WAUCHOPE ladies coach Michael Clarke’s confidence in his team paid dividends when they claimed a 2-1 win and the Northern League women’s title on Saturday.
Kempsey Saints scored the opening goal in the first 10 minutes before a Nicole Pender first-half strike levelled the scores at the break.
Danielle Burn’s early second-half goal from a free-kick put Wauchope in front – a lead they relinquished.
Clarke was convinced his team, who snuck into the finals in fourth position, were always going to win.
But they had some nervy moments in the final five minutes when they clung to the one-goal lead.
“I was turning to the timekeeper and asking every couple of minutes how much longer was left in the match,” Clarke said.
“It was a very nervy last couple of minutes.”
The coach admitted his confidence in the girls – as well as their confidence in each other – continued to grow after they defeated Camden Haven in the first elimination final.
“Then we won last week with 11 players and in a penalty shoot-out so the only concern was whether they had played their grand final the week before,” Clarke said.
“We fell away in the last five minutes and Kempsey pushed on as they searched for the equaliser.”
The further Wauchope dropped in defence provided more time on the ball for the Saints, especially in the midfield.
“We were probably a bit lucky to hold on,” Clarke said.
“Not in the sense of them creating a lot of chances, but they had a lot of the ball and field position.”