TARA Biffin produced a magic extra-time strike to propel Flames to a dramatic one-goal Tamworth women’s first grade minor semifinal win over Services on Sunday and into the preliminary final.
After three-times fighting back to level, Biffin scored mid-way through the second period of golden-goal extra-time, to see Flames prevail 4-3 in a pulsating clash.
“We played pretty well and for probably the first time in months we had all our players available,” Flames coach Barrie Pritchard said.
He said they were down early but got back to 1-all through Tegan Smith and then 2-all at half-time.
Services went ahead again with a long range “speccy” which Wendy Hill got a deflection on.
“Credit to the girls they kept working hard and then Helena (Williamson) scored a penalty corner to make it 3-all,” Pritchard said.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock despite opportunities.
Pritchard said they got a breakaway with one or two minutes to go but couldn’t put it away.
The stalemate continued through the first 10 minute period of extra-time, by which time both sides were down to nine.
“I think we defended on the few occasions we needed to quite well,” Pritchard said.
“And we kept our structure to keep girls high.
“You’ve got to keep attacking.”
There’s no point being defensive.
He did change a few things around positionally and felt they gave them a bit more impetus to drive forward.
“I thought our midfield played really well - Kate Ferguson, Tegan Smith and Maddie Doyle,” he said.
“In the various sections of the field we had good performers.”
Williamson was strong at the back and Biffin and Arnie Purdy “made a nuisance of themselves” up front and kept attacking.
“Early on we had too many players behind the ball.
“I said to them you’re not going to win doing that,” he said.
They adjusted and strung some good passes together.
Services coach Kimmy McLean was understandably disappointed - with the result, not how they played.
“I thought we played well,” McLean said.
“Our defence was good and our attack was good.”
Up to the circle that is. They were lamenting missed opportunities.
“I thought we had maybe a bit more of the play but we just couldn’t score,” McLean said.
Even during extra-time they had lots of chances.
“We just couldn’t put them in,” she said.
They particularly had a lot of short corners, but could only convert one.
“They were not on target. Even our field shots,” she said.
She felt the heat was also a big factor.
They really struggled the longer the game went on.