Rays sting Institute in second half romp


Rain may have ruined Illawarra Stingrays' debut at Collegians Sports Ground, but it couldn't put a dampener on their red-hot form on Saturday.

Jordon Baker (centre) scored one of the Stingrays' goals in their 3-0 win over the Football NSW Institute.

Jordon Baker (centre) scored one of the Stingrays' goals in their 3-0 win over the Football NSW Institute.

The Rays' home clash with Football NSW Institute was moved to Valentine Sports Park but proved only a hiccup as the 2013 runners-up won 3-0.

Stellar attacking duo Jordon Baker and Michelle Carney were again on the scoresheet, with Chloe Middleton adding the Stingrays third of the match.

Scores had been level at half-time, until the Stingrays ramped up their performance in the second stanza to give themselves a perfect two-from-two opening to the season.

Illawarra coach Graham Shaw was delighted with the result after a slow first half.

"We worked on a few things at half-time. They defended quite high and gave our fullbacks a fair bit of time on the ball, so we tried to keep the ball for us in that area of the field and managed to get three goals in the second half," Shaw said.

Baker and Carney linked up for the game's opening goal in the second half when the veteran's cross was met by Baker in the six-yard box.

Carney herself got a goal soon after when she latched on to a perfect cross from Daila Borg.

"It is good for them both to be scoring, so that should keep that confidence up," Shaw said.

"Strikers, generally when they are scoring, they can go on a bit of a run, but when they aren't scoring it can go the other way.

"It is good in a sense for us, because if we can defend and hold the ball in our midfield to create chances we know both Carney and Jordie [Baker] are finishing well."

The win was all the more impressive as regular keeper Elyse Finlayson was absent.

Reserve grade custodian Hannah Ryan filled in for the first half, before Kaleah Austin, who usually plays out on the pitch, spent the second 45 minutes between the sticks.

But despite the change in goal and the addition of Borg in the backline for her first game this season, the Stingrays managed to keep a clean sheet.

"Defensively it was positive because it was Daila's first game with Michelle Foscarini, who is new to playing there," Shaw said. "It is good because the new positions for certain players and the new players coming in, it seems to be gelling quite quickly."


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