Formations and Goalkeepers

Ok, so to start off with, my Women’s Super League match reports have returned to its home on Slice of Cheese. I love writing for Football Tasmania. It provides a platform for women’s football to be covered well and with greater accessibility that reaches the broader Tasmanian football community. 

Plus the extra dosh I receive in return for my efforts usually goes towards fuel money and makes driving to matches week in, week out a touch easier.

So a return to rambles and observations it is for me here on Molly’s Footy Rants. That’s more enjoyable anyway right?

A trip to Ulverstone, plus a live streamed match on my laptop, provided a right football feast.

Ulverstone 2 – 2 University

The return of University to Tasmania’s top flight makes my heart skip a beat. Having them up North meant having my two “homes” together, a pure joy. 

The power struggle of goals scored against possession made this a treat to watch. The tipping point arrived in the last half an hour, where a two goal buffer was spoiled as Ulverstone finally found their scoring boots.

For a full match report head over to Slice of Cheese and all the cheesy goodness over there.

I’m going to pull on my nerd hat now.

Formations

Starting with Ulverstone, a return of personnel saw the Reds revert to a much more comfortable four player defence. Lucy Reimer was the additional muscle at centre back with Emily Nellis. The duo would make for an excellent ‘partners in crime’ TV series of thwarting young forwards. This was a stark change to a back three who were simply outnumbered for large spells the previous weekend.

Experience in the guts of the field was to Ulverstone’s advantage. It saw Susannah Blackwood-Beattie pushed into the centre midfield from the back three, plus Tiela Weeda in the middle. While fewer midfielders on paper, their application had a more profound impact.

It was a different tale for the visitors to Tasmania’s North West. A big change in the Bee’s engine room was the shift of Olivia Young to defence. The move solidified their last line, and proved vital time and again with Young’s efforts the reason Amy Bissett didn’t bag a hattrick. However, the tenacity and creativity couldn’t be utilised on the ball when moving forward.

Travelling comes with difficulties for most sides, that didn’t elude the Bees. Trying to pick out how the team was set up led to the obvious conclusion, this was a new formation thrust upon a side that is usually at home with a 433. The at times lopsided midfield 4 forced their defence to step up to the mark. The second half looked far more comfortable in comparison, despite the fewer goal opportunities. 

Perhaps the best summary of the match was yelled by a midfielder in yellow “they’re everywhere”, when trying to pick out which Ulverstone player to mark. Ulverstone won this midfield battle, and didn’t just have numbers there, but actually knew what to do with it. 

Kingborough 0 – 6 Olympia

The opportunity to talk about a match I could watch from the comfort of my living room, live streamed is an opportunity worth taking. I mean, seriously, this is the closest I’m going to have to a home match in the Women’s Super League regular season this year.

The Lions struggled to find their rhythm. With passes going awry, the great wall of Innocent Michael at defensive midfield and an isolated Laura Davis up top. It just wasn’t Kingborough’s day. The best opportunities were limited to the first half, with the fuel necessary for the press still available but too often limited to half chances from a distance. Olympia found their groove today. Particularly in the second half, they didn’t allow the Lions to have a sniff.

Who is the number nine for the Warriors has been a question I’ve often wondered and lamented on. Today they had two forwards, and it worked. Bonnie Davies moved more centrally, with the engine and confidence equalled in her attacking partner of Mia Cane. Both caused havoc, while the tried and trusted Warriors midfield controlled the game.

Recognition has to go out to Erika Mackintosh in goals for Kingborough. There were a couple moments she wouldn’t want on her highlight reel, however her performance deserves praise. It was a busy day in the office after all.

The Goalkeeper

Last weekend watching Kingborough at Ulverstone, the obvious was clear, Mackintosh is the WSL’s sweeper keeper that the WSL didn’t even realise it needed. At one point my dad and I were adamant chipping her was the best route to goal, with the long balls between the defence and goal easily dealt with by the keeper.

Unfortunately Mackintosh did pay dearly for the second goal, with Gubb spotting her off the line and delighting viewers with earlier dreamed of chip.

But I digress, after the second goal, the Lion in pink rose to the occasion and had herself a stellar game.

The defensive line in front of Mackintosh wasn’t as high as often observed at the Den, as Lawson and Clifford sat deeper to compensate for the speed of Olympia’s two forwards. Still Mackintosh had the need to tidy up some hair raising situations, with the Warriors often resorting to direct, defence beating balls in the first half.

The keepers ability to thunder at attackers with pace and confidence in 1v1 situations saw Mackintosh keep Olympia at bay for a lot longer than perhaps play suggested they should’ve been. The basics are there, with her decision making and commitment by and large on point.

The threat of the ‘chip’ goal was always sniffing about, but with the Lions sitting deeper in the second half to deal with the Warriors onslaught of attack, the threat dulled.

Add in Mackintosh’s overall safe hands. She knew when to palm the ball out, catch the ball where necessary and pounced on any fumble. Whilst the last ten minutes saw a drop in motivation to pull out all the stops as a shot-stopper, it shouldn’t take away from an excellent outing for the Lion. Her saves and clearance percentages the numbers to look at, not the goals conceded.

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