IT was a tough start for the Thornton Redbacks with a 6-0 loss in the WPL and 4-0 defeat in Northern League One.
However, WPL head coach Alan Primmer and Northern League One mentor Gary Wand remained upbeat and positive their teams will learn plenty from the matches against Wallsend and Cooks Hill respectively.
Wallsend made the most of their chances to record a big win in club captain Sophie Phillips' 100 senior games for the club.
Despite the disappointing scoreline, Primmer says he was happy with his side’s performance and said they knew what they need to improve on to build in the coming weeks.
“They [Wallsend] were definitely the better team but as I said to my girls, I was very happy at halftime. A very well taken free-kick for their [Wallsend] first one and a penalty… that was it 2-nil. But we were in the game and we played some good footy and the girls were happy at halftime,” Primmer said.
“Kirstie Power-Walford who was only 16, Jasmyn Hughes who was only 16 and Lauren Faulkner who’s only 17, they all kick-off in our 14’s four years ago and now they’re playing first grade, so that’s basically a representation of our club.
“They all played really, really well. Probably a special mention to Anais Moore the captain.
“I thought she really stood-up in the second half and things really could have gotten uglier, but she let the Wallsend girls know we weren’t going to lay over and I think the girls really lifted with that.”
Premiers see off challenge
Round 1 set-up another highly anticipated affair with a 1st versus 2nd from last year’s regular season and Cooks Hill United again got the points over Thornton to kick off the season.
Cooks Hill were without new signing Marty Raines with a broken hand while the Redbacks were missing key defender, Sam Rossi.
The Redbacks got off to a lively start and almost bagged a couple of goals. Wade Attewell was denied at close range by a stunning save from Jake Hamilton.
It didn’t take long for the premiers to click into gear, as Ash Balcomb notched the first goal before the break with a header off a Daniel Johnson set-piece.
Coach Gary Wand was disappointed with the result and lamented missed opportunities.
“Tough start and we need to do better, but we take our chances it’s a different game,” Wand said. “They were too good in the end and were doing the basic things well and we just kept giving the ball away too often.”