Support for Pride gives developing team a major lift
WESTERN Pride women's coach Belinda Kitching has praised the large crowd who attended Sunday's matches against UQFC at the Briggs Rd Sporting Complex.
UQ won 3-0, scoring twice in the first half before a late injury-time clincher.
Pride were left ruing a goal being disallowed despite the ball appearing to cross the line which would have brought the score to 2-1 with over 10 minutes remaining.
While Kitching was disappointed with the result, she was heartened by the supportive crowd.
"First, we want to thank everyone who came day today,” Kitching said.
"The girls loved every moment of it and it would have been nice to get a different result but that's inevitable where we are at in our program.”
Pride relaunched their women's program under Kitching at the start of the year. However, the former Matilda has been hampered in implementing her vision.
Pride lost several players to season-ending injuries, including record appearance holder Mel von Bischoffshausen and experienced utility Caitlin Devin.
Montanna McAvoy has been away with preparations for the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Star striker Lani McKenna has struggled with injury throughout the campaign.
Kitching has responded by elevating a series of under-17 players to the senior squad with seven playing in the top grade on Sunday.
Grace Duff recently became the latest of Pride's inaugural 2013 youth intake to rise through the age groups and make her senior debut, following in the footsteps of Jasmin Graham.
Knights product Laise Warner, former Bulls striker Natasha Ridley and Redbank-based Naomi Majok are some of the young Ipswich talent who have also received valuable senior experience in recent weeks.
The promotions resulted in an understrength under-17 team losing on Sunday night. However, Pride's youngest teams had a successful afternoon against quality opposition.
The high-flying U13s and U15s had a 3-1 win against a 3-3 draw respectively against top-half rivals UQ.
Kitching said Sunday's efforts showed Pride's female football program was building towards greater things with the help of strong local backing.
"If the support is already there then that is one of the hardest things we don't have to find,” she said.