Carney double boosts Stingrays

Chloe Middleton controls possession for the Stingrays against Blacktown. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Chloe Middleton controls possession for the Stingrays against Blacktown. Picture: ROBERT PEET

FOOTBALL

Order was restored to the Illawarra Stingrays season with a 2-1 win over Blacktown Spartans on Sunday.

After suffering four successive defeats, the Rays came from a goal down to get their season back on track atJJ Kelly Park.

A brace to inspirational skipper Michelle Carney proved the difference after the 2013 leading goal scorer had earlier blown a chance from the penalty spot.

Carney fired her penalty attempt straight at the keeper when the Stingrays trailed 1-0 but couldn't be denied from the scoresheet by the Spartans.

She found her way onto the end of a Jess Cooper cross to tap-in from six yards to level the scores at 1-1, before adding her second from similar range.

The Stingrays had chances to extend their lead in the second half but had to be content with a 2-1 victory.

"We were on our game and the girls were determined that it wasn't going to be another loss," Stingrays coach Graham Shaw said.

Shaw put the win down to his squad's improved defensive effort at home on Sunday.

"It was more the communication and that little bit of knowledge on the field ... just that bit of experience controlling things from the back. Adding that at the back helped us defensively as a whole unit," Shaw said.

"Off the back of that defensively we did look stronger and once we got the ball we played some good football.

"There wasn't as much pressure on us."

The win sees Illawarra move to sixth on the ladder with a game up their sleeve.

And with confidence now restored, Shaw believes his squad can reignite their finals charge.

"Hopefully this can kick-start a bit of a run. They have now got confidence going into a game coming off a good performance," Shaw said.

"With a double-header coming up this weekend we can try and secure all six points which would see us start climbing up that table."

The Stingrays play on Saturday and Sunday at Collegians Sports Ground against Manly United and Marconi Stallions, respectively.

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