DUBBO’S bid to make the finals of the 2015 women’s Premier League Hockey competition got off to the best possible start on Saturday, with the Blue Jays scoring a goal in each half to land a 2-0 win over Confederates at Pioneer Park.
With former coach Craig Johnston back at the helm the Dubbo side dominated for large periods of the match but were never fully comfortable until an Alisa Shaw goal with 10 minutes remaining in the second stanza sealed the win.
Alex Waters, who battled late in 2014 with a knee injury, returned to the squad opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the contest, capitalising on a turnover to give the home side the lead.
They should have doubled the lead shortly after when they earned a penalty stroke however Feds ‘keeper Stephanie Hinds was able to deflect Emma Corcoran’s shot to keep her side in the contest.
Both sides swapped opportunities until the half-hour mark when the game was delayed for a small period when Feds defender Samantha Stevenson suffered a serious ankle injury and had to be helped from the pitch.
Stevenson was visibly upset as she sat in the dugout before being conveyed to hospital via ambulance for further assessment.
Both sides regrouped and played the game out to half-time, with Dubbo carrying their one-goal advantage into the break.
The game opened up in the second stanza as the warm conditions tested the fitness levels of both sides.
Feds’ missed a couple of opportunities as young Blue Jays keeper Lilli Campbell stood up to the test in her first premier league match before before Shaw put the result beyond doubt when she capitalise on some lazy defence inside the Feds’ circle.
“It was really just a couple of moments that let us down there. It’s something to work on,” Confederates coach Mark Pengilly said afterwards.
“Dubbo are always hard to beat up here and you have to take your chances. We didn’t do that today
and we gave them a couple of chances they did take.
“I was really proud of how the girls reacted after Sam went down. Sometimes a team can drop their bundle but the girls stuck at it and we’ll learn from that game and hopefully keep improving.
“Last year was a rough one for us but this week we actually had to select a team because we had more players available than we could play which is a good sign.”
For Dubbo, rookie skipper Aimee Davies was a rock in defence and admitted she was pleased to get a win on the board so early.
“Home games early in the season are important and to get a win and keep a clean sheet was a big effort,” Davies said.
“We’ve got a pretty young side again this year but most of those younger players have had a couple of years of Premier League under their belt now and we want to make finals.
“To do that we need to win games and we’ve started the right way.”
DUBBO BLUE JAYS 2 (Alex Waters, Alisa Shaw goals) def ORANGE CONFEDERATES 0
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