Winning the big moments is something Western NSW Mariners women’s coach Josh Ward is hoping his side can master over the course of 2018 after a tough opening round loss against the University of NSW FC on Sunday.
Playing in hot conditions at the Hensley Athletic Field at Eastgardens in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Western opened its return to the Football NSW National Premier League 2 women’s premiership with a 1-0 defeat against the hosts.
UNSW striker Amy Altman banged home the only goal of the match, which was played on a synthetic surface, edging her side ahead in what was a torrid round one fixture.
In his first term mentoring the Mariners’ open women’s side, Ward is hopeful his team can build into the season and learn to win the key moments of the match.
“The round one game was a tight, tense affair,” the Orange-based Ward said.
“Our girls worked extremely hard in 31 degree heat on a wide synthetic pitch.
“Their willingness to work hard for one another was outstanding.
“The key moments in the game were won by UNSW which is something we will be looking to improve as the season progresses.”
The Mariners girls play their first home game of the season on Sunday at Lithgow’s Marjorie Jackson Field against the Gladesville Ravens.
The Ravens enjoyed a round one victory – also a 1-0 result – over SD Raiders FC and Ward is expecting the Gladseville girls to arrive in the region full of running.
But he says if the likes of goalkeeper Jessica Daymond, midfielder Jasmin Courtenay and striker Larissa Kilby can maintain the sort of form they’ve started the season in, then Western’s sure to test its Sydney-based opposition.
“Jessica pulled off some great saves,” Ward added.
“Jasmin’s work rate in middle of the pitch was great and Larissa Kilby, her understanding how to defend in the front third and ability to track their fullback was also good to see.”
In other round one results, APIA Leichhardt Tigers and Sydney Olympic were the big winners, scoring a pair of 4-0 victories over Southern Branch and Marconi Stallions respectively.