APIA Leichhardt have been crowned National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s Premiers after a resounding 7-1 victory over the Emerging Jets at Lambert Park on Sunday night.
Ash Crofts also claimed the individual accolade of the league’s Golden Boot with a hat-trick against the Jets, captain Rhianna Pollicina had a brace while Sophie Hoban and Isabella Coco-Di Sipio had a goal each.
APIA raced off to a three-goal lead after only 13 minutes, going into half time 4-1 up.
They added another three in the second period which signalled the start of wild celebrations in Sydney’s inner-west.
A large crowd crammed into the stands of Lambert Park with APIA’s SAP and youth girls were in full voice.
It didn’t take long for the home side to open the scoring as Crofts got on the end of a Pollicina pass to place the ball beyond Tegan Harvey.
They doubled the lead not long after as Bella Habuda did well down the right before delivering into the box, finding Hoban who dispatched her volley into the bottom corner of the goal.
Two became three as Crofts returned the favour for her captain Pollicina who took a touch before placing the ball passed Harvey from the edge of the area.
The visitors gave themselves some hope after 20 minutes when the ball fell to Milan Hammond who placed her side foot volley into Morgan Aquino’s bottom corner, a fine finish by the youngster.
The Jets grew in confidence and created a few half opportunities but couldn’t really test Aquino.
With 10 minutes to go, APIA restored their three-goal advantage with their best goal of the afternoon.
An excellent combination between Pollicina and Holly McNamara saw the latter unselfishly square the ball for Crofts who had her second of the evening, finishing into an empty net.
It was Déjà vu at the start of the second as APIA scored another early goal.
Captain Pollicina found space just outside the box and took full advantage, driving a powerful effort into Harvey’s goal, with the Jets keeper rooted to the spot.
Five minutes later it was six, Pollicina again involved.
APIA’s number 10 delivered a great corner into the box, finding the head of Crofts who powered her header into the back of the net, rounding out her hat-trick.
Both teams made a number of changes which saw the game go into a quieter period.
The seventh came inside the final 10 minutes of the game, substitute Isabella Coco-Di Sipio got onto the end of a long ball, beat her defender before lifting the ball over Harvey to Crofts.
Crofts tapped the ball back to Di Sipio who made no mistake with the finish to round off the scoring.
Premiership winning coach Spencer Prior was proud of his squad who lead the competition from the first round to the last.
“Madness! The conclusion of a really good season, we finished the way we started, we lead right from the first game,” said Prior.
“It’s been a really tip op season for everyone.”
A massive congratulations to APIA who have risen through the ranks and placed themselves amongst the leaders of women’s football in NSW.
APIA Leichhardt 7 (Crofts 4’, 36’, 54’, Hoban 10’, Pollicina 14’, 49’, Coco-Di Sipio 82’)
Emerging Jets 1 (Hammond 23’)
Sunday, 3, September, 2023
APIA Leichhardt: 90. Aquino (40. Vidakovic), 3. Borazio, 7. Habuda (22. Jasnos), 9. McNamara (14. Coco-Di Sipio), 10. Pollicina (4. Prior), 11. Crofts, 16. Fragale (15. Pipino), 18. Hoban, 21. Kiparizov, 24. Young, 32. Daczko.
Substitutes Not Used: N/A.
Emerging Jets: 49. Harvey, 5. Walandouw, 6. Grass, 7. Adams (24. O’Brien), 9. Gentle (40. O’Driscoll), 10. Allan, 15. Hammond (14. Murray), 16. Salvador, 22. Wilde (8. Dundas), 28. Ingrey (47. Knipe), 29. Karpidis.
Substitutes Not Used: 64. Convery.
By Nikola Pozder