Manly United hit Bankstown for six
By Chris Curulli
Manly United’s women’s first grade team kicked off their 2020 season in style with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Bankstown City at Jensen Park on Sunday afternoon.
Three goals in each half, including debut strikes for Libby Copus-Brown and Naoko Wada, capped off an outstanding day for Chris Williams’ outfit.
The scoring kicked off just 15 minutes in as a Wada set piece was powerfully nodded home by defender Corinne Winkler.
Ten minutes later Manly had two, after a rapid counter-attack saw Copus-Brown play a crisp one-two with Emily Minett before coolly slotting home into the bottom right corner.
Inside half an hour a little bit of fortune saw Wada register her first goal from the club, as Bankstown goalkeeper Jordan Weizman spilled the former Japanese under 20 international’s long-range effort into the net.
Minutes before half time the blustery conditions continued to wreak havoc as Georgie Plessas pulled one back for hosts with a strike from distance of her own.
The second half commenced in a slightly more even fashion than the first before the visitor’s scoring rampage recommenced on the 70-minute mark.
Another dangerous set-piece was whipped into the area and Chloe O’Brien’s initial effort was eventually scrambled home off the boot of Claudia Cholakian.
Manly so nearly added another five minutes later after Cholakian was fouled in the area; however Wada’s penalty cannoned off the base of the post.
Chris Williams encouraged his side to continue pressing for goals and it did not take long for two of his exciting youngsters to respond.
With five minutes remaining Manly scored off another set-piece as 19-year-old Hannah Peric rose highest to nod home a towering header.
Just a couple of minutes later 17-year-old substitute Kate Stanbridge was fed through by Copus-Brown and made no mistake in converting a second goal in two minutes which concluded Manly’s dream start to the 2020 campaign.
Manly United captain Chloe O’Brien was full of praise for her teammates.
“I can’t remember the last time Manly won their first game of the season so it is a very positive start,” she said.
“I thought as the game went on we got more comfortable with each other and the more relaxed we got.
“Even with three minutes to go we were still pushing for goals which was a really positive sign.”
With the likes of Ally Green, Sophie Nenadovic, Sunny Franco and new signing Tara Andrews still absent due to W-League commitments, Sunday’s result proved the incredible squad depth the club possesses.
“Last year we were a younger side with a number of players still getting used to NPL football and now we have girls coming in from all over the place to add to that core group,” O’Brien said.
“We’ve brought in some really strong players and today just showed how much of an impact they are having already.
“Chris (Williams) said after the game how much depth we have – I think all around from the starting lineup to the girls on the bench it showed through a quality performance.”