Bathurst '75's first game in Bathurst District Football women's premier league for close to two decades didn't go quite to plan on Sunday, but coach Chris Pattison believe his team can improve in the coming weeks.
After falling behind early, '75 rallied to take the lead early in the second half, before Mudgee fought back to claim a thrilling 3-2 win.
Pattison was pleased with his team's performance considering the circumstances.
"I think we did pretty well considering we had a few away and a few nursing injuries," he said.
"We've had a pretty good pre-season, so I think the girls did really well to hustle their way back into the game, going down 1-0 early. It was a really good effort."
Mudgee opened the scoring through the ever reliable Jess Salamoni and the visitors took that lead to the break.
But it took '75 less than 10 minutes into the second half to find an equaliser, when new recruit Kylie Harris scored to make it 1-all.
And then minutes later defender Courtney Downey sent a cross from the backs up into the goal box, with Jessica Fearnley touching the ball past Mudgee goalkeeper Fiona Lean and then passed the ball to Harris, who put the ball into an empty net to score her second and make it 2-1 to '75.
Yet '75's advantage lasted only a couple of minutes, when Salamoni broke down her right wing, bested the Bathurst defender and put a cross across goal as goalkeeper Taylor Gilbert-Cochrane came out.
And it was Jessica Simunic who latched herself onto the cross to tap it into an empty net and level the score at 2-all.
Mudgee would get the lead back around the 70th minute mark when Salamoni scored her second goal of the match.
Pattison was pleased with the performance from goal scorer Harris, who joined the club in the off-season.
"We've recruited really well in the off-season, Kylie being one of them," he said.
"Kylie is fantastic and making great runs in the midfield and making her way back to defend. Her finishes were really important, especially coming back into the game."
For Mudgee, it was the team's first game since 2019, after the club went into recess during the coronavirus pandemic.
Team captain Salamoni, who scored the match winner, said it was a great start to the new season.
"We haven't played in over a year, having last year off," she said.
"We've got a few new players and haven't played in a while, it was good to test the waters, a few positions.
"We thought we were good at fitness but today showed we need to do more work. We're just working on first touches and passes. I think now we can base our training on the game and we'll go from there."
- MUDGEE WOLVES 3 (Jessica Salamoni 2, Jessica Simunic) defeated BATHURST '75 2 (Kylie Harris 2)
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