Right from the word go the match plays to script - a deft attack down the left, and the sliding cross is missed by everyone except Gabbie running in at the far post, 1-0 and barely more than a couple of minutes gone. It's a full 30 minutes till keeper Steph even touches the ball - our play is so dominant, with Steph Bremner relishing the midfield role and necessary work while Alana and Brigitte dominate proceedings in the middle of the park. Up front we just can't quite get the delivery into the danger zone or the six yard box quite right, their keeper is in good form and they've bolstered their defence for our visit and a couple of their players ensure there's shape in the their defence at critical times. That's not to take anything away from the toil of our front three, Stacee, Gabbie and Nicola.
We head to the break up by the one and keen for more so the coaches don't lose anymore hair.
Karori reshuffle their players in an attempt to steal a goal back but Sophie and Amelia are having a strong afternoon - Amelia always looking to be on the front foot and allow her opponent no time to settle at all in one of her strongest games all winter. Steph in goal has more work to do but for the most part it's shots from beyond 35/40 yards that she cooly deals with - and given we had no subs we're pleased to have her even though she's under the weather with flu. Up front Gabbie is in fine form - tormenting the Karori defence, setting up chances that continue to find their equal in their keeper who's having a good game. Sarah is strong in her play at right back, supporting Gabbie and Nicola at times while over on the left the partnership of Kelsey, Steph B and Stacee continues to flourish as the three link with pace and intelligently cover for each other when required. An interested supporter wonders whether his masters team could benefit from watching the play of our young charges! - there's only one answer to that question - yes!!
Brigitte and Alana continue to frustrate their older and larger opponents in the middle of the park but it's turning into one of those games where the ball goes eveywhere and anywhere but not in the goal. The good news - we don't cough up any chances at the back - Sophie again with a fine captains knock and just before the rain comes in the final whistle has been blown and we are off to the semi-finals next week.
Wellington Utd 0 Stop Out 4 (0-1) - G Ranford, B Mildenhall, S Burley, N Bowden
Our final league match of the season, and we welcome Wgtn Utd to a blustery Hutt Park - for their "home" game. With our final placing of 2nd assured the coaches look to challenge the girls with a slight change to our structure as we look to make our game even more expansive than it has been. Brigitte welcomes Brooke M and Steph B into central midfield roles alongside her - while upfront Gabby & Stacee have Nicola to partner them in their endeavour.
The first half is into the wind and the "new" format is working well, both Stacee and Nicola getting to the bye-line repeatedly. But just as importantly Kelsey and Sarah are further up the field and adding support to our attacking efforts, the whole game is shifted higher on the pitch and the pace & width of the game is hard work for Wgtn to contain - as well as making for a great spectacle from the sideline. After half an hour, with only fleeting pressure on our defense, we get reward as Gabby reacts quickest to an opportunity in the box and slashes home our opening goal. At the back there's brave work from Steph in goal as she smothers an attack, and that ensures we head to the break up by one.
The second half is even more dominant play by the girls, and they're to be commended that despite the tail wind they do not fall into the trap of playing & chasing long balls. Instead it's the blustery nature of conditions that tends to frustrate the best intentioned play at times. Chances come at regular intervals as the flank play continues, Alana & Brigitte industrious, Steph B, Stacee and Nicola ensuring width and at the back Amelia, Sarah, Sophie and Kelsey support the midfield at every opportunity. Brooke M gets her first goal in senior football, a strong run and follow up in the box to double our advantage and it's overdue reward for an afternoon & season of hard work & endeavour. Not to be outdone Sophie gets herself involved in play in the attacking third and a cracking strike from 25 yards seals the result as she too nets her first goal at this level. Late in the play there's more great work out wide and a pin point cross is pounced on by Nicola from close range to complete the scoring.
Our opponents are a great bunch of ladies who never stop toiling, supporting each other and ensuring a tough but fair competitive game. For the Stop Out players and supporters it's been a very good afternoon at the park, and despite the wind the girls have put on a pleasing performance to wrap the league season. We now look to the Cup competition for a fitting end to a fabulous season.
Check out the goals !
Stop Out 3 Stokes Valley 0 (2-0) 0 - S McLellan 2, B Ravera
A fine afternoon takes us to TeWhiti to tackle Stokes Valley; another team that we're sure would like some measure of revenge for our first round win. Right from the word go though there's only one team playing team football, as our young charges look to their short passing game & support play to dominate their more experienced opposition. in the middle of the park Alana is all strength, and with Brigitte they dominate the physical battle which allows Nicola and Brooke M the freedom to add width to our play. At the back Luana is having a great game, dominating her opponent and getting the ball forward to launch attacks. Upfront Stacee is proving a handful for their defence and before the half is too old has bagged our first goal. With an ounce of luck and at times a little more pateince we could have and should have had several more. But we have to content ourselves with just one more as Brigitte gets some reward for her tireless efforts when she scoots through a gap to confront and beat the keeper in a one on one situation. There's some staunch play from their keeper and a couple of defenders which keeps us somewhat checked but we have dominated the first 45 minutes and deserve the two goal cushion.
At half time the girls (and the coaches) talk about all players getting more involved, coming forward into the play to support our efforts in the front third of the field - and make the most of the opportunity to play a little out of their comfort zone. Kelsey and Sarah take the message to heart and their support and overlapping play is great entertainment in a game that remains physical and energy sapping in the afternoon heat. The attacking play and runs of Gabby are a delight to watch as she threatens to bring us more reward on the score sheet, but in the end we have to settle for just the addition of Stacee's 10th goal of the season - a delightful chip from a tight angle to make it 3-0. At the back the cool heads of Amelia and Sophie dominate, both are sure in their play meaning that Steph in goal has a light workload - though she is tidy in handling all that does come her way.
We have just one more game to play to complete the league and our second place was confirmed by other results on the day. Congratulations to all the players - an outcome we had hoped for but weren't sure of when the season kicked off back in April.
Stop Out 0 Petone 1 (0-1)
At last another game - transferred to TeWhiti to tackle neighbours Petone, & we expect a physical counter with a team keen to avenge for our first round win.
Holidays and illness rob us of 5 regulars – so Brigitte dons the keepers jersey – and Letesha plays upfront alongside Gabby. Right from the word go it’s a tough battle, Petone imposing themselves on the match physically and rushing to cut our time on the ball. Our brightest play comes from the flanks as always, on the left Kelsey & Steph have opportunities and work well together. Sterling work on several occasions by Steph unfortunately not bringing any reward.
On the right hand side Letesha causes havoc for the blue defenders, with support from Courtenay and Nicola at times. Brooke M is superb in a defensive role – maturity and strength in her play – and a good partnership with Sophie when cool heads are required. Unfortunately, we’re inaccurate at times – the physicality knocking some confidence – and we fall off our marking a few times, & are punished for it. Petone take the only goal & lead into the half.
The second half starts well; we create pressure with Brigitte & Nicola battling hard in the middle of the park. Luana settles into her work as does Amelia, and our goal is rarely threatened. Alana has taken over the job with the gloves and like Brigitte is tidy in all she does, and we’re grateful for both girls stepping into the unfamiliar role. Upfront we sneak ½ chances, Letesha & Steph with strength & speed going oh so close on occasion but Petone are defending in numbers and we can’t quite unlock the defence.
It’s encouraging though as the girls game develops to have Sophie coming forward in play – and her involvement always adds a much needed dimension to our play. Unfortunately though a goal wouldn’t come and time runs out – Petone have a satisfying win – and we have a couple more young girls weary but wiser from a tough game at senior level. Plenty of lessons to take on board, to take to training this week – and hopefully into a game against Wellington next week.
Stop Out 1 Eastbourne 5 (1-2) - S McLellan
Eastbourne came to Hutt Park keen for revenge after our win in round one - and were quick out of the blocks, keen and fired up. Unfortunately we weren't in the best shape - a few of the team carrying colds and injuries - but they shouldn't be used as any excuse against a well drilled opposition who play a good game of football.
Eastbourne scored first, not for the only time we are guilty of some hesitation at the back - but pleasingly we were level within 60 seconds as Stacee tore down the left side, cut into the box and delivered a lovely chip over the keeper. The toil continued, Nicola, Kelsey and Gabby despite their stature battling hard against bigger opponents but for no reward - and Eastbourne took the lead before the half as we struggled to contain their pace and strength. The half time chat was lead by the girls, coughing and spluttering, that they could improve in the second half.
The girls were good for it too, the next 20 minutes belonged to us - Melissa and Alana winning good ball in the middle of the park and feeding through to Brooke M, Gabby and Stacee - but chances wouldn't go in and Eastbourne punished the girls - scoring two quick goals that ended hopes for a comeback.
From the sidelines it was tough to watch the girls battle, constantly rolling subs so that players could catch a breath - and knowing there were a few that could've done with a rest still out there. The team spirit and attitude though were excellent - no one likes losing, but the girls character was impressive. The two teams have cleared out in Division 3 and will finish the season in 1st and 2nd place - for our girls, who have a game in hand, this can still be in top spot with ourselves masters of our own fate.
Stop Out 3 Marist 0 (1-0) - S McLellan 2, B Harrison
A change of venue - we head to Bryan Heath, there goes the pizza and chips aftermatch - no changing rooms either!
We go into the match without Sophie, Brigitte Luana & Melissa - the troops are keen though and ready to step up where needed. We welcome Letesha & Kelsey for their senior debuts in red and black on a cool afternoon, pitch is soft but at least it's dry.
The first half hour belongs to us, with play down the right flank for the most part (due to a chilling zephyr). Brooke M working well on the right with Brooke H in front of her - they find Gabby in industrious form up front - and with an ounce of luck she might have bagged one if not two goals. Sarah is busy, revelling in the sweepers role and dictating a sound defensive effort. Alana & Nicola are toiling in the middle of the park - looking to create width in our game - though it's the direct route that sees us take the lead, as Alana feeds Stacee who with intelligent support puts away the opening goal. Marist refuse to lie down though and make some forays on attack, but for the most part the defence holds well - Amelia not putting a foot wrong, Steph in goal confident & dominating the goal box.
We turn with the wind behind us, and play now involves our left side - Kelsey and Steph B playing like they've known each other for years - and while Marist enjoy some time on attack the back line is resiliant. Sarah organising the efforts and ensuring players coming through are picked up - Marist are restricted to a few long range efforts that Steph deals with comfortably. Injury robs us of Gabby for the second half - but Olivia steps into the unfamiliar role & keeps the Marist defence on their toes.
There's chances at the other end for us to seal the game, but a few go begging before Alana fetches a loose ball out wide - plays it to Stacee, whose cross is smacked into the net by Brooke H and the game is safe. There's still time though for another, this time as Marist crowd forward in search of a goal it's Sarah who becomes provider - a 30 yard ball setting Stacee through on a foot race to goal, she rounds the keeper with aplomb to complete the afternoons scoring. Despite the wind there's been play down the right - Letesha making a good fist of her first run with the team and working well with Brooke M & the tireless Nicola who has had another fine game. Pleasing but not surprising to see that this team of young woman is not reliant on a minority to succeed - their style of football never missed a beat and we thank Letesha & Kelsey for playing their part in a very good win.
So we retain top place - a game in hand over next weeks opponents Eastbourne, who trail us by a solitary point.
Petone 0 Stop Out 3 (0-3) - G Ranford, S McLellan, N Bowden
It's local derby time as we head to Petone to take on a team who we had a great tussle with preseason & we expect a tough encounter.
The weather's fine and underfoot conditions are good. We start well, slipping into our short passing game quickly and looking to make use of the speed of Stacee and Gabby up-front. The first goal comes courtesy of a quick break - Gabby gets between the keeper and a defender for a well taken first goal in senior football to the delight of the good crowd that has gathered once again. Our opportunities then start to come from play down the left - starting with Luana at the back and involving the tireless efforts of Steph B and Stacee - with inside support from Brigitte & Nicola.
Stacee shrugs her way past the cover defence and rifles a shot at the near post that the keeper can only palm into the net and we're two to the good after 20 minutes. Brooke H joins in up-front as we continue the assault, she combines well with Brooke M down the right and with an ounce of luck could've scored - once again we strike a good keeper, having a good day.
Before the half is up there's some chances for Petone - as we tend to play high up the pitch - but Steph in goal is equal to all thrown at her and the back four hold firm, committed in all they do. Just before the half is done there's a sweet patch of play involving most players as the ball is switched twice across the park - before being teed up for Nicola to strike home our third from outside the box. We should start charging the spectators to watch football this good.
The second half starts brightly - chances on offer but not going in as the girls continue their dominance, however, with injury taking the bench out of action we have to accept a tougher, tighter second period. After such a pacey first hour of play tired legs impact and Petone improve their play in the middle of the park. Brooke M is impressing and in the thick of our play
- though a deserved goal proves elusive for her. Petone meet another staunch defensive effort - Amelia, Sarah & Sophie in control and Steph in goal makes a couple of tidy saves and clearances to keep yet another cleansheet. The game finishes without any addition to the score and we have a further 3 points to keep us in top spot.
A very pleasing result given that we tackled this match with Alana succumbing to injury and Melissa unavailable. Fine performances across the park - and again the teamwork is most encouraging - and it's pleasing to see our younger team members bag the days goals. Having conceded only 2 goals in 7 matches we now have the most miserly defence in senior football across the region.
Thanks to the Petone club for their hosting of a good afternoons football and their hospitality after the game.
Stop Out 4 Karori 0 (3-0) - S McLellan, M Adams 2, B Ravera
It's freezing down at the Park, a southerly blowing through and there's been intermittant showers and hail storms all morning. Football is on though and we welcome Karori to Hutt Park - we're keen on a result after a draw at their place earlier in April.
We're into the wind first half - and quite simply what follows is 45 minutes of our best football all season. Every player is playing with poise and passing the ball along the carpet - negating the impact of the head wind. We create chances aplenty - with Brooke M on the wide right in fine form & Stacee out on the left just as devastating. Stacee helps herself to the first goal, an audacious chip over the keeper landing in the back of the net. Following this there's two strikes against Melissa's name - reward for another bustling display up front that the Karori defence struggle to contain. One of the goals is pure magic - starting with Steph in goal feeding Steph at left back, who rounds a couple of players before setting Stacee on her way down the line - she beats a couple and then serves up a pinpoint cross for Melissa's finishing strike. In the middle of the park we enthuse over Brigitte as busy as ever and a great display of passing football from Nicola in something of a new role at the heart of the engine. Brooke Harrison torments the defence with her pace - and with an ounce of luck could've had a cracker of a goal to her name
Another hail storm greets the second half - and there's more to come through the second half as the heavens change from bright blue to bright white and back to bright blue with a dash of grey. Karori look more threatening into the wind but their progress is halted by another sterling team effort by the defence. Sarah and Steph excel in their flank roles and Amelia & Sophie are a great foil for each other in the centre. Amelia full of anticipation in her duties and snuffing out attacks in front of our defensive thrird - Sophie as always cleaning up the scraps at the back and allowing Steph in goal an armchair ride in the second half.
The wind plays its' part in curbing our scoring in the second half - as does a top drawer performance by their accomplished keeper - but we manage one more, a scrambling effort by Brigitte, which is fine reward for another hard working 90 minutes.
The win allows us to continue on top of the table - and in the conditions that were bitter - we retire to the clubrooms in good heart. The football of the first hour well worth the price of admission.
Our young team had the bye - but results were kind to us & we remain on top of the league.
Eastbourne 0 Stop Out 2 (0-2) - M Adams 2.
Our first ever top of the table clash! - and we're at TeWhiti being hosted by Eastbourne knowing a win will take us to top spot.
We start brightly - strong in the middle of the park and making inroads down the right flank, with play involving Nicola & Brooke H with some smart work by their sweeper the only thing keeping us from taking the lead. However, after 15 minutes Brigitte battles her way to the byeline and pulls the pass back for Melissa to open our account from close range. At the other end of the field as Eastbourne try to get themselves into the match we have Luana strong in a new role of left back - and Sophie & Amelia are a great foil for each other, covering any half chance that Eastbourne create. Steph is very tidy with her work in goal - out off her line on a number of occasions to close down any danger. It's good to have a full roster of subs for a change as the cold and some ill health are impacting on a few of the team. With the southerly picking up it's relieving to head to half time with a two goal cushion - once again it's Melissa, but this time it's a driving run at their defence and a strong shot from the edge of the box to score.
The second half sees more long ball play from Eastbourne, but route one is blocked by sterling work - Sophie with a great captain's knock at the back & we are glad to have Sarah back in the fold after injury. A fabulous second half performance, a mix of defensive toil and joining in our forays down the right flank. Brigitte continues her barnstorming display in the midfield, directing play forward at every opportunity - complimented by the graft of Alana who repeatedly laid the ball wide for Nicola and Gabby to run onto. Gabby has a strong second half, tormenting the Eastbourne defence - and with an ounce of luck could've had her name on the score sheet. On the other side of the park Steph B & Stacee work well together - and the width of their play is a delight to warm the heart on a cold afternoon. Scrambling defence by Eastbourne keeps us scoreless but we finish the match in control and looking the more likely to find the net. Only sour note is what looks a painful rib injury for their keeper as she bravely saved at the feet of Gabby. We'll wish her a speedy recovery.
A top perfomance against our toughest opponent as yet this winter - and a result that puts us on top of the table. Across the park all played their part and the team work is impressive, especially with players dropped into new positions and at times covering positions as others took a short break.
Stop Out 5 Wellington Utd 1 (2-1) - M Adams 3, A Marsh, N Bowden
A fine afternoon at Hutt Park with barely a zephyr of a breeze to cool players & spectators. We welcome Wellington Utd to our first home game of the year.
We start brightly, winning the ball in the middle and front thirds of the park and have a well taken goal by Alana for an early lead - Alana bustling through two challenges to then score from a tight angle. Play down the left hand side - and a superb through ball from Brooke M puts Melissa in the clear, and she makes no mistake from in front to extend the lead to 2-0.
On the sidelines the coaches are concerned we have been suckered into playing down the middle and our worst fears are realised when Wgtn bustle down route #1 and score a deserved goal - and actually match us in the ensuing 15-20 minutes of the first half.
We chat at half time about playing width & taking a touch on the ball and the girls are good students taking on board the comments. Importantly we are able to use fresh legs off the bench - which is pleasing for players and coaches alike.
We put together several chances, with numerous corners floated over by Steph B - and finally get some reward to make the game safe. Melissa is as always quickest to respond to a half chance, while Nicola glides forward in support and with beaut footwork slides home her first ever goal in senior football. The match is put to bed when Melissa completes her hat trick - and our young charges extend their unbeaten start to 4 matches. Our biggest ever win as a team - and probably the first ever hat trick by a woman player in a Stop Out shirt in over a decade!
Stokes Valley 0 Stop Out 3 (0-1) - S McLellan 2, B Harrison
A damp Sunday afternoon and we travel to Delaney to take on Stokes Valley. Injuries & other commitments mean we are tight on numbers, so first off thanks to Amelia & Nicola who back up from their 14th grade match and take their places in the back line.
We're going forward right from the kick off but SV have a well marshalled defence that restricts our chances, SV threaten a couple of times but the organisation of the defence & covering play of Sophie keeps our goal intact. After a couple of half chances we finally get the break through - a well taken goal by Brooke Harrison who uses her speed to get around the defence & rifles a sharp finish across the keeper and into the corner of the net. There's some very good toil and passing play down the left flank - Rebekah with some timely touches despite the daunting physical presence of her opponents. There's chances from a few corners and free kicks that go awry and so we go to the break up by just the one.
Our focus for the second half is not to give SV an opportunity to steal a result (aka the Karori game) - again we dominate and after good buildup it's Stacee who muscles the ball over the line from close range. Flank play involving Steph B and Brooke M down the left continues to create trouble for SV - and the game is made safe when Stacee finishes well as our short passing game opens up the SV defence. Gabby continues her progress at this level and is a handful for the defence throughout the second half, while Alana has again been a strong presence holding our midfield effort together. Tired legs means the game opens up over the last quarter - but again we look the more likely to score with Steph McM very tidy in all she does in goal - with the defence of Nicola, Amelia, Sophie and Steph B fabulous to watch.
Karori 1 Stop Out 1 (0-0) - M Adams
The Easter holiday provided us with a hot and testing afternoon on a large pitch in the sunshine at Karori Park. Although a couple of regulars were missing, one or two new faces made up a squad of 13 allowing us to use rolling subs and rest a few legs.
Stop Out always held the upper hand and had the majority of possession in the first half.
Olivia proved a handful down the left flank throughout the match and gave the experienced Karori defence plenty to think about. Melissa and Gabby worked hard up front but we were finding it difficult to get past the home sides sweeper and attempts on goal were difficult to come by.Nicola was unlucky when she found some space on the right side of the box but hurried her shot and the chance was gone.Sarah had moved into the centre of defence to partner Sophie and the pair mopped up virtually every Karori attack. The only real danger came in the last few minutes of the half when a low shot from outside the area came back of a post before being cleared. Steph B and Brooke were very steady fullbacks and a danger going forward down both flanks.
The second half started with a quick goal from Melissa, which was the result of a great move from the back and involved six players, with Olivia providing the final pass for Melissa to round the keeper and slot home.Lots more good football followed and we were unlucky not to increase our lead when Melissa put the ball in the net only to be pulled back for a dubious free kick for a foul on the goalkeeper. She also looked to be fouled well inside the box, only for us to be awarded a free kick inches outside the area, which Alana fired wide.
We continued to press forward looking for a killer second goal only to be caught on the break in a rare Karori attack. A hopeful long shot bounced high over Steph in the goal and ended up in the bottom corner. The team continued to play football and pushed forward for the last ten minutes but couldn’t find a winner.
All in all it was another good team performance against experienced opposition who conceded they were fortunate to get a point against us at the final whistle. Sam gave everything in her first game and Rebekah and Nicola worked hard against some physical challenges. Brooke also showed some good touches and the pace we all know she has.
Special mention should go to Alana for the amount of ground she covered in the centre of midfield and particularly Olivia for a non-stop performance on the left.
Marist 0 Stop Out 2 (0-2) - B Ravera, S McLellan
A top drawer performance to start the year – our young women always on the front foot in their match with Marist.
Once again Cobham Park was a bleak & blustery venue but the play of the girls warmed all of our hardy supporters. In the first half we scored twice, one for Brigitte - which was a goal on her senior debut and one for Stacee - a well taken goal - one on one with their GK. There was plenty to enthuse over at half time, we could have had 4 or 5 more – but their GK was a good ‘un and playing well. Gabby in her first game was a handful for their defence, and our flank play & support was very good with Steph, Brooke, Ollie and Sarah supporting each other well.
The challenge in the second half was the Marist long ball – wind assisted. Their attack though rarely threatened despite the breeze, and Steph in goal was tidy in everything that came through to her. Sophie and Luana were a solid partnership in the heart of defence with intelligent & patient play right across the back four to savour. In the middle of the park Alana and Brigitte dominated the physical battle which allowed Brooke and Gabby space to run at their defence. Twice we could have had the ball in the back of the net but were pulled back for offside as the girls continued to outplay Marist across the park.
Happy coaches, players and parents at the end of the game with 3 points well deserved.
Team of 2008 Opening Day
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 September 2010 15:36 )|