PL Match Reports v Hawthorn - Rd 10

June 21, 2022 at 11:03 AM

High standard but no goals                                                 Women’s Premier League

Following the Queen’s Birthday break, Doncaster’s Premier League Women were up against Hawthorn at Hawthorn.  Both sides have got the season off to very strong starts, Hawthorn just two points ahead on the ladder.  This match followed the ladder with very little between the two sides all day.  It also reflected two sides that were aiming at finals despite the fact that there are still a lot of home and away matches to be played.  These were two very talented sides and the standard was as high as any match of the season.

From the onset both teams were very comfortable to get on to the front foot and push for gaps to get deep into attack.  However, both defences were every bit as comfortable to block any gaps and turn defence into attack.  The majority of the battle was between the 25 metre lines, deep penetration was hard to come by at either end of the pitch.

Across the first quarter it was Hawthorn that held more of the ball.  However, Doncaster’s Sam Snow, Cassie Stoneham and Chloe Burns built a wall around the Hawthorn scoring circle, shots at goal were few and far between.  And Doncaster’s last line was very well supported; Shae Jones, Aimee Dickson and Amber Deo contested very strongly and defence was often pushed into attack.

As the second quarter got underway the open free flowing match continued.  The crowd were watching one of the most skilful and well structured matches of the season.  Once again, the bulk on the contest was between the two 25 metre lines, reflecting two outstanding defensive systems.  Pressure on the ball carrier was also at a very high level, turnovers only came from excellent tackles.

Hawthorn continued to hold more possession but Doncaster continued to deny deep penetration.  Mikala Burchell, Izzy Peskett and Nicola Hammond stepped up in the mid-field and as the quarter progressed more of battle was fought out around the half way line.

As the second half progressed, Doncaster’s mids not only helped the defensive wall, they pushed Doncaster deeper into attack, the battle had swung.  Kira-Lee Gmeiner had been busy all match but was now causing havoc for the Hawthorn defenders.  Gmeiner was well supported by Manisha Arunasalam, Liz Flack and Maya Hilford, Hawthorn were now under the pump.  But the crowd had come to expect some outstanding tackles and a strong defensive structure, Hawthorn delivered just that.

With less than a minute to play in the third quarter a Hawthorn player was given a green card and sent to the naughty chair.  When Hawthorn returned to the pitch following the three quarter time break, it appears they forgot about the player still to serve out her green card and sent a full side of 11 players for the final quarter.  Within a minute of the final quarter an umpire must have done a ‘head count’ and called for the Hawthorn Captain.  The umpire pointed out the numbers and the player still serving her green card on the official bench.  The Hawthorn Captain was also sent to the naughty chair.

With two players down, albeit for a short period, Hawthorn were on the back foot.  Doncaster had stepped up in the third quarter and that pressure continued.  Doncaster peppered away with much of the match played out inside the Doncaster 25 metre line.  Long corners, deep side line possessions and general free hits left Hawthorn with little control but outstanding defensive performances kept the net clean.

When Hawthorn did hold possession they were able to regroup and slowly pushed the contest a little further to the mid-field.

At no stage did the battle ease off and both sides left it all on the pitch.  While the crowd saw no goals, this was an outstanding match to watch.

Doncaster 0 drew with Hawthorn 0

Best Players: Kira-Lee Gmeiner, Chloe Burns, Nicola Hammond


So tight but persistence pays off                                                   Men’s Premier League

While Hawthorn’s Premier League Men were sitting in the middle of the pack with four wins for the season, they had three draws and were actually in the positive for goals for and against.  This was a very capable side that may only need a couple of things to go right and they would threaten finals.  As the match panned out, it became clear; ‘bring you’re A Game or Hawthorn could make you pay’.

The match started with both sides keen to attack and willing to take risks to find the most effective path forward.  But those paths were scarce and much of the battle was in the mid-field.  At the six minute mark Doncaster’s Jye Cuff and Daniel McBride did find a way into the scoring circle where a shot was headed for the net only to hit a Hawthorn shin.  With the Hawthorn goalkeeper out of the line of play, the umpire called a Penalty Stroke.  Unfortunately for Doncaster, Jayshaan Randhawa’s shot was wide of the left post and the score remained 0-0.

The deep push forward did boost the Doncaster confidence and they took more control of play with a lot of the battle in the Doncaster forward line.  Hawthorn’s backline weren’t fazed by the Doncaster thrust and they built a wall that made the scoring circle hard to penetrate.  Then Hawthorn were able to hold more of the ball and turned defence into attack.  It was now time for Doncaster’s backline to stand up.

As cool and calm as ever, Joel Carroll directed traffic; intercepting Hawthorn passes, outclassing Hawthorn players in contests and stopping genuine Hawthorn thrusts.  Carroll was very well supported by Cuff, Randhawa and Scott Sturrock.  When the quarter time siren rang both sides took a deep breath, this was a tight tussle.

The second quarter was of copy of the first; Doncaster took more possession early probing for gaps in their forward line.  Zach Meaden, Andrew Scheele and Byron Fernandes were winning more than their ‘share’ of the contested ball which opened up a lot of opportunities.  But once again the Hawthorn backline rallied and offered very little deep.  And once again as the quarter progressed, Hawthorn were able to turn defence into attack and the Hawks were now knocking on the door.  Once again, the Doncaster backline were too strong.

The arm wrestle continued; Doncaster would take more control, then Hawthorn would push back, neither side was dominating.  As the clock ticked, the crowd started to wonder whether they could be watching a repeat of the Women’s Premier League match immediately prior, a terrific match remained goalless.

In the opening minute of the final quarter Cuff and Bevan Fernandes combined well to find room deep in attack.  A long ball into Doncaster’s scoring circle was pushed away from the net by a Hawthorn defender but Russell Ford pounced on the ball.  Ford had space and his shot went straight into the back of the net.

Just three minutes later and Frazer Gerrard pushed the ball into the Doncaster forward line and his accurate pass to Kiran Arunasalam opened a door.  Arunasalam forceed his way deep into the scoring circle and his shot from a very sharp angle was too hard and fast for the Hawthorn last line.  While the bulk of the match was 0-0, Doncaster were now two goals in front.

The two quick goals hurt Hawthorn and they are now on the back foot.  But the Hawthorn backline had been outstanding all match and they dug deep again.  Once again, the battle was fought out between the 25 metre lines.

With the clock now Hawthorn’s enemy, the Hawks were comfortable to throw caution to the wind; attack at any cost.  The Doncaster backline had been so strong all match and that didn’t change.

Doncaster 2 defeated Hawthorn 0

Goals: Russell Ford, Kiran Arunasalam

Best Players: TBC