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The Conference division was the first to play, with the Grizzlies coming out stronger than in previous weeks, due to the presence of Jayden Markham who helped to solidify the midfield and create some good passages of play. Unfortunately, the speed of the center-backs was no match for the young legs of the Garden City boys with goalkeeper Tim Taylor having to make a number of saves early on.

As the game progressed with no score, verbal niggling and some heavy tackles started to slip into play, the ref forced to caution Raiders in the 20th minute for an unsafe tackle on Cameron Cardillo.

Following the drinks break the Raiders managed to score their first goal and were able to follow it up again at the end of the half, taking a 2 nil lead into the second.

The Grizzlies put up another strong fight in the second and in the 53rd minute Peter Swales put Chinchilla on the score sheet when he blocked a clearance by the goalkeeper, the resulting rebound finding the back of the net.

Chinchilla continued to press with Francisco Pulido Olano putting one into the back of the net, but it was unfortunately disallowed after revision between the ref and linesman.

A second Grizzlies attempt was also disallowed, deemed to have been taken after the whistle had blown for an earlier infringement on Jayden Preston in the box. Preston stepped up to the mark but the keeper denied his attempt.

Frustration from both teams and ongoing dissent had emotions running high as Garden City fought to hold onto their lead, the pressure boiling over in the 85th minute when the attacking Raiders player was tackled heavily by the Chinchilla defence and a number of the Garden City players took offence. One of the Raiders boys, who had already received a caution in the second half, was given his second and required to leave the field. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies were unable to capitalise on the numerical advantage and the match finished 2-1.

The Championship game followed with a handful of the Chinchilla lads backing up on the bench.

As with previous weeks, the Bears came out hungry for the win and took control instantly.

15 minutes in an awarded free kick on the right side of the field was taken by Tomas Montoto and perfectly placed to Joe Wood whose first-time volley fired into the goal for the Bears to get on the board.

As the game continued Chinchilla showed how well they can work together to create solid patches of possession, controlling the game and creating multiple opportunities for more goals, which unfortunately evaded them.

The Raiders eventually got their best chance of the match, capitalising on a little bit of disorganization following a Chinchilla substitution but they couldn’t control their finishing shot, sailing it over the crossbar.

Although controlling so much of the game the Bears weren’t comfortable to sit back and hold onto their lead and their press finally paid off in the final minutes of the match when a scramble in front of the Raiders goal popped out to Brad Thompson on the edge of the 18-yard box. Thompson didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger curling the ball into the top right corner with the slightest bit of help from the woodwork.

The team continues to gel together nicely with the ongoing game experience further enhancing their performance as a team. The only noticeable weakness presently seems to be their inability to finish the fantastic opportunities they continue to create. It’s going to become very exciting football when this phase of their game comes together and they start getting more shots on target.

Across town, the Honeybears were pulling on their boots for their first match of the year against a higher-ranked 2020 Premiers team. Knowing they needed to bring their A-game the ladies came out determined and it seemed to surprise the South Toowoomba LadyHawks players.

Although not creating many opportunities in the first half of the game the Honeys showed that they have the potential to be competitive with solid defense from Kayla Hungerford and Claire Valler shutting down attacks and Danica Milosevic and Kim Priem, up to the challenge of securing the midfield.

It took 22 minutes for the LadyHawks to get onto the board. Their left winger managing to evade her defender and arriving on the back post at the perfect time to tap in the cross.

Only 6 minutes later the Hawks were in again, a defensive breakdown this time from the midfield allowing an unmarked player to capitalise when the ball popped out to her on the edge of the 18.

It was obvious for the final minutes of the half that the Honeybears have some work to do on their fitness as their fatigue on the heavy field took its toll and the faster more experienced LadyHawks scored 2 more in the final 5.

Despite the 4 nil scoreline, the Honeybears half time talk was positive with coach Dennis Carroll emphasising the need for the ladies to complete their passing.

The first goal of the second half came in the 55th minute following a series of sharp passes and driving play between Sally Carroll and Milosevic. The South Toowoomba defense scrambled but Milosevic was able to stab the ball into goal just out of reach of the lunging keeper.

This was the first of 4 goals to be scored in the following 10-minute block, with the LadyHawks striking back at the 58th minute before a lovely pass from Nikola Stevenson saw Carroll through on goal, outpacing her defenders and beating the keeper with a perfectly placed shot. 5 minutes later the Hawks scored yet again and the game settled in with the Honeys seeming to put together more opportunities as the match drew towards its end.

Unfortunately for the Chinchilla ladies, another mistake allowed the LadyHawks their seventh goal, the scoreline blowing out to 7-2.

Many teams would have thrown in the towel here but credit to our ladies, as they refused to give up. From the restart, the Honeys put together a decisive counter-attack and after weaving through a challenge Stevenson found herself with plenty of time and space in front of goal. Calling on her years of experience she was able to calmly sight the keeper and confidently drive the ball to her left.

Although the match finished 7-3 the Honeybears players and coaches were encouraged with the result, feeling that the score was not an accurate reflection of their performance.


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