South Wallsend may have continued their winning start to the Herald Women's Premier League but coach Cas Wright described the Wolves' performance in a 4-2 win over Rosebud at Adamstown Oval on Sunday as "below par".
It was one of two round-two matches to be played with the Merewether-Thornton and Warners Bay-Wallsend games being washed out.
In Taree, Jets striker Tara Andrews went on a goal-scoring spree, bagging six goals as New Lambton backed up their opening-round victory over back-to-back champions Merewether with a 7-0 win over Mid North Coast. Jenna Kennedy provided the other goal with a header off a corner.
South Wallsend have been tipped by many as the team to watch in 2019 after a string of top-class signings in the off-season, including former Young Matildas and W-League players Ashlee Brodigan and Kobie Ferguson.
Wright is targeting a top-two position by the end of the first of three rounds but said they will need to lift their game as they prepare to face Wallsend next round followed by competition heavyweights Warners Bay.
"We're going to write that one off," Wright said post-match on Sunday.
"I think we underestimated the fight and will of Adamstown getting to the ball and we took our position for granted.
"For us, it was a learning curve. All the teams are going to come out to get us once they realise where we're at and the girls need to understand that every game is a hard game and need to get in there and work to their potential, which they definitely didn't do today."
The Wolves were without W-League Jets and Matildas player Gema Simon and defender Kalista Hunter but were otherwise at full strength.
Both sides had opportunities to score go begging in the early part of the match but South Wallsend always looked the more likely and finally broke the deadlock around the 30-minute mark when Gemma Harrison scored with a close-range header off a corner.
It came after Rosebud shot-stopper Olivia Sneddon had made three quickfire and crucial saves, diving to deny Kirstyn Antoni from range, stopping a point-blank shot from Brodigan then tipping Maryjane Mason's attempt on goal over the bar for the corner which garnered the game's first goal.
But Adamstown produced some good combination play around the 40th minute which resulted in Annika D'Amico scoring across the face of goal for the first of a match double.
The equaliser brought with it new-found confidence and determination for Adamstown, who went to the break with the ascendancy.
But the wind was taken out of their sails in the opening minute of the second half when they conceded an own goal.
Brodigan extended the visitors' lead around the 60-minute mark when she broke down the right wing and fired off a long-range shot which sailed over Sneddon into the top far corner.
Gab Brodie made it 4-1 in the 65th minute. Antoni gathered the ball outside the box after an unsuccessful South Wallsend corner then turned and with good vision sent a long ball back into the box to find Brodie, who took a touch then buried a shot past Sneddon.
Rosebud continued to fight and closed the gap to two goals when D'Amico completed her match brace by beating an Adamstown defender then unleashing a long-range shot into the top left corner in the 75th minute.
Three minutes later, Adamstown were reduced to 10 players after substitute Georgina Markovich was issued a red card for dissent after Mason was deemed to have been brought down in the box. Brodigan stepped up to take the penalty but it was saved by a diving Sneddon.
Adamstown coach Paul Devitis was disappointed with the call but full of praise for his shot-stopper.
"She pulled off at least half a dozen saves that were fingertips and she really stood up, which is good because she's our club captain this year and I think she likes that responsibility and I think that will help her performances, like we saw today," Devitis said.
"I think the first half was very gutsy from us. They probably had the better of the actual play but we defended very well and we were pretty happy to go in at one-all."
Devitis said his side needed to "capitalise on our momentum when we've got it" as they prepare to continue a tough start to the season by hosting the Eagles next round.
They went down 9-1 to Warners Bay in round one and complete a horror four-week stretch against big guns Merewether after playing New Lambton.
Eagles coach Keelan Hamilton was pleased his side went on with the job in the second half in Taree after taking a 3-0 lead into the break of their clash.
"We defended well, which was an improvement on last week. We were a bit more organised and managed the game well and didn't drop away once we had established a lead," Hamilton said.
Round 4 results
South Wallsend 4 (Gemma Harrison, own goal, Ashlee Brodigan, Gab Brodie) defeated Adamstown 2 (Annika D'Amico 2).
New Lambton 7 (Tara Andrews 6, Jenna Kennedy) defeated Mid North Coast 0.
Points: New Lambton 6, South Wallsend 6, Warners Bay 3, Wallsend 3, Merewether 0, Thornton 0, Adamstown 0, Mid North Coast 0.
Herald WPL Round 3, March 24
Wallsend v Warners Bay at Wallsend Park;
Adamstown v New Lambton at Adamstown Oval;
Warners Bay v Thornton at John Street Oval;
Mid North Coast v Merewether at Taree Zone Fields.
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