Sydney University became the first team to book their place in the 2019 NPL NSW Women’s Grand Final on Sunday afternoon.
Sydney Olympic (2nd) 2-1 Illawarra Stingrays (5th)
In a drama filled afternoon at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday afternoon, Sydney Olympic kept their championships hopes alive with a 2-1 win over the Illawarra Stingrays.
The referee awarded an incredible three penalty through the match for Olympic with the regular season runners up scoring two.
A fantastic season came to an end for Scott Chipperfield’s girls while Olympic progress to take on the Northern Tigers, the team that beat them only a week ago.
Olympic had the majority of the play but it was the Stingrays who had the better chances early on.
First Michelle Carney, the Erica Halloway but neither could really test Jada Whyman.
With the team set to move into half time locked at 0-0, Talitha Kramer brought down Sarah Yatim in the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Up stepped the experienced Teresa Polias but Trudy Burke read her well, diving the right way and tipping the ball out.
As the second half got underway, substitute Rochelle Borromeo’s persistence paid off as Kramer committed her second foul in the box of the game.
This time top-scorer Susan Phonsongkham stepped up and despite Burke picking the right way, too much power and precision on the ball saw it hit the back of the net.
As the game looked set to end 1-0, the Stingrays had other plans.
A corner wasn’t cleared by Olympic with the ball popping up for Caitlin Cooper who hit a sublime cross goal volley into the top corner for delirium amongst the Stingrays faithful.
Now the match looked destined for extra time.
But almost immediately it could’ve been 2-1 as Polias hit a piledriver which smacked back against the cross bar.
And then, Olympic were awarded their third penalty of the afternoon.
Polias saw Phonsongkham making a run and found her with a sublime ball as Burker this time brought her down in the box.
Young centre back Ange Hristodolou showed nerves of steal to las the ball down the middle and despite Burke getting a touch, their was no keeping that effort out.
Olympics game management was fantastic in the last few minutes as they held on to progress.
Sydney University (1st) 2-0 Northern Tigers (3rd)
Sydney University became the first team in the 2019 season to book their place in the season decider with a 2-0 win victory over the Northern Tigers.
Rachel Soutar was the star of the afternoon, scoring from two set-pieces in each half to confirm the win.
It meant Alex Epakis has now got his team to consecutive finals and will aim to go a step further in two weeks time.
For Jason Eagar, his team needs to regroup as they face off against Sydney Olympic to earn another coach at the Premiers.
It took Uni 15 minutes to hit the front and they did it in some style.
Soutar lined up a free kick from some distance out and let fly, finding the top corner and beating an outstretched Eliza Campbell.
The Tigers tried to respond but could only do so through deep free kicks from Servet Uzunlar that were easily dealt with by the Uni defence.
Five minutes before the break, Uni should’ve doubled their advantage.
A Soutar corner found Cortnee Vine at the far post, her volley came off the cross bar and into the path of Taren King but the centre back headed over from close range.
The second period started much the same as the first with Uni in control.
Uni’s high press throughout the whole game made problems for the Tigers and didn’t allow the to have any fluidity in their play.
Soutar almost had her second with another special effort from distance, this time the ball flying just over the bar.
Only minutes later, another wicked Soutar free kick was put into the back of the net by a Tigers defender and that was the game.
The Tigers pushed hard and went close in one scramble but Uni managed to clear the ball.
By – Nikola Pozder, NPL NSW Women’s Writer