Hitchener a hit for United

HAVING A BALL: United and Ballandean players vie for possession during their match on Saturday.
HAVING A BALL: United and Ballandean players vie for possession during their match on Saturday. Samantha Wantling

Stanthorpe United Redbacks Football Club hosted Ballandean on Saturday morning and the competition provided some entertaining games.

Even though the competition is just four weeks old, there has been an obvious improvement in the skills of a number of players and teams.

Some of the early games produced some tight contests and goals were scored by both teams in most of the non-competitive games.

In the competitive games Ballandean started off well with the visitors securing a hard-fought win.


Ballandean's Lilly Earl-Jones led the way scoring on a couple of occasions while Georgette Forbes featured prominently in the back line.

United goalkeeper Lara Beckett was safe in goals while Maddie Ditton worked hard in the midfield.

Rory Kelly also impressed after backing up from the under-11 game and never stopped trying against the older girls.

Junior colts:

Ballandean controlled an understrength Stanthorpe United junior colts team from the start.

Harry Whitaker worked very hard for Ballandean while United struggled to score past Ballandean's big keeper Hamish Earl-Jones in the first half.

Beau Bannon really worked hard to limited the damage and was well supported by his sister Elle whose efforts in goals were commendable as she blocked plenty of shots.


United ladies faced a determined Ballandean team led well in the midfield by Sarah Day. Rochelle Reardon shot strongly from distance to get on the scoresheet and while United tried hard to contain their opposition they couldn't, eventually going down 5-1.

Karin Tracey and Jess Westerhout were strong in the middle while young Kira Bailey-Young continues to develop as a hard-working wide midfielder. Special mention to Lily Manahan who broke down many Ballandean attacks.


United won the last game of the day between the only two previously undefeated teams in the men's competition, winning 3-1.

Zac Willoughby opened the scoring in the 20th minute finding the net from distance and catching the United keeper by surprise.

But United were quick to respond with two goals from youngster Liam Hitchener.

The highlight was a sublime ball from Matt Purcell to Hitchener in the box who's two-touch finish was unstoppable.

Injuries also played a part with three United players injured while two Ballandean players require stitches after a head clash.

James Lee worked hard in midfield for United with Purcell playing a strong role. Crestani, Bing and Merritt defended well. Ballandean were best served by John Spiller, Ben Ramatta and Zac Willoughby.

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