Redbacks win big, Mt Barker too strong in last half
Defending premiers North Albany have bounced back strongly in the Albany Retravision Lower Great Southern Hockey Association women’s A-grade competition, finishing comfortable winners over Manypeaks on Saturday afternoon.
Redbacks lost their second game of the season last month when they forfeited to Mt Barker but triumphed 4-0 over Peaks in their round 14 contest as they firm towards a top-two finish.
Youngsters Sophie McDonald, Tallulah Gouldthorp and Christine Murray were all impressive, with McDonald capping the solid afternoon for Redbacks when she scored a penalty stroke after the final siren.
Peaks trailed 1-0 at half-time but had limited chances in their attacking circle to get back into the contest.
Renae Parsons was strong through midfield, Meg Slattery was dangerous up front, and Alice Lydiate was also solid in the defeat.
A four-goal second half helped Mt Barker to an important result in their clash with Spencer Park at home on Friday night.
It was an absorbing first half, with neither side able to break the deadlock despite each creating a couple of chances.
Park goalie Erin Trotter made four vital saves to deny the home side as she, along with defensive duo Annie Judd and Elise Hawkins, helped their side maintain a clean sheet in the first 35 minutes.
Mt Barker had three penalty corner chances in the first half but were unable to conjure a genuine shot on goal as a result, and Park should have taken the lead on the verge of half-time.
With one minute to play, Park had a strong build-up through midfield, but Krysten York could not convert a dangerous ball into the area as the golden opportunity to hit the front went begging.
It took Mt Barker 13 minutes to break the goal drought in the second half but a solid strike into the far corner from Shamara Letter was just what the home side needed.
The goal sparked their side into another gear as Jessica McPartland converted a penalty corner to double Mt Barker’s advantage with 15 minutes to play.
Trotter was forced to come off her line to deny a one-on-one chance on goal but Shaydn Gardner followed up and sank any hopes of a Park comeback with her side’s third goal.
Letter finished with a double as she ensured Mt Barker recorded a comfortable 4-0 win, which strengthens their finals hopes.
Gardner was terrific for the winners, along with McPartland and Jessica Mentha, as they consolidated second place on the ladder.
Sarah Hearle gave Park plenty of drive through midfield, while defensive trio Trotter, Judd and Hawkins were all solid contributors.
In the men’s A-grade competition, Mt Barker got back on the winners’ list after a drama-filled round 9 fixture with Park.
Park goalie Antony Payne was hit on the collarbone by a shot in the warm-up but, after receiving some treatment, took his place in goals for the start of the match.
Mt Barker opened the scoring and Park equalised soon afterwards, but it was a night to forget for Payne after coming out to stop a shot.
A resulting collision with an Mt Barker opponent led to his helmet coming off and he crashed to the turf head-first leaving him dazed and with a cut to the head that ended his evening.
Jakyb Thomas then suited up while Payne received attention as the game was halted midway through the first half, but the home side proved too strong, beating Park 5-2.
North Albany moved four points clear of their nearest rivals in second place after a 4-2 win against Manypeaks on Saturday evening.
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