THE Gympie women’s Miners soccer side is joint leader of the Sunshine Coast competition table with Maroochydore after beating Buderim at the weekend.
Playing at Gympie’s One Mile Ovals last Friday night, the Miners braved cool conditions to dispose of Buderim 3-1 with exceptional form.
Buderim was leading the competition but the loss to Gympie has sent the side into a freefall to be now occupying fourth position.
Gympie, meanwhile, has jumped up a place from second to share the top spot with Maroochydore.
Splitting the sides, Maroochydore carries the edge when taking into account goals against.
Coach Mike Donaldson was extremely happy with his side’s performance against Buderim and earning a share of the lead on the ladder.
“It just shows how tight the top of the ladder really is at the moment with one game having such an impact,” he said.
“The girls played extremely well and I couldn’t be happier with the level of commitment.”
As the match got under way, Buderim appeared to take control early on, dominating particularly in the middle.
The visitors enjoyed a number of attacking raids on Gympie’s goal, but Miners’ keeper Kiah Monk stood her ground to continue her blistering form in the box.
Gympie held strong despite the early offensive and slowly stared to wrestle back control after 10 minutes on the game clock.
The game remained deadlocked at nil-all right up until the half time break.
Achieving the breakthrough for Gympie when play resumed in the second half was Bianca Connell who, with a tremendous display of athleticism, scored a goal despite lying on the ground.
“It was an incredible shot at goal,” Donaldson said.
“Somehow she was on the ground but managed to twist her body around to offload the shot.”
Gympie extended its lead when key striker Rebekah Martin, who was rested for the first 20 minutes of the game, was introduced to the field with instant success.
In the 63rd minute, Miners keeper Monk played the ball out wide to Bianca Connell who then fired off a precise pass to Martin.
Martin then took on a couple of defenders to find herself one-on-one with the Buderim keeper.
Steadying her nerves, a composed Martin picked her spot and found the back of the net to give Gympie a 2-0 lead.
Buderim returned fire in the 75th minute with its only goal following a moment of confusion in Gympie’s backline, leaving a hole for the visitors to exploit.
Leading now by only a single goal and with only five minutes remaining, Gympie was confronted with a sudden change of playing formation by Buderim.
An additional striker was pushed forwards in the hope of scoring a goal to tie the match-up. However, the trade-off was a weakening of their defensive line.
Team manager Angela Williams said Martin punished Buderim with her second goal of the match.
“(Buderim’s) plan backfired and Rebekah scored another beautiful,” she said.
Martin’s goal removed all possibility of a draw, giving Gympie the win and a share of first place.