The Western NSW Mariners FC claimed a dramatic last second winner to topple St. George FC in this weekend’s Preliminary Final.
Western NSW Mariners FC vs. St. George FC: 2-1
A beautiful Sunday afternoon saw the Western NSW Mariners FC take on St. George FC, with the winner progressing to the Grand Final.
St. George looked the more confident of the teams for the opening period of play, and kept Western NSW pinned inside their own half.
Western NSW remained diligent in their defensive structure, and continued to boldly play out from the back; however, a St. George goal felt imminent as the pressure continued to escalate.
On numerous occasions, St. George striker Georgia Koinis broke through the opposing backline, denied by alert goalkeeping off her line from Jessica Daymond. However, in a bitter blow for the Saints, top-scorer Koinis was forced off with injury in the twenty seventh minute.
Rachelle Wang looked to step up, having been relatively quiet for St. George in the opening quarter. Piercing through the centre of the pitch, a powerful shot from Wang was blocked well by a backtracking Annabel Meadley.
In the thirty third minute, St. George finally capitalised on their dominance with a well deserved opening goal. Replacing Koinis, Lily Chen played a superbly weighted through ball towards Jessica Carosi, who burst into the box and coolly finished past Daymond.
As the half progressed, the Mariners were able to assert further control over their possession of the ball, though struggled to create any significant opportunities to score.
However, when a chance finally arose, the Mariners stepped up to the plate. A loose ball into the box found Kya Gobdier one on one with the Saints’ goalkeeper. The Mariners midfielder made no mistake, equalising just moments before half-time.
It was a nervy end to the half for the Saints, as they struggled to hold back an energised Western NSW. They hung on for just long enough to reach the break with scores level.
The first major opportunity of the second half came by way of the Mariners, with Tayla Lloyd played into the box. Her shot on goal was blocked well by Selen Santoro.
After recovering from their nerves, the Saints started to slowly force themselves back into the game, and were able to pressure the Mariners goal on numerous occasions.
In the seventy third minute, a powerful corner from Tijana Ljubisavljevic found Rachelle Wang free on the penalty spot. Her header was saved well by a diving Jessica Daymond.
In the eighty second minute, Ljubisavljevic lofted a long freekick from just past halfway agonizingly high of the cross bar.
The final ten minutes were extremely tense, with both sets of defenders playing with incredible determination to keep the score on level terms. The clock ticked over ninety minutes, and extra time looked certain.
However, in a cruel blow for the Saints, the Western NSW Mariners found a winner with the last play of the game, deep into stoppage time. A superb ball through to the marauding Tayla Lloyd saw her beat her defenders with pace, before slotting the ball home across the goal and off the upright.
The Mariners wheeled away with obvious delight, and perhaps relief, securing progression to the Grand Final; now with the opportunity to claim a Championship to complement their Premiership.
St. George will feel they deserved more from the game, in which they competed superbly. They can nevertheless take pride in what has been an impressive season.
Western NSW Mariners FC 2(Kya Gobdier 44’, Tayla Lloyd 93’)
St. George FC 1 (Jessica Carosi 33’)
Sunday, 13th September 2015
Valentine Sports Park
Western NSW Mariners FC: 6. Kristy Collingridge, 4. Annabel Meadley, 13. Kelsey Sherman, 5. Katie Pakai-Kelly, 7. Jessica Salomoni, 10. Tayla Lloyd, 9. Morgan Sherman, 1. Jessica Daymond, 2. Erin Boxsell, 8. Kya Godbier, 14. Tara Johnson, 3 Alyssa Armstrong, 11. Katherine Henley-Sadgrove.
Yellow Cards: Kristy Collingridge 70’, Kya Gobdier 82’
Red Cards: N/A
St. George FC: 33. Tijana Ljubisavljevic, 29. Kylie Manias, 7. Amy Bennett, 10. Vanessa Stanton, 30. Serena Bomze, 12. Bronte Young, 32. Stephanie Lara, 8. Jessica Carosi, 5. Natalie Michos, 3. Lauren Gardner, 28. Lily Chen, 2. Susanne Gallagher, 1. Selen Santoro, 35. Rachelle Wang, 9. Georgia Koinis, 27. Kate Emanuel, 25. Rachael Fitzsimmons, 26. Ashlee Miller.
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Source Football NSW website-by Daniel Palmer, Women’s State League Reporter